Jonathan Echols '16

Name: Jonathan Echols

Year: Senior

Major: Communication Studies

Hometown: Hampton, Va.

Relationship Status: Single

Why did you choose CNU?

“It was close to home. It was a pretty good school. I know coming up CNU was actually like a joke, kinda. Honestly, and by the time I got to high school it became one of the better schools in the state and now it’s growing into one of the better schools in the nation I believe. And I thought the campus was really beautiful. I like the social atmosphere… Something I wasn’t used to growing up. So, I like the change and I believe CNU has broadened my horizons."

What are you involved in on campus?

“I used to be a football player. I suffered an injury and had to stop playing. I’m a member of the NPHC, the National Panhellenic Council. I’m also a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated."

How has being in Alpha Phi Alpha impacted your college experience and life in general?

[laughs] "It’s impacted a lot and definitely in a positive way. Alpha Phi Alpha is… well Greek life in general was always very big in my family. My mom was an AKA, my older brother is actually an Alpha, and all my uncles are either Kappa’s or Que’s. My godfather is a Sigma. You know, my aunts are AKA’s and Delta’s. So it’s like a long line.

But (APA) has definitely greatly impacted me. It’s made me look at things in a better light. A lot of their core values, like our motto and our aims, they really align with things that I believe in. So, it’s helped me a lot. Its provided me an avenue to actually work in the community I grew up in. So it’s a lot of community service projects we do. Like just last week we were at McIntosh Elementary School. We were trying to establish a relationship with the kids there. And it’s easy for me because it’s not like how a lot of people come from different areas and go to college in a certain area. This is actually the area that I grew up in so I’ve actually been in the same position as a lot of these kids growing up. So it’s definitely helped me with like a community service aspect, it’s helped me in academics. You know there are a lot of people that put pressure on you to do better. You can be complacent, you can get comfortable. They always let you know where you’re at; it’s not where you should stay. You should always be striving for more greatness. Also the party aspect, the social aspect. It’s been fun. It has definitely helped me out socially here; it has broken a lot of barriers with people and its just made things a lot easier for me.

It’s a great networking capability. One of the internships I acquired was with Congressman Robert C. Scott. One of the reasons - because he is an Alpha. Last but not least, it’s definitely like a great brotherhood. I’ve never been around a group of guys to really like truly love each other, you know like that, and without even being blood. I know I can truly depend on each and every one of them and it’s sincere. And it’s just really easy and it makes life a lot better when you know you’re surrounded by people who really care about you and who really love you and you feel the same way for them and you’ll do anything for one another."

What are your hobbies?

“Hobbies - I’m a singer. I love to sing. Music is my number one focus. I’m actually trying to start up something right now. It’s called ‘The Tenth’ and it’s like a movement where me and my brother got together and it’s short for ‘The Talented Tenth’ which was a written work that W.E.B. Du Bois wrote. And it was explaining that the top 10 percent should be upper echelon of the African American community and the rest of the African American community should follow suit behind them and kind of emulate everything they're doing to make us be a better people. So it’s starting off as a music movement but I want it to branch out to actually like a community movement and we do things in the community and we set up service projects and different things like that. So yeah, my number one hobby is definitely music. I love to sing, anytime, anywhere, anybody asks me to sing. I always sing. I love to sing."

*Puts him on the spot* Can you sing for me now?

“Ooo, I can sing for you now." [Sings a song] *Fan girl with major heart eyes*

When did you become passionate/enjoy singing?

“Okay, it’s actually a funny story. I was actually in the shower; I was like six years old. And I was singing in the shower. I didn’t think I was any good or anything, I just liked music. And my sister heard me singing out of the shower and she like busted in the bathroom and she handed me a towel. She grabbed me out of the bathroom and I guess she had ran to my family and told them to listen to me sing or whatever. And so they grabbed me out and put me in the common room and my dad threw me a hymn book, because my dad’s a pastor and he said, 'Pick a hymn,' and then he said, 'Sing for us.' So I was like standing in a towel while my family was sitting around me and I had to sing for them. It was a little awkward but from then on I’ve just really loved doing it. It’s just something I really like... if I could do it for the rest of my life that would be my job. I would be happy. I wouldn’t ask for anything else."

Since we’re on the topic of music… Do you have a current favorite song?

“A current favorite song? Man, okay, anybody that knows me knows that my favorite song switches every day. And I’ll play it out and the one I’ve been listening to today is not known. But I’ll tell you what it’s called. It’s called ‘Anyone Else’ by Mike Stud. It’s my favorite song of the day. Tomorrow it’s going to be something different but today it’s ‘Anyone Else’ by Mike Stud."

So do you have all-time favorite song? One that has always stuck with you?                                                                

“Man, I don’t know. That’s a good question. Okay, how about this. Anything Pharrell makes I always like it. Pharrell is good. I like Chris Brown; he’s one of my favorite artists. My favorite rapper is Kendrick Lamar.  Pretty much anything he makes I listen to for the most part. I also like Andre 3000. Umm, Drake’s ight.  [I ask, ‘He’s ight?’ and he laughs] He’s ight, he can’t sing. People think he can sing; he can’t sing but he’s good though. I mean, I respect him. I respect everything that he’s doing though. I guess, okay, how about this. An overall song, it hasn’t been out for a long time but I know will probably always stick with me is… it’s actually three songs and they’re all by the same artist. ‘The Sequence’ by Bryson Tiller, ‘Been That Way’ by Bryson Tiller and ‘Overtime’ by Bryson Tiller. He’s an upcoming artist and I’m really banging with him. I really like his music and I like his style."

What is your ideal date?

“My ideal date, jeez. I’ve never thought of that. I’m just a person; I like to have fun, like a lot. So my ideal date... Well obviously I would like a pretty girl or whatever. But she has to have a sense of humor because I love to laugh. I’m very goofy. So I would like to go to dinner… dinner and a movie is probably my ideal date. I know it’s kind of bland and kind of basic but I love to go to the movies. Like if I could recreate a movie theater in my house one of these days I would. I love movies. And then going to dinner - I love to eat. So dinner and a movie because it gives you a chance to actually watch some type of entertainment that you can enjoy with somebody else and then at the same time you get to go to dinner and you actually get to genuinely get to know that person. It gives you a chance to talk to them. So that’s my ideal date."

Since you just talked about movies, if your life was turned into a movie, what actor would play you?

“The actor that would play me would probably have to be [pauses and laughs]. I’m going to either have to go with Denzel Washington, Michael B. Jordan, or Derek Luke to play me. Now I don’t know who other people would pick but that’s what I’m going to go with for my answer."

Who has been the most influential person in your life?

“Can I make it two people? [Yeah] Okay, the two most influential people in my life are probably my father and my brother. They definitely taught me how to act, accordingly. And they definitely have helped me out with a lot of things in life and they’ve definitely been great role models. Especially in America today when we have a life that’s not really set out to benefit African American males. And I think that so far everything that I’ve gotten to in life, yes it was my doing, but I think a lot of it credited to my brother and my father. The example that they set for me is…I mean it’s truly. I mean there is really no way to describe it. They taught me how to treat women like a queen. They’ve just taught me how to love and care for other people and value other people as you should value yourself. And I know a lot of the presence in things that they have instilled in me have been voiced through the bible, as I revert back to my old statement my father has been the pastor of my church for I believe 17 or 18 years now. So they’ve just helped me out with a lot. Anything I’ve needed, advice, anything. They’ve always held me down."

What are your plans after graduating?

“To sing! It is, it actually is. Honestly it is to sing. I mean, you know, you have all your life to get a nine to five. I think a lot of people try to play it safe and they get corporate jobs and everything and that’s fine. You know it’s cool if that’s what you really want to do; then do you but I definitely want to try my dreams and my dream is to definitely be a musician, an artist. And I feel like, if I don’t try I will be a failure in life. Like if I tried and it doesn’t work out that’s cool, I can get a nine to five, I’m qualified. So that’s what my plan is, my plan is to be a singer and one day you will hopefully hear me on the radio…It’s a long shot but we’ll see."

What are your favorite Pro Sports Teams?

“NFL, it’s the Miami Dolphins because my uncle used to actually play for them. He’s in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Dwight Stephenson. So I’ve gone to a couple of Miami Dolphin games and sat in the sky box. And it’s just really fun. I’m a die-hard Dolphins fan. They haven’t really been good since I’ve been alive but I’m a die-hard fan. The Miami Heat, Dwayne Wade is my favorite player. And before that it was Eddie Jones when I was really little. I love the Miami Heat. And then you have the Miami Marlins basically because they are Miami. And I love Virginia Tech, even though I was born in Charlottesville. I love Virginia Tech because my brother went there. Always have been a Virginia Tech fan in college."

What is your biggest fear?

“My biggest fear, Failure. It’s honestly failure. I’m scared that I won’t succeed; I feel like there are a lot of people depending on me. It used to be the dark, like I, I’ve gotten older. [When did that change?] I still don’t like the dark, at age 21, I don’t really like it [laughs]. I remember when I was like 12 running into my parent’s room like it was too dark in the house. But I’ve just realized there are more things to be afraid of. And spiders, I don’t really like spiders either. I think it’s because I used to see my mom freak out about them when I was little and like now… I watched eight legged freaks one time and it just…didn’t do me justice."

What is your best childhood memory?

“Dang got me going through my life right now [laughs]. My favorite childhood memory, it would probably have to be...It would probably have to be my first trip to Disney World. That would probably be my favorite memory because, like I love amusement parks. See if you go back to the perfect date question it would be either dinner and a movie or an amusement park. Like Disney World or anything like that. When we went to Disney World, I’m a really big family person. I love being around my family. And that was a trip we all took together, like my cousins, my grandmother and everybody. She has twenty grandkids so it’s a lot of us. So we were just all together. It was just a lot of fun and it was just like a place of imagination and I love all of that."

What is your favorite thing about CNU?

“Okay, my favorite thing about CNU is its pretty campus. I like it, I like the campus, it’s beautiful. The food’s good, for the most part. And it’s academically challenging. Like I can say I actually earned my degree when I get it. Because everything I did here was hard [laughs]."

What is something I haven’t asked or talked about that you would want people to know about you?

“I’m a people person. So like if you ever see me around campus, anybody, just come up and say what’s up, you can introduce yourself. I’m like nice to everybody, I don’t have any reason to be mean to people…until you give me one [laughs]. No, I’m just messing. But no, I’m a nice person. If anybody wants to come talk to me, hang out, anything, just let me know. It’s cool, just come up and say hello."