The Culture of HBCU Homecomings

Typically, when people think of homecoming they think of a parade, a football game, and alumni. Yes, those factors all play a small part in homecoming, but for a Historically Black College or University, those factors are minuscule in comparison to the larger scheme of things. 


Scrolling down my Instagram feed, I saw a picture that read “If you wonder why HBCU alumni go so hard for their homecoming, it’s because HBCUs represent the four years in our lives in which we weren’t the minority, an affinity group, or an afterthought. It’s black sacred ground.” After reading that (although I am not yet an alumna), I thought that was so true. It is a common misconception that HBCUs are all about the “turn up.” That alumni of HBCUs aren’t able to find a good job. That people who come from HBCUs aren’t going to know how to function in the real world after spending four years in a place where everyone looks like them. But in actuality, it’s a place where we are supported and encouraged to chase after our wildest dreams. A place where the entire institution is here for our best interest. 


Family Reunion Vibes

Homecoming season honestly feels like a family reunion. You have your cousins that you grew up with from the beginning which are like your friends from freshman year. There are your aunts and uncles who share with you their wisdom which would be your bigs. Then there are family members whom you’ve never met before but that are always saying they remember when you were a baby and to look at how big you’ve gotten. It’s amazing to see how a complete stranger can feel like family all because you both went to the same HBCU.


Homecoming is a Fashion Show

Aside from the actual fashion show during homecoming week, people really show up and show out! Some girls are planning their outfits weeks in advance while others work with what they already have. Either way it goes, they are serving looks. If you didn’t have a sense of style before attending an HBCU, by the end of your first semester you will! Our HBCU men serve looks as well. Whether it’s a dapper suit or the black turtleneck and gold chain combo, they do not come to play. Although we are all black, we all differ in more ways than we can imagine. Our different backgrounds sometimes show through our clothing and other ways of self expression. When you sit back and look at it, it’s an amazing sight.


HBCU Homecoming Game, Tailgate and Band

The marching band at any HBCU is always puts on a show. Yeah some people are there for the football game, but most of the anticipation is for halftime. Hearing the band play sometimes makes you just want to get up and dance. Seeing band alumni coming back to play for homecoming is like seeing everything come around full circle. Again, it’s like a family reunion. You see former dancers, former Mr. and Ms. Hamptons, former cheerleaders, and former athletes. At the tailgate you can connect with alumni and those alumni can potentially connect you to an internship or full-time position!


All in all, an HBCU homecoming is an indescribable experience. Connecting with family whom you’ve never met and gaining meaningful insight is something you can’t get anywhere else. Our homecomings are so much more than a game and a parade. They have become so significant because of how impactful our experiences were at these institutions - our black sacred ground.