Howard University Yardfest: Virtual Edition

My favorite time out of the school year at Howard University is Homecoming. Hundreds to thousands of current students, alumni, and celebrities congregate in Washington, D.C., to experience this memorable event. One particular segment that I look forward to the most is Yardfest. The Yard is an open space at Howard that provides walkways to departments and buildings on campus. During Homecoming, it converts to one of the most sacred and packed places where popular artists perform. However, this year’s Yardfest looked a little different. It had to be done virtually because of COVID-19. Although my favorite Homecoming event was not what I was accustomed to, I thoroughly enjoyed every part of it. 

Although my expectation of the event was no different than from previous years, the traditional definition of Yardfest drastically changed this Homecoming. I thought that my favorite rappers and singers were going to perform live. However, this was not the case. Omari Hardwick hosted the event. I still wish that I could have seen him in person, but I was excited that one of my favorite actors was present. He started the event by interviewing Howard’s president, Wayne A. I. Frederick, about how the school has dealt with the pandemic. It then shifted to his niece, Ravyn Hardwick, interviewing Omari where he shed light on his personal experiences. Instead of a line up of musical performances, there were only two by 6lack and Tobe Nwigwe. Periodically, students who have attended Howard shared video clips of what they love about the school and Homecoming season. 

Even though Yardfest was completely different from before, I was pleasantly surprised. I wanted to see more performances, but I was satisfied that 6lack made an appearance. He has always been one of my favorite singers, and my family can attest that I sang every word of his song “Know My Rights.” What I loved most about the event was hearing the testimonies of current students and alumni. As they spoke about their experiences, it reminded me why I chose to attend Howard. I came to have a supportive community, rigorous education, and, of course, entertaining events. After being away from campus for almost two semesters, I needed that reminder that Howard’s culture will never die no matter what the circumstances are. Howard’s virtual Yardfest made me look forward to being back on campus more than ever.