November 29, 2023

According to Newsone, a video went viral showing a dance team at the University of Southern California during a football game this past weekend. The dance team went viral for tapping into HBCU majorette culture at a prominent white institution. The eight-second clip showed a group of young Black women doing a dance routine wearing USC two-piece sets.

A young lady by the name of Princess Lang wrote on Twitter, “oh nothing… i created a majorette team at a PWI and performed at our first game. I truly[though] i’m so blessed and can’t thank God enough. Thank you to my parents and to everyone who supported me along this LONG journey. and my girls FYE The Cardinal Divas of SC are UP NEXT.”

The video and tweet quickly summoned a debate about HBCU traditions taking place at white colleges. Some responded to the clip saying that maybe Princess should have enrolled in a HBCU if she wanted a Black college experience of dancing in such a group. “This is great and all but why not just go to an HBCU…,” said a Twitter user.

Another user respond on the contrary, noting that since white students attend HBCUs and pledge historically Black fraternities and sororities, Black traditions at PWIs should be accepted.

As thoughts were thrown around about the topic, one user gave insight on why Lang shouldn’t refer to her group as a “majorette” team. “While individuals are using the terminology ‘Majorettes’ to describe this dance-style, that is actually incorrect; the proper connotative word is ‘J-Setting or ‘J-Settes’ or ‘Drill Teams’, which is a derivative of the Jackson State University ‘J-Settes’ from whence its named,” the tweet said.

Viral HBCU Southern University Human Jukebox & Dancing Dolls

HBCU and PWI debates are not new topics of discussion. In fact, HBCUs were founded in the 19th century because “Black students were unwelcome at existing public and private institutions of higher education.” Since then, HBCUs have created an undeniable culture that has been recognized and imitated amongst Black students at PWIs and beyond — whether it be Greek life, bands or other extracurricular activities. Even Beyoncè has tapped into HBCU culture, with her Netflix special Homecoming.

Check out the USC dance team’s clip above. What are your thoughts?

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