Over the weekend, a video of black Majorette dancers went viral on various social media platforms including Instagram and Twitter. Princess Lang, a black student at the University of Southern California (USC), a Predominantly White Institute, took to her twitter posting a video introducing her following audience to the Majorette team she has created, The Cardinal Divas of USC. The eight-second video shows the ladies in the stands during their first performance.
In her tweet, she adds “Oh nothing… I created a majorette team at a PWI and performed at our first game.” The caption continued with, “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.”
This video sparked conversation, some good, and some bad. The post, reaching over 2.5 million eyes and people had things to say about the idea of assimilating a Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) tradition at a predominantly white institution (PWI).
Dancelines at historically Black colleges and universities are more than just their performances and infectious energy. Since the 1980’s, Majorette dancing has been popular at HBCUs and has come to be known as HBCU style dancing. This type of dancing has emulated black joy by coming together, being a melting pot of black women from various places around the country with the Majorette dancers of various dance backgrounds, collaborating on choreography, and dancing to music that makes them emulate their black joy or their blackness that their peers resonate with.
Many social media users suggested Lang should attend a HBCU if she wanted a black college experience instead of sharing this experience at a white college. Twitter users shared concerns about what the idea could mean for the majorette team’s future. They mentioned that the black dancer’s idea could be an opportunity for PWIs to claim something that belongs to the black culture.
If we take a look back into time, it’s not secret black people were not accepted into Predominantly White Instituitions and ever since the days of slavery, constraining people of color was used as a method to quell black agency and fears of slave rebellions. This denial only intensified black people’s desire for education. Thus, made several black institutions were formed under the auspices of the Freedmen’s Bureau and was the start to these illustrious HBCUs and the numerous benefits that we now know today.
But just as some bad, the team also received a significant amount of support from many users, such as rapper Saweetie and Bring It! alumni, Dianna Williams, retweeting the video while showing love to the girls. Other Twitter responses showed full support for the new team, including one user saying “Nothing wrong with her bringing representation to her school”. At PWIs, since the majority population of students is white, it is common for students of color to form their own community within the campus, so black students have a safe space and are able to resonate with other students that look like them.
This viral video just leaves questions on what the future will hold for this Majorette dance team and will it continue to keep its inclusivity for black girls or will that change?