This past weekend I left the flashy, busy streets of L.A. city life and returned home to Greensboro, North Carolina for North Carolina A&T’s #GHOE (Greatest Homecoming on Earth). Anyone familiar with GHOE knows it’s a weekend of pride, reflection and creating memories. This year, it was a little different for me. While I was excited to show my love for my college alma mater, I was more enthusiastic about returning to the greatest high school in Greensboro (in my opinion), James B. Dudley Senior High School, and visiting Aycock Middle School. As I walked the halls of each of these schools, the sea of faces made the trip across country worth every mile. Memories quickly flooded back to my days as a young girl with goals.
Within minutes of my return, I found myself in front of hundreds of young impressionable girls who looked like me at the same age–wide eyed, black, beautiful and full of potential. Like the overall essence of GHOE, my conversation with these young ladies was not to boast of “turning up” at an illustrious party with A-list celebrities, but to pay homage to the people and place of Greensboro and the NC A&T community that influenced who I’ve become. So although these teenage girls may have seen me pull up in a 2016 Ford Mustang convertible, the bigger impression I left them with was the desire to achieve substantial success in all facets of their lives.
Growing up in Greensboro, I faced challenges like any other person, but it was through my love of reading Alex Haley’s Queen and the immense support of my family and teachers that I decided to pursue my dreams of launching my own company, #LikeAGirl.
I wanted and needed these little black queens to know that I, like many products of the Greensboro community, are taking America by storm. As I candidly spoke to these girls, I knew they were gifted with different personalities, talents and passions. When I mentioned the name Debra L. Lee, I saw a few puzzled faces and quickly enlightened them on her position as the CEO and President of BET. Lee, like so many of us who return to Greensboro for this amazing weekend, are products of this city’s educational system—namely my alma mater Dudley High School. Leaving Greensboro to pursue our dreams is just one step to achieving greatness.
Now what would any homecoming be without a grand parade? The #GHOE parade was an experience to remember. I was able to provide media commentary for the NC A&T radio station, WNAA (90.1), along with the rest of the radio crew on the parade stage. I marched in the Dudley homecoming parade with several Dudley alumni who I reunite with every year. I was also able to reconnect with my former “Golden Delight” coach who is now A&T’s band director and he judged the other bands in the parade.
See, for me, a little girl from Greensboro, participating in all of these festivities are moments that defined homecoming. I was caught up in the rapture of GHOE pride. And of course, NC A&T defeating Howard University in the homecoming football game was the icing on the cake.
(Continued on next page)