“When I was a young boy…my daddy said to me…” Well truth of the matter is he did. Being the son of a Sigma and a Zeta I was brought up in a very “blu” house. I remember growing up and always wondering what the “funny looking P” was on my parents’ wall and why everything was always blue and white. I longed to learn what this group was that my parents loved so much, to understand why they had people that they could depend on seemingly whenever we went places. I was curious; I wanted to know what this “fraternity” was about, and five years ago today I finally did. I was initiated into the Alpha Zeta Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc., and I haven’t looked back since.
I know that it’s a popular opinion now to be strongly anti Greek life because for various reasons but thankfully I learned long ago about the big difference between predominately white greeks and historically Black ones like the NPHC. That is not to say that we are without issue, but it does say that there is certainly a lot of good that we still do. My fraternity, for example, has Congressman John Lewis, Black Panther Party for Self-Defense founder Huey P. Newton, inventor George Washington Carver among others in its ranks. With such big names as these, its partnerships with organizations such as the March of Dimes and the American Cancer Society (you can imagine how that one hooked me) and my family history with the organization it only seemed right that I join this organization, right?
Not quite. In all honesty I was kind of rebellious when it came to pledging. Believe it or not, I was originally not going to do it all simply because I didn’t want to follow in my folks’ footsteps. That all changed when I got to Alcorn and actually started paying attention. I can thank the Alpha Zeta chapter for bringing me back to my senses and reminding me that Sigma was literally in my blood. Whether it was the work they did or how they always hyped up a crowd I was drawn to this chapter, and decided that no matter what I was gonna be a part of it.
Fast forward to 2010, when I actually became a member of this prestigious organization. After years of dreaming about what it would be like, and having friends look out for me to make sure I was ready I was finally a Sigma man (and joined a long and active list of Deuces at that). I gained 12 line brothers and 7 line sisters, as well as a host of prophytes in both Sigma and Zeta that taught me the true purpose of this organization. Yes things weren't always peachy and some bonds were definitely tested, but I can comfortably say that joining Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Incorporated was one of the best decisions I made in school. Thanks to what I learned and the people I made bonds with I was set up for so many great things in life.
See, a lot of people write Greek organizations off as nothing but party clubs. Groups of people who paid or got beat for a group of friends who now think they are better than everybody else. They think that these organizations have no purpose and can’t fathom why somebody would want to be a part of them. All those people clearly either have no connection to Greekdom or if they do have a connection to it clearly are connected to people who aren’t doing this Greek thing the right way. Yes, I had (and continue to have) A LOT of fun being a Sigma, but it wasn’t all fun and games; not in the slightest. I worked almost immediately from the moment I took that mask off in my organization. Not only was I given positions of power in my chapter and the Alcorn Greek system (I remain one of the few people to serve as a chapter and Pan-Hellenic council president at one time, and probably the only one to also get the highest honor for their chapter all in that same year. Yea, I’m awesome), but being a Sigma opened up doors for me. When I was a part of the chapter I learned how to handle business (you’d be surprised how much work goes into planning a party or a forum), how to speak in front of people with utmost confidence (which helps with my teaching), present information (helps with conferences), and handle varying levels of responsibility. I fully believe that by taking advantage of my opportunities in Sigma I was able to practice the skills that make me successful in my life now. When you're a part of a 101 year organization and the second oldest chapter in the state of Mississippi you can't help but pick up a few good traits.
It worked for the people who came before, with and after me as well. Just like how being at an HBCU in general surrounded me with Black Excellence so did being a part of this organization. AZ in particular has members who have done and continue to do big things on the campus of Alcorn and outside of it. We go from SGA Presidents, academics and heavily involved students to teachers, nurses, emergency workers and everything in between. I couldn’t have asked for a better organization to join nor a better chapter to join through; becoming a member of Phi Beta Sigma was something that helped to mold who I am today. Being surrounded by fraternity brothers and sorority sisters who constantly strive for greatness, and being able to take part in the same work that made them so great...that is truly priceless. I’m glad to celebrate five years as a member of my organization and look forward to the next 50. It’s like we say all the time: this isn’t for four years but for LIFE. My life as a Sigma has been pretty good, so it can only get better.
Check out the video of my probate below to see that first night when I revealed myself as a new member of this organization, and don’t forget to leave a comment, like and subscribe to the site! O and for all my brothers out there, BLUUUU PHIIIII!