Homecoming is a celebratory week at educational institutions around the country. High schools, middle schools and colleges alike break out their greatest school garb and show the school spirit to celebrate their school’s history, future and students past and present. But Historically Black Colleges and Universities have a reputation for hosting some of the most cultural and incredible homecoming events of all.

Famous HBCU alumni including Love & Hip Hop cast member and producer Yandy Smith-Harris, record executive DJ Drama and Marvel’s Luke Cage star Simone Missick—to name a few—shared with MADAMENOIRE their Greatest Homecoming Of All Time (#G.H.O.A.T) stories.

Simone Missick, Yandy Smith-Harris and music mogul Haqq Islam are all Howard University alumni. Missick describes her freshman year homecoming week as “a wedding on steroids.”

Major names in sports and music including Jay-Z, Nicki Minaj and Drake have graced the campuses of HBCUs for homecoming celebrations. Yandy Smith-Harris recalls Busta Rhymes performing at her homecoming and diving into the crowd. She talks about athletes pulling up to Howard as well—Allen Iverson cruising around her campus in his drop top convertible and the time Carmelo Anthony paid the school a visit.

Markuann Smith recalls Jay-Z performing at Morgan State University when he was an emerging artist. Faith opened for Hov, and  he threw stacks of money into the crowd at Morgan’s homecoming in 1997. It was an event that made Smith realize he had to “get his life together.”

Fashion historian Shelby Ivey Christie remembers Nicki Minaj and Drake performing at her freshman year homecoming concert where she and her friends rapped every word of “Itty Bitty Piggy.”

Haqq Islaam shares the story of when Method Man and Biggie Smalls performed at Howard University for his homecoming. Several thousands of students were inside of the post office the school rented out for the event and another several thousand flooded the streets. Members of the Fruit of Islam came out en masse to help protect students during the show and make sure everyone was safe.

Homecoming is meaningful for every school, but for HBCUs it’s a way of life. Rico Love shares how impactful it was to him to be at a school surrounded by fellow students who had “checkered pasts” and faced struggles.

“We were the few who wanted to be better…wanted to grow,” says Love.

Homecoming at an HBCU is a celebration of that continuous growth—and it shows.

“If I could say one thing about Morgan State’s homecoming…it’s unapologetically Black,” says Smith.

Missick confirmed: “We are celebrating those who came before us…the legacy they laid down for us…but also, we are celebrating us. Everybody can celebrate and have a good time at a Howard homecoming.”


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