My wants, hopes and dreams for my SpelHouse community this Homecoming Weekend—especially during tailgate

OPINION: Our cups runneth over with good vibes and good times this week as we celebrate both Morehouse and Spelman Colleges.

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Benjamin G, Brawley Hall at Morehouse College (founded in 1867) on July 18, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo By Raymond Boyd/Getty Images)

Editor’s note: The following article is an op-ed, and the views expressed are the author’s own. Read more opinions on theGrio.

It is SpelHouse (the portmanteau of Spelman College and Morehouse College) Homecoming week in Black America and that means the good Lord is shining light over all of us who have called either of the two prominent historically Black colleges home at one point or another. Events are eventing, leading up to the most glorious of occasions, the gathering of us all on Saturday for tailgating for the first time since 2019, where hugs and daps are exchanged with both family we’ve chosen and people whose names we don’t know but whose faces are recognizable. It’s truly the best of times. 

Unfortunately, that “us” I mentioned a few sentences ago doesn’t include me this year. Due to circumstances far, far beyond my control, while everyone else is opening their eyes Saturday morning to check their phones for missed texts, opportunities, video confirmation of the previous night’s shenanigans, and meeting spots for the forthcoming day’s shenanigans, I will be boarding a plane to the City of Angels—Los Angeles. In my most sincere voice, woe is me.

With that said, my SpelHouse Homecoming Week, which began on Thursday, will culminate on Friday when I host a live podcast event of ‘Dear Culture’ from Morehouse on Friday afternoon — come through — so I will be maximizing my brief time in Atlanta this year. Basically, I will be trying to cram three-and-a-half days of celebration into one-and-a-quarter; a jolly time this will be.

Even though I won’t be there for my favorite part of the festivities, because SpelHouse Homecoming means so much to me, I still want everybody else to live their best life and feel the love and joy of being present at the greatest place on Earth, reveling in Black joy. I want that for me and you, your mama and your cousin, too. Since I won’t be able to tell folks there face-to-face, I figured I’d share a list of wants, hopes and dreams I have for everybody celebrating SpelHouse Homecoming this week—particularly folks who will bob, weave, wander and meander up and down West End Avenue and Wellborn Avenue between Westview Drive and Joseph Lowery Boulevard, and potentially even attend the game. This goes out to you…and you. 

1. Hydrate thoroughly. 

This is standard-issue homecoming advice but it is as good information as exists: the brown will never let you down and white will make you feel alright, but that water gets you farther. I just made that up. It’s dumb, but you get the point. Whether young or old, I want everybody to last the whole weekend and mostly not end up as a viral shot of homecoming gone wrong because you can’t handle your liquor.

2. I want everybody to remember that Black men don’t cheat. 

Sure, that hug might last a little longer than it should, and sure, that convo that includes questions like, “So we getting up tonight, or what?” or “So, where’s your man?” sound sketchy, but really, Black folks are just nosy. He just wants to make sure you’re good. That’s all.

3. I want everybody to remember that Black women don’t cheat either.

Sure, that hug might last a little longer than it should, and sure that convo that includes questions like, “So we getting up tonight, or what?” or “So, where’s your woman?” sound sketchy, but really, Black folks are just nosy. She just wants to make sure you’re good. That’s all.

4. I want no homie left behind. 

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve lost a homie (literally) during tailgate only to find them laid up under a bush, sitting on Clark’s campus, or in the middle of an exhibit with nary an idea how they got there. Sometimes, that homie has been me. Let’s make sure we can account for the homies at all times—or if we can’t, let’s hope that when we find the homie they have wandered into goodness and prosperity so that we may all flourish.

5. I dream of reconnecting and reconvening in a refurbishing manner.

Homecoming, for me, is like an annual reset. I always emit a certain exhale on Saturday around 4 p.m. as I look into a vast sea of Blackness that is all smiles, laughs, hugs, and refills of various colored cups. I have never not taken a second to myself to take in the entire atmosphere, in a show of appreciation for what Morehouse and Spelman continue to give to me. Every person I only see once a year gives me the energy to make it to the next and like our most famous alumnus, I have a dream that everybody else feels the same. And if it’s not really a dream it’s a hope, so it’s really the same thing.

6. I hope all you folks who know you might have that ‘rona stay your derrieres at home.

I know Homecoming only happens once a year but if you show up sick and get other people sick, you are a bad person. Be better than that. 

7. I want the weather to cooperate.

I’ve had to write prayers a few times to the good Lord above in hopes of staving off bad weather forecasts and it worked. Well, I hope the weather cooperates this weekend so that folks can wear as much or as little as they want while parading up and down those hallowed streets surrounding the campuses. 

8. I hope I see you all next year. 

I will be there rain or shine because ain’t no way I’m missing two Homecoming tailgates in a row. Ain’t no way. I’m ALREADY mapping it out and thinking about it and I hope everybody who lays eyes on this is there, too. I love my SpelHouse community and I wouldn’t be who I am without it. 

Panama Jackson

Panama Jackson is a columnist at theGrio. He writes very Black things and drinks very brown liquors, and is pretty fly for a light guy. His biggest accomplishment to date coincides with his Blackest accomplishment to date in that he received a phone call from Oprah Winfrey after she read one of his pieces (biggest), but he didn’t answer the phone because the caller ID said “Unknown” (Blackest).

Make sure you check out the Dear Culture podcast every Thursday on theGrio’s Black Podcast Network, where I’ll be hosting some of the Blackest conversations known to humankind. You might not leave the convo with an afro, but you’ll definitely be looking for your Afro Sheen! Listen to Dear Culture on TheGrio’s app; download here.