DJ Vince Adams: Reflections 20 Years After Pledging

March 14, 2010 will commemorate my 20th year as a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. As the cliché goes, I can remember “crossing over” it as if it were yesterday. Like some people that pledge a Greek Letter Organization, and unlike others, I had no idea of what fraternity life on a Black College campus meant. Technically, I didn’t know anything about fraternities and sororities on any level.

I guess in an odd way, my first “real” introduction to fraternities was through the viewing of Spike Lee’s part satire, part musical, part drama, School Daze. I can remember leaving the theater in 1988 after seeing the movie my senior year of high school with one prevailing thought: “I will never pledge anything!!” For those who have never seen the movie there are a lot of sub-plots, but one of the main components of the story centers on the G-Phi-G pledgee known as Half-Pint. Half-Pint (played by Lee) had to follow the bizarre orders of the “big brothers” to pledge the fraternity, which would then open the proverbial “college golden gates” where cool points, hot women and status reside.

VinceDaze

Anyone beyond the age of 16 knows that there is a contingency of people who do join groups, such as fraternities and sororities, to have a sense of belonging and gain some virtual level of appeal and prestige. When I hit the campus of Florida A&M University in August of 1988 I knew that if I were going to be known for anything, it wouldn’t be because of an affiliation with an organization. I think that its important to know this, because there often times lies a feeling that members of Greek organizations have a sense of entitlement or superiority. Although that does exist on some levels with some individuals; it certainly is not a global position.

Luckily it didn’t take long for me to develop a good reputation on campus based on my personal merits and from developing friendships with different guys who were members of fraternities I started to have a different sense of what membership could mean. I grew to the understanding that my joining the frat wasn’t defining my character; it was a transaction between the frat and me. I would give the Beta Nu Chapter of A-Phi-A service as a person, a character and a model on the campus and in the community and in return I would enter into a life-long relationship with some of the most helpful, entertaining and socially/culturally developed African American males as brothers.

Spring 1990 was actually the last of the pledge classes that “legally” participated in public hazing such as dressing in uniform, shaved heads, etc. before being a member of the fraternity/sorority. I could go into how fun/scary it was to pledge the fraternity that Spring, but that’s not the point of my sharing. I would really like to share that the time that I spent learning more about myself during the pledge process and more importantly after pledging has molded my resolve, my aspirations and my tenacity in a way that quite honestly would not have been there without those experiences.

2006 Reunion for Spring 1990 - Nubians of the Nu Dynasty, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. - Beta Nu Chapter (Florida A&M University) - #1 - David Wells #2 - Joel Johnson #3 - Patrick Scott #4 - Byron White #5 - Rich McCloud #6 - Derrick McCants #7 - Teddy Gilmore #8 - Reggie Wynn (not pictured) #9 - Robert Flakes #10 - Dr. Joseph Youngblood #11 - David Askew Esq. #12 - Michael Bonds #13 - Michael Hargrett #14 - Kwame Kilpatrick #15 - Vince Adams

2006 Reunion for Spring 1990 - Nubians of the Nu Dynasty, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. - Beta Nu Chapter (Florida A&M University) - #1 - David Wells #2 - Joel Johnson #3 - Patrick Scott #4 - Byron White #5 - Rich McCloud #6 - Derrick McCants #7 - Teddy Gilmore #8 - Reggie Wynn (not pictured) #9 - Robert Flakes #10 - Dr. Joseph Youngblood #11 - David Askew Esq. #12 - Michael Bonds #13 - Michael Hargrett #14 - Kwame Kilpatrick #15 - Vince Adams



Today, relationships I share with my pledge brothers (15 in all) and the Beta Nu Chapter are bonds that only the natural passing of life can break. 20 years later, to a great extent, I feel the same way about being known for my own merits. I still feel that the fraternity accentuates my character, it definitely doesn’t define it.

To all members of Greek Letter Organizations, I hope that my words in some part speak to you on the feelings and spirit that come from the experiences you’ve had. To people who have never pledged, I hope that I have shared a brief glimpse into my experience that may debunk some of the myths that are unfavorable as it relates to the attitude/mentality of those that have pledged.

20 years ago, I learned that “I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.” To my mother, my family and the life-lessons I learned with Alpha and FAMU, I owe everything.

Click to join the discussion with DJ Vince Adams on twitter! @DJVinceAdams

Peace and my blessings,
Vince Adams – Spr 90 BN – AΦA

On Facebook

0 Comments

  • Cynthia

    Reply Reply March 11, 2010

    Lovely piece Vince!!!

    Brought back memories for me also!!!

    21 years now AKA
    Spring ’89 Beta Alpha

    Take care
    Cynthia

  • Reggie Thomas

    Reply Reply March 12, 2010

    Vince,

    It was like yesterday..I can see you rocking the joint at Club Questions (beside Skinners Chicken, 1991-92). My love for House Music came from you, bro.

    Got any house mixes online somewhere?

    Peace,

    Reggie Thomas
    FAMU- SBI 1995 grad
    Fall 1997 Alpha Phi Alpha, Xi Theta Lambda Chapter

  • Tom Cunningham

    Reply Reply March 12, 2010

    Nice post, Vince. Welcome to the 20+ Klub! Great pic of the reunion too. Looks like some of your line Brothers hit the Shoney’s buffet after graduation! (smile)

  • Vince Adams

    Reply Reply March 12, 2010

    Thanks for the comments and I appreciate you taking a second to read the entry!!

    Thanks for the compliment as well Reggie and you can order CD’s from my website listed here. Thanks again and have a great weekend all!! VA

  • Rod Ross

    Reply Reply March 14, 2010

    Your points are spot-on! No matter what fraternity/ sorority, on whatever campus, in whatever city- these organizations help build and develop better people. Unfortunately, many individuals are superficial enough to believe that the improvements are exterior. So sad!!

    Vince, you have provided a awesome article to address the mindset of a generation. Thanks!!

    Rodriquez Ross, Ed. D
    AKA “Knucklehead”
    Kappa Kappa Psi
    Delta Iota
    Fall 1987

  • Jemal Omar

    Reply Reply March 14, 2010

    Iz, very well said. It’s been a pleasure calling you brother for the past 25 years. First on the basketball court in high school, then to the yard at FAM, eventually to the Frat as my iz, and casual crossings as men… I am proud of the man you have become…

  • EW Jarratt

    Reply Reply March 26, 2010

    Well Said. But what should I expect from Frat.
    Nu Lambda – ’01

Leave A Response

* Denotes Required Field