Somewhere in Florida seven years ago, inside a well-lit and very large room, spacious enough to be in a warehouse-type facility, approximately 150-200 sweaty Black men in their 20s-30s, many shirtless- and several with their pants and drawers voluntarily pulled down way past their exposed naked buttocks and genitals- engaged in group booty-shakin’, marching, stomping, jumping, and gyrating on the floor.
During this entire time, they also were barking and then began chanting “Ohhhh, Omega” and “nasty, nasty, nasty Que dog.” Some of these heavily perspiring and partially clothed young men were in the crowded background greeting each another with full-bodied hugs.
And one of the weirdest things about this entire episode is that not one person- not a single one- among those nearly 200 expressed any shock or surprise or concern.
However, that video has absolutely nothing to do with Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated and everything to do with disrespectful members who somehow deceived their way into such a noble organization or wannabes who falsely claimed to be members.
As a proud Nupe, i.e., member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated, I don’t blame the Omegas, popularly known as Ques, at all. And that’s because there are disrespectful and deceitful people in almost every organization.
By the way, this isn’t about homophobia. Instead, it’s about respecting the tradition of an organization’s fundamental purpose. Although the adult males who demeaned themselves in the video had the right to do so in general, they did not have the right to do so in the Ques’ name. If they’re members, they should be permanently expelled. If they’re frauds, they should be immediately exposed.
Those members or frauds have nothing to do with real Ques because real Ques have been focused on respect and dignity since their fraternity’s founding at Howard University on November 17, 1911.
In fact, even though they were founded, ahem, after the Kappas (sorry about throwing a lil shade there), I gotta admit they are the first Black fraternity founded at an HBCU.
Also, real Ques, who are part of a fraternity with more than 750 chapters worldwide and over 125,000 members, are about “Manhood,” “Scholarship,” “Perseverance,” and “Uplift.” That’s why their laudable membership includes or has included Dr. Carter G. Woodson- the “Father of Black History,” Bayard Rustin- chief strategist of the 1950s-1960s civil rights movement, Roy Wilkins- former NAACP Executive Director, Langston Hughes- a Harlem Renaissance luminary, Dr. Charles Drew- blood plasma pioneer, Earl Graves- Black Enterprise Magazine CEO, Dr. Ronald McNair- Space Shuttle astronaut, General Roscoe Robinson- first Black Four Star Army General, and many more.
Going back to Dr. Woodson, I must point out that, at his urging, real Ques in 1924 launched Negro History and Literature Week, which ultimately led to today’s Black History Month.
So what are real Ques gonna do about this recent blemish on their organization’s otherwise impressive reputation?
A lot is the answer. As stated earlier this week by Antonio F. Knox Sr., Grand Basileus (meaning monarch or president) of Omega Psi Phi, an official investigation has been undertaken regarding what he described as “disgusting” behavior because such behavior “is not what Omega does or condones.”
He continued by saying, “We will get to the bottom of this video…. (T)his is not the type of behavior we… condone from anyone so privileged to be a member of this fraternity.”
Since I have so much respect for real Ques and all organizations in the Divine Nine (which consists of the major Black fraternities and sororities), I should explain why I referred to the Ques as “nasty” in this column’s title, “Real Ques Nasty, Not Pornographic.”
I did it, first, because they call themselves nasty and, second, because it’s actually a compliment. It’s kinda like what Michael Jackson meant when he called himself “bad.” In that case, “bad” meant incomparable and fearsome in terms of skills. In other words, he would musically and rhythmically crush his opponents.
Let me get back to real Ques. They’re nasty because they’re skillful Black men who fight relentlessly for Black students, Black colleges, and Black causes by using their fraternity’s numerous successful undergraduate, graduate, and civic programs.
Before concluding, I have one quick question for the Ques, the Kappas, and the seven other noble fraternal/sororal organizations in the Divine Nine. Shouldn’t we stop calling ourselves “Black Greeks?”
Please indulge me for just a few seconds. We ain’t no damn Greeks. We’re Africans. And as college-educated Blacks, we should know better. The fraternal and sororal concept was not created in Greece or anywhere else in Europe. It was created in North Africa, specifically Egypt (i.e., Kemet), two thousand years before the Greeks knew anything about it.
Even the term “Greek letter,” as in “Black Greek-lettered organizations,” demeans the creative ancient Africans and glorifies the plagiarizing ancient Greeks. We thoughtlessly give Greeks credit for a lettering system that actually originated in Egypt as “demotic symbols” (similar to so-called hieroglyphics) a few thousand years before “Greek letters” came into existence. Even the “Greek pledge” system was stolen from the Egyptian “wisdom teaching/sophia” rites of passage.
I digressed again. But I’m back now. We all should support real Ques because they’re cool, although not as cool as Kappas. In all seriousness though, we must support real Ques because of their rich tradition and also because the wonderful reputations of the other eight organizations within the Divine Nine could very easily be tarnished by the disrespectful- and videotaped- stupidity of some of our own deceitful members or wannabes.
The spirit often moves me to end my weekly columns, whenever appropriate, with a particular inspirational quote from both David Walker’s Appeal, published in 1829, and Christopher James Perry Sr., founder of the Tribune in 1884. But the spirit has recently moved me to add a more updated particular inspirational quote that also will be included whenever appropriate. And it’s from one of the greatest rappers in Hip Hop history. In his song entitled “One-Nine-Nine-Nine,” Common said and I’m now saying “Check it. It’s like I’m fightin’ for freedom, writin’ for freedom…. My ancestors, when I’m writin’ I see ‘em and talk with ‘em. Hoping in the promised land I can walk with ‘em.”