Why don’t missing people of color receive the same publicity as white women?

Sydney McCall | Staff Writer

Seraphine Warren cries as she talks about her missing aunt, Navajo rug weaver Ella Mae Begay (AP Photo, Lindsay Whitehurst)

By now, most people have heard the story of Gabby Petito. The 22-year-old white woman was found dead after a monthslong van trip with her boyfriend. 

The devastating story has been a topic of interest within all media outlets worldwide, with hundreds of individuals and groups working to solve the mystery of what happened to her. 

Unfortunately, for other marginalized groups, the efforts are not as strong, or even present, when one goes missing.

Jelani Day was a 25-year-old Black man from Bloomington, Illinois. His disappearance only started to receive attention after his family begged for law enforcement to intervene. 

Day went missing Aug. 24, his body was found in the Illinois River on Sept. 4, and the body was not identified as his until Sept. 23, nearly a month later, according to NPR. 

People have been calling out the lack of coverage that missing people of color receive in the media, and the statistics are shocking. 

According to a Statewide Wyoming Report, only 18 percent of indigenous female victims get newspaper coverage, compared to 51 percent for white female and male victims. Additionally, more than 400 indigenous women and girls were reported missing in Wyoming between 2011 and September 2020, the state where Petito went missing. 

Black people, who make up 13 percent of the nation’s population, are a third of active missing cases, according to the FBI’s National Crime Information Database. Native Americans and Latinos are also on the list in disproportionate numbers. 

There seems to be an increase in social media awareness for white women. Those who are blond, petite and young tend to create a frenzy online, named by many as “Missing White Woman Syndrome.”

The American media decides who is worthy of national empathy and compassion. It is very similar to how white male shooters are often portrayed as “bullied” or just making a mistake, whereas Black men are immediately labeled as criminals. 

“It’s hard not to feel frustrated at the lack of coverage people that look like me receive. It is a clear comparison,” said Monae Fletcher, a second-year biology major at Hampton University. “It is really clear who is held or seen as a priority in this country.”

No one is saying that Petito should not have received media coverage, an FBI investigation or government resources. Her devastating story should be a call to action for domestic violence and women as it pertains to safety. 

However, every woman and man who has been reported missing should receive the same amount of attention and resources that she and her boyfriend are getting. Too many families of people of color who have gone missing have been left alone to solve their case, which is heartbreaking. 

The country has a number of cases surrounding missing people. It would be great for everyone’s story to be solved, but this is not realistic. Everyone’s story, however, deserves to be heard.

The 87th Annual Fall Convocation Marks the End of an Era for Many

Raven Harper| Staff Editor

Script Photojournalist Christian Thomas

The last time Ciara White-Sparks was on campus as a student, she was a sophomore. This past Sunday, the seniors, known as Quintessence Eleven, lined up to walk in their caps and gowns at opening convocation, a sacred tradition for each year’s graduating senior class.

“Being at the opening convocation is when it hit me that I’m a senior and that in the next seven months, I’ll be walking across the stage as a Hampton University graduate,” White-Sparks said.

The 78th Annual Fall Opening Convocation at Hampton University, a ceremonial opening of the new school year, was held Sunday morning on September 26 in the university’s Convocation Center.

Unlike previous years, this year’s opening ceremony was one of a kind.

For the Quintessence Eleven class, this semester was their first time back on campus in over a year due to COVID-19, which shut the university’s campus down in March of 2018, when they were sophomores.

For many of them, like Ciara White-Sparks, a senior journalism major from Las Vegas, Nevada, it still feels like it’s junior year.

“It feels surreal. I had a denial moment because I felt like we missed out on a year of being in person, so in my mind, I am still in a junior year mindset,” White-Sparks said.

However, being at convocation this past weekend, White-Sparks feels excited about the rest of her senior year and what’s to come.

“It felt so good to see the people that I grew up with during my time here at Hampton all in our caps and gowns. It was really just an exciting moment for me, and a great way to kick off senior year,” she said.

As the senior class prepares for graduation in the spring, they won’t be the only ones saying goodbye to their Home by The Sea.

This year’s opening convocation also marked President Dr. William R. Harvey’s last convocation ceremony as the university’s president.  

In a statement from HU News, Harvey shared how special this year’s ceremony is, being it’s his last year at Hampton. 

“This year’s ceremony is so very special as we will be welcoming our students back to campus after a year of virtual learning. This ceremony will also officially recognize the beginning of my last academic year as President,” Harvey said.

Last December, Harvey announced that after 44 years of serving as the university’s president, he will be stepping down for retirement in June 2022. 

In his final year, along with the graduating senior class he will be leaving with, some say it’s the end of an era.

“He left a monumental impact on Hampton University’s campus,” Marissa Black, a senior elementary education major, said. 

Harvey took over as president in 1978 when Hampton was referred to as Hampton Institute and has become one of the longest-serving higher education leaders in the country and a leader in the HBCU community.

Although it’s the end of an era, Black says she feels hopeful for the future of Hampton and its students after she graduates this spring.

“It’s also a sign that the future is coming and that it’s going to be something new. He’s leaving behind a legacy that hopefully whomever our new president is can follow.”

This spring in May of 2022, Quintessence Eleven will be walking across the stage in cap and gown to graduate.

Five Tips for Students Adjusting Back To Campus

Noah Hogan | Staff Writer 

Since March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed daily life as we know it. 

During our confinement, the pandemic left us with many questions. The one big one was: What would a full-scale, on-campus operation look like?

As students have returned roughly 18 months after Hampton University initially closed its doors and transitioned to remote learning, adjusting back to an on-campus lifestyle can be difficult for recent high school graduates and continuing students alike. 

For university students looking for guidance during these trying times, these are five tips for adjusting back to campus.

1. Communication with your classmates is vital 

 Every day we are reminded of the ongoing pandemic by the usage of masks. Still, communication with your fellow peers is of the utmost importance. 

As the classic saying goes, “Closed mouths don’t get fed.” It is impossible for those around you to understand what your needs are when you isolate yourself and never open up to those around you. 

Whether it’s catching up on missed assignments or creating a group dynamic within a challenging class, the person next to you is often in a similar position. 

“Talking with people in this climate can be difficult because it’s already hard enough to understand people with their mask, but the added measure of staying safe makes for a weird dynamic on campus,” said Quevon Jackson, an exercise science major at Old Dominion University. “Being in a classroom with nearly 200 students, it forces me to act outside of myself and interact with people that I probably would never say a word to.”

2. Time management is of the utmost importance

Time management can either make or break one’s collegiate experience. As students transition from an at-home classroom setup back to traditional forms of education, time management is a deal breaker. 

With students joining different clubs and extracurricular activities, it is essential to manage time wisely to spread your energy evenly to various outlets. 

“This year for me, time management is super important,” said Jackson. “As a fourth year in my junior year, I have more responsibility such as working to support myself, my grades and my health.”

3. Keep contact back home 

As students get back to campus, anticipation to see old friends and flings from years prior rises. However, when workloads begin to get heavy, the campus can become a lonely place. 

It can be very easy to forget about your support system back home when they are out of sight and out of mind. Set up weekly phone calls with friends and family back home to keep your connections close to keep your morale high. 

“I actually talk to my two sisters almost every day and my mom practically every day,” said Miah Cox, a Hampton University journalism major. “I’m very close with my family. They’re basically my village.” 

4. Take YOU time 

Although taking time for oneself can be considered selfish, it is an essential need for returning to the classroom. Take at least one day out of the week to make sure you are resting and relaxing. 

Balancing classes, extracurricular obligations, friends, family and the pandemic is a lot for any student. It takes time to adjust to a new normal. Taking a day to reflect on your emotions and mental state is necessary. 

“Since my lighter workload days are Tuesdays, I use those days to organize my dorm or maybe wash clothes,” Cox said. “Having a clear space helps me have a clear mental space.”

5. Be adaptable 

Remember, Hampton’s campus has not been open for nearly a year and a half. This is a new experience for every student and faculty member involved. Things will not be perfect, and there will be change. 

Control the variables that you can control. Be adaptable. 

To Drip, or Not To Drip? That is the Question!

Alfred Johnson | Staff Writer

If you’re walking around campus, one thing you will notice is the lack of styles and options when it comes to clothing. The lack of color in people’s wardrobes does little to make people seem different from one another. Most people you see are either wearing black, blue or gray.

The problem is the more people see the same thing, the more they want to conform. And the more people who fit in, there are fewer people who feel motivated to be themselves. 

When it comes to fashion at Hampton University, we all want to say that we have more than what it takes, when that’s only true for a particular portion of people. Everybody wants to wear what everybody else is wearing, and everybody wants to be on the same wave as everybody else.

People don’t realize they don’t want to be different, and they won’t admit it.

This is a new era for Hampton. Not only are we returning from a year and a half of pandemic separation and online classes, but we have two new classes of students who have never experienced campus life. 

Masks are getting in the way of meeting people, and being social is more complex than before we left. With people being shyer and more cautious around one another, the Hampton culture is starting to feel broken. 

I understand that people are still trying to adjust and get used to life on campus. After all, it is the beginning of the year, but people aren’t encouraging each other to stand out like they used to. 

“You got the streetwear people and then you got the bougie Hampton people that wear designer clothes,” HU junior computer science major Christopher Henderson, Jr. said. “Even though I do say those are the main ones, there’s still a lot of people who fall outside of those.”

When we have events on campus such as the fashion shows and the tryouts, people come from all corners to see what people are doing and what they’re bringing to the table. 

When it comes to events, people go all out to show what they’ve got and what it takes to be on that wave. Outside of these events, people go to class daily in the same clothes they used to work out. 

As much as people talk about presentation, there isn’t too much of that aspect around campus. Unless some people have a display and must be in Ogden attire, there’s little to no effort being brought.

Why not try something different now and then? Everybody likes looking nice. If you have a suit hanging up in your room, which I know most of you do, why not just wear it to wear it? If you usually wear black, try throwing on some yellow or purple. 

“The things that you wear are a reflection of yourself,” Henderson said. “I really appreciate the people who take more chances.”

Mix and match with your wardrobe. With the variety of clothes we have, our outfits don’t have to be limited to combinations and color schemes. 

We didn’t come out of high school just to be like the next person. We didn’t come to college to be average college students. We did all of this to build ourselves and become individuals without anyone’s influence.

College is the best time and place for you to experiment with your taste and learn more about yourself. Why not try being different occasionally? You might find a new style.

A Look at the Legendary Debbie Allen

Trinity Goppy | Staff Writer

Debbie Allen, after more than 50 years in the entertainment industry, became the first Black woman to receive the Governor’s Award at the Emmys, which were broadcast by CBS on Sept. 19. 

“Let this moment resonate with women across the world and across this country, from Texas to Afghanistan,” she said during her acceptance speech. “It’s time for you to claim your power. Claim your voice, sing your song, tell your stories. It will make us a better place. Your turn.” 

Throughout Allen’s extensive career, she has broken down barriers for women. 

At the start of her career, Allen faced a common obstacle for many Black ballerinas. She was rejected by the North Carolina School of the Arts because her body structure did not fit the preferred image of a ballerina, according to The New York Times. Yet she persevered and made her debut on Broadway, which opened opportunities that would jump-start her career as an actress. 

Allen’s influence has made her a force to be reckoned with as she has won two Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Choreography and an Emmy Award for Best Actress. With her relationships in the industry, Allen dabbled in a singing career and released two solo albums. 

She also tried her hand at acting with her most known role as Lydia on the hit television show Fame. The show allowed Allen to express her artistic gifts as a choreographer, actress and director. 

As Allen’s talents gained recognition, she was inspired to do more behind the scenes, producing one of the fundamental cultural forces of Black television, A Different World. The show tackled several controversial topics in the ’90s. Black youth who watched the show often cite it as a defining reason they decided to attend an HBCU, according to the Netflix special Strong Black Lead

On top of her work, Allen has made it her mission to give back to her community by mentoring dancers who strive to achieve their dreams. In 2001, Allen started The Debbie Allen Dance Academy (DADA), a nonprofit organization that focuses on teaching dance and theater training, regardless of financial status. The academy has been open for more than 19 years and has served as a stepping-stone for young dancers.

Misty Copeland, the first Black female principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre, thanked Allen for her contributions.

“Debbie has been like a second mom to me by bringing me into the Black ballerina community and I am incredibly thankful for that,” Copeland said in an interview at the University of Southern California.

Even after her extended time in the entertainment industry, Allen is continuing to create opportunities for others. Recently, she had auditions for her popular musical, Hot Chocolate Nutcracker, which modernizes the original musical, The Nutcracker

The musical recently debuted on Netflix, and because of popular demand, Allen is relaunching the musical this December on Broadway.

A new Afghanistan: The fight for LGBTQ+ and women’s rights amongst Taliban regime

Jontaya Moore | Staff Writer

Photo courtesy of Unsplash user Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona 

As the new Taliban-controlled government consolidates its hold over Afghanistan, many wonder what the future will bring. The Taliban captured the Afghanistan capital of Kabul August 15, marking the end of the near 20-year Afghanistan War and eliminating the Republic government in place.

In the initial stages of the Afghan government transition, a Taliban spokesman vowed to uphold the rights of women and the LGBTQ+ community.

However, since the removal of United States troops, Taliban leaders have failed to uphold their word, and persecution has begun. The Taliban’s government control has left women and the LGBTQ+ community in a state of fear and helplessness, according to reports from CNN.

Hundreds of women, who work amongst the Afghan judicial system, have received orders to no longer return to their jobs. Others have been replaced entirely by Taliban appointees. Inmates that were previously sentenced by women judges are being set free, leaving the judges susceptible to other threats as well, according to Qatar media sites.

The Taliban government has also reimplemented segregation laws between males and females on several public levels, including education, according to USA Today. They have also rejected anyone who identifies as LGBTQ+ and has established an all-male governmental cabinet. 

Before the Taliban takeover, the former government had laws that put the LGBTQ+ community at risk of jail time, according to CNN. The Taliban has reinforced the previous government’s position on these matters, including beatings and active persecution. Many fear that the Taliban will soon officially make being LGBTQ+ punishable by death. 

Advocates, like Danielle Stewart, a 23-year army veteran and member of the LGBTQ+ community, believe that women and the LGBTQ+ community need support as they encounter death threats and arrests following the new Afghan government’s strict law enforcement. 

“It’s detrimental to the Taliban government that they uphold their word,” Stewart said. “They won’t get government funding from the rest of the world if they continue to discriminate against women and these LGBTQ+ communities.” 

While stationed in Afghanistan, Stewart spent her time training Afghan military and police forces. This experience gave her knowledge of Afghan culture, governmental processing, and insight into the day-to-day life of the nation’s natives.

Stewart said that many Afghan citizens and military personnel aided America. In return, she believes the United States should consider doing the same for them.

Some organizations, such as the Refugee International Organization, have attempted to ensure the safety of Afghan citizens who are at risk. In a letter to President Biden, the Refugee International Organization urged the Biden Administration to make accommodations for an estimated 200,000 Afghan refugees. 

In the twenty years since the Taliban last controlled Afghanistan, women and the LGBTQ+ community have fought for their rights in historically unprecedented ways. They often would be followed with war, such as the March 2006 Bloody Resurgence, which followed one of the most democratic election years Afghanistan had ever cast. 

Social media has proven to give those being discriminated against a way to speak against injustice with lessened fear of physical retaliation, according to NDTV. Although many have been forced to live in seclusion, some women and LGBTQ+ members find ways to protest.  

Women have created the hashtag “#DoNotTouchMyClothes” in rebuttal to the Taliban’s university uniform mandate that defies traditional Afghan attire. This has connected women, men, and people of all nationalities to stand in unity.

The ManningCast: ESPN’s rebound 

Wynton Jackson | Staff Writer

ESPN on Sept. 13 stumbled on its most popular program since First Take: The Peyton and Eli Monday night NFL broadcast, ManningCast. The sports media conglomerate signed a deal with the NFL to air Monday night games on their networks, then brought in the Manning brothers to commentate about 10 of the 17 games on ESPN2. 

After their retirements, both Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks were looking to get more involved in football, with Peyton hosting Peyton’s Places and Eli starting the new show Eli’s Places this fall, both on ESPN+. 

The ManningCast has been nothing short of excellent. Instead of the traditional announcer-color commentator format, the Mannings have created a new approach to watching football. 

The two have a more relaxed feel and aren’t pressed with hyper-analyzing each play; the broadcast resembles a night at a sports bar with the Manning brothers. The two switch seamlessly from jokes, glimpses in the huddle, anecdotes from their careers and thorough breakdowns of major plays. 

Not only do Peyton and Eli run the show, but they also bring in celebrity guests to interview each quarter. Athletes such as Rob Gronkowski, Travis Kelce, Russell Wilson and Brett Favre appeared on the telecast and made fun of Peyton’s forehead. 

The show has also brought in Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis and Hall of Fame nominee Patrick Willis. Both did a great job breaking down the defenses in the game and how they would mess with the quarterback’s head when they played. 

The mechanics of the show itself haven’t been perfect, but it only adds to its charm. The week one broadcast started with Peyton putting on a helmet that was way too small and then immediately acting like Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden. 

There have been production workers tiptoeing in the background, Eli’s mic has been cut off a few times and they cut to commercials during conversations with guests. 

What would detract from a more formal production are what make this show feel more authentic. Nobody minds awkward silence after Peyton and Eli try to talk over one another on the Zoom call because the public has been dealing with the same issues the past year and a half. 

It’s early, but there’s a sense of community fostered through this broadcast. This may be why there was a 132 percent ManningCast viewership increase from Week 1 to Week 2, according to Yahoo Sports.

The broadcast’s success comes as a much-needed relief for “The Worldwide Leader in Sports,” considering their fiasco earlier this year. 

The New York Times on July 4 published an exposé on the brewing racial issue between two of the company’s biggest talents, Maria Taylor and Rachel Nichols. 

Last year, Taylor, a Black woman, was hired to host the pregame and halftime shows during the NBA Finals. Nichols, who is white and who was moved initially to the sideline reporting job, was caught on tape complaining about the situation. 

“If you need to give her more things to do because you’re feeling pressure about your crappy longtime record on diversity… go for it, just find it somewhere else. Like, you’re not going to find it with me, and taking my thing away,” Nichols said on the tape, according to The New York Times

According to the article, ESPN knew about the tape, yet instead of punishing Nichols, they decided to keep quiet. The woman who showed Taylor the clip (and who happened to be Black) was punished, and the Black employees came to her defense. 

Nichols has since left the company, and Taylor accepted an offer from NBC Sports in August to cover the Olympics.

In the past few weeks, ESPN also had another, smaller issue with the company’s face, Stephen A. Smith, strong-arming former co-host Max Kellerman off of First Take. The show has taken a different approach, electing a rotating cast of debaters to challenge Smith. 

Again, the timing and popularity of the ManningCast could not be more perfect. Each Monday night, social media buzzes with quotes from the Mannings or their guests, ranging from silly jokes to Gronkowski admitting he never watches film and relying on Tom Brady to tell him what to do. 

There have been calls for ESPN to put the show on its main channel considering its sudden success, but for now, let’s enjoy the wackiness that is Peyton and Eli’s Monday night NFL broadcast.

A look at Hampton lacrosse and their upcoming season 

Chance Williams | Staff Writer

Nelson Cheesman | Hampton University Athletics file photo

As the 2022 men’s lacrosse season approaches, the Hampton Pirates are getting into gear. In February, the Southern Conference announced that the Hampton University lacrosse team would be joining as an associate member. 

After previously making history as the first HBCU with a Division I lacrosse program, the Pirates will again make history as the first male HBCU program to join the Southern Conference, according to Watch the Yard. 

The Southern Conference is home to schools such as the University of Richmond and High Point University. After being an independent team since its creation, joining an athletic conference is big news for the program. 

“It means that we’re stepping in the right direction,” HU lacrosse player Aris Brown said. “We’re playing really good and competitive teams, programs that have been good for a long time. As we’re a new program, it’s good to start playing at the level of those teams.”

Hampton is looking to dethrone the previous champions, the High Point Panthers, this spring. In addition to being newly inducted members of the Southern Conference, the Hampton Pirates also will be playing their first game under new head coach Chazz Woodson, a former two-time All-Ivy League selection and Major League Lacrosse player.

“I think he’s a great coach,” HU lacrosse player Steele Downing. “He keeps us humble. He tells us what we need to work on, and compares us to the top schools in the country to show us how we need to grow. He keeps it 100 with you and tells you how he sees it.”

The Pirates also recently started practicing for the upcoming 2022 season.

“Starting day one, we all started with the mile, and we’re doing breakout sessions at certain times,” HU player Demarieh Wesley said. “It is going pretty well so far, and I just can’t wait for the season.”

HU players said they are excited to be back after the pandemic prevented them from playing last year. 

“What I missed the most was the crowds,” Downing said. “When you’d score, they’d cheer for you. I missed the competition, too. It makes the game fun.”

Due to the shutdown caused by the pandemic, this will be the first time a lot of players will take the field for the Pirates. A significant aspect of every sports team is team chemistry, and the team has had no trouble building their own. 

“I think COVID did affect us,” Brown said. “However, I also think that it made us closer. Before we even got to campus, we were already talking every day, playing video games together. So I’d say we’re a close group.”

Although players bonded before coming to campus, the work didn’t stop there. 

“When we got to campus, we bonded very quickly because we already knew each other,” Downing said. “We’ve learned more about each other as we’ve gone along, and it helps us play better.”

After missing out on their chance to compete last year, players are ready for the opportunity to play again. 

“I’m excited to play our first game in the Southern Conference and hopefully compete for a championship,” Wesley said. 

Every team member is working hard, day in and day out, so fans can look forward to seeing all of their hard work pay off this season.

Freshman class candidates go head-to-head in elections debate

Sasha Thornton | Staff Writer

Quintessence 12 has newly elected officers after contentious freshman debates, with students electing Carlyle Fulton and Kennedy Ashford, respectively, for freshman class president and vice president.

First-year students campaigned for the positions and were able to debate against each other in the student center September 20.

Hampton students, many of them freshmen, filled the student center seats, stairs and balconies, to see contenders Fulton, Ashford, Jada Hood and Arthur D. Harrington square off.

Vice presidential opponents Jada Hood and Ashford started the debates. They were asked a series of questions by spectators, including one from Trinity Woodson, a graduating senior, on how they’ve been a good representative for their class so far during their time at Hampton.

Hood answered by expressing a recent issue she had faced this past summer. Her response caused an uproar in the room.

“I was targeted [by fellow students] for being LGBTQ, so from there, I took it to Twitter,” Hood said. “A lot of people had my back and support as well as ones who came to me, who had the same issues and were being attacked for being themselves.”

Ashford rebutted, expressing that there was no need to take to social media, and her comments could cast Hampton’s name in a negative light.

Hood countered Ashford’s rebuttal, much to the audience’s surprise.

“How does it feel to have someone on your committee personally attack and make statements about the LGBT community?” Hood asked. 

When asked how she felt the debate went, Ashford said that even though she could not answer all questions, she hoped the freshman class voted for who they believed to be the right person for the position.

During the presidential debate between Harrington and Fulton, one question about Harrington’s alleged discriminatory behavior and remarks sparked commotion. Harrington denied the claims, stating that they were false. 

“I appreciate everyone, no matter your religion or sexual orientation, and I have people who will vouch for me and tell you that is not the case,” Harrington said.

His response caused an uproar as some students in the crowd seemed to be unhappy with his answer. 

After finishing the debate, Fulton said that he believes his opponent provided great competition.

“Good job by Mr. Harrington, and I do feel proud of my performance. I feel proud of the campaign, the work, and everything we have accomplished so far,” Fulton said. 

Following the event, many students said that the debates gave them a lot to think about.

“Both candidates had some really strong things to say at the end of the day. It’s going to be a really hard decision to make,” HU student Tomi Akintunde said.

Others said that the debate did not go how they expected. 

“I thought we were going to talk about goals and what’s next for the class of ‘25,” HU student Clark Moore said. “However, this turned into a shady debate with lots of mess and undercover drama we were not aware of as the student body, and I would like to know what is going on.” 

Senior Class Vice President Myana Mabry, a big of both candidates, thought the debate was needed because it touched on many sensitive topics. However, she was disappointed in the way things played out. 

“I expected it to be a bit more professional, honest, thorough and to have concrete plans in place,” Mabry said. “Not just a bunch of optimism.”

Hampton University Marching Force left without proper seating accommodations at Howard game

Morgan Harris | Staff Writer 

 (Photo Courtesy of Facebook user Thomas L. Jones Jr.)

Dr. Thomas L. Jones Jr., Director of Bands at Hampton University, arrived at Audi Field with The Marching Force expecting a friendly battle with Howard’s band as part of the first annual “Truth and Service Classic.”

To his dismay, it was the complete opposite.

“Many of our students were left standing in the concourse for 20 to 30 minutes, with many being left in the sun for 20 to 30 minutes after performing the halftime show,” Jones said.

Touchdown after touchdown, Hampton racked up points on the scoreboard in a 48-32 victory. But there was no band to sing the celebratory praise at the end of each touchdown. In addition, Jones shared that the team was not provided access to water or ice during the game. 

Howard University was responsible for providing proper seating accommodations to Hampton’s Marching Force as the host school. They assigned Hampton’s band to be seated in a standing-room-only section with a railing that restricted movement for the majority of the band’s auxiliary and instrumental sections, according to Jones.

Howard’s Showtime Marching Band was seated in a section on the opposite side of the stadium, leaving many, such as TV One journalist Roland Martin, with the impression that Hampton’s band was a no-show. He made jabs at Hampton on social media, confusing fans.

He posted a side-by-side picture of an empty section and Howard’s band section.

“Unless the @_hamptonu band is gonna march in as a surprise, there won’t be a halftime battle of the bands. Folks here are greatly disappointed there won’t be a battle with @howard1867. What’s up with that, Hampton?! This is the big game!!!” Martin captioned the photo.

Hampton’s band staff said that they did not know their seating arrangements would be in the standing-room-only area of the stadium.

“Our staff was largely left out of the logistics planning, and several representatives from Howard and their band conducted a walk-through of the facilities prior to the game,” Jones said.

The band had no other option but to seek other seating arrangements.

“Despite our challenges, our Pirate fans were gracious enough to move to a different section to allow our band to be seated in an adequate location,” Jones said.

The band members said the situation was unprofessional, and the issue could have been easily avoided with better communication from both parties.

“It could’ve been better organized, and Howard should take responsibility since they were the hosts,”said Sahara Chapman, a member of Hampton’s Marching Force. “Even if the circumstances had changed, they should’ve notified us so we could’ve been better prepared.” 

To clear the air, Jones penned one final message to spectators.

“The lack of adequate seating set off a chain of events that left us in a challenging situation,” he said. “However, once the seating issue was resolved, we were successfully able to tend to all other matters, thus ensuring a quality game-time experience for our fans during the time that we were there.”

The Hampton University Marching Force will  next appear on the field October 2 at Armstrong Stadium for the Battle for the Bay with Norfolk State University.