Last week the USC Cardinal Divas made their formal performance debut at the USC versus Fresno state football game inspiring a sense of pride in many but conflicting feelings in some.
Princess Lang (20) is a Junior Musical Theater Major at The University of Southern California (USC) and the founder of the school’s first majorette dance team. She was a majorette dancer herself during her high school years in Chicago and wanted to find a way to continue dancing once starting college.
Majorette style dancing has been a pillar in HBCU sports culture since the mid 1960s. Unlike traditional majorette dancing which usually incorporates baton twirling and rhythmic gymnastics styles, HBCU band dancing blends high step marching with jazz, modern, hip hop and West African dances. This makes the HBCU majorette experience unique and is the fuel behind some of the opposition Lang is facing.
Critics complain that by introducing a majorette team to a predominately white institution (PWI), Lang is providing non-Black people with a new piece of Black culture to appropriate. But she sees it differently. In an interview with Essence Magazine, Lang is quoted saying, “There are a lot of negative comments that are going around, but I think the bigger picture of everything is really just to support Black women and uplift Black women everywhere. I appreciate and applaud everybody that has gone to an HBCU or a PWI, but I’m just here to open up a space for the Black women at my PWI, because we deserve to uplift and embrace our culture just as much as anybody else.”
Should Black culture be reserved for predominantly Black spaces or can we all benefit by expanding access to it?
What do you think?