Everyone's still obsessing over Beyoncé's iconic performance at Coachella, aka #Beychella, and her homage to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) throughout her set. Beyoncé’s Coachella performance brought HBCUs back into the limelight, and as a product of an HBCU, I couldn't be happier about it. The performance was Black excellence at its best, featuring "stepping", a series of call-and-response dance moves traditionally performed by fraternities and sororities, and "Bey-centric" drum majors. And while many people might not totally understand the historical references in and significance of the performance, there are plenty of movies and TV shows about HBCUs out there that'll educate you on the subject.
Crowd-pleasing movies like Stomp the Yard and Drumline are both cemented in heavy HBCU band and dance tradition. And then there are timeless shows like A Different World, which give insight into what can transpire in the day to day life of a Black college student. Thanks to Beyoncé's performance and the hashtag #HBEYCU, HBCU culture is having a serious moment, and you can celebrate by watching these eight movies and shows that give insight on everything HBCU related.
1. School Daze
School Daze follows a group of students at the historically Black Mission College, where each of them is trying to make an impact on campus. The protagonists are the activist-minded student Dap (Larry Fishburne), and Julian (Giancarlo Esposito), the head of the biggest fraternity on campus who is more concerned with maintaining social order. Spike Lee plays the conflicted cousin of Dap, Half-Pint, who spends most of his time attempting to rush a fraternity.
Did you love that marching band during Queen Bey's performance? Well, Drumline shows how marching bands play huge roles in HBCU's activities and engagement.
3. Stomp The Yard
It's not uncommon to find historically Black fraternities and sororities at HBCUs "stomping the yard", aka stepping, on any given day of the week. Stomp the Yard follows a young man named DJ (Columbus Short) who enrolls in a fictional Black college called Truth University, after his brother's death. He soon finds himself struggling to decide between two competing fraternities on campus who both want to utilize his talents in an upcoming dance competition.
4. Them We Are Rising: The Story Of Historically Black Colleges And Universities
Them We Are Rising: The Story of Historically Black Colleges and Universities gives viewers a deep look into the history of Black colleges and universities. The documentary shows how these schools have educated some of America's greatest leaders.
5. The Great Debators
The Great Debaters is based on the true story of a debate team from the historical Wiley College. They were the first Black team to enter a collegiate interracial debate in the U.S. against Harvard University.
6. A Different World
A Different World was an '80s/'90s classic that aired for six seasons and focused on students attending a fictional historically Black college in Virginia called Hillman. The sitcom took on many difficult topics in the Black community, like political unrest, gender roles, and sexuality.
8. The Quad
The Quad is a more modern-day view of an HBCU, set at Georgia A&M University where a newly elected president Dr. Eva Fletcher (Anika Noni Rose) has her hands full managing the freshmen class.
Available to watch on BET.
With public universities and private colleges across the country losing fiscal backing, some HBCUs are facing major financial hardships and need more support than ever. That's why it's so great to see acts like Beyoncé's homage, which educates more people about HBCUs and keeps the tradition alive.