Gerald Jerome Huggins, Jr. was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York and currently resides in Charlotte, NC. Huggins attended Virginia Union University majoring in Mass Communications and will be moving to Atlanta, GA where he will attend Clark-Atlanta University studying African-American Studies in the fall.
While attending Virginia Union University, Huggins became a member of Omega Psi Phi, Fraternity, Inc. – Zeta Chapter in Spring of 2014. “I joined Omega Psi Phi because I was always around members of the fraternity as a child,” he stated. “Multiple cousins were brothers of Omega, but they never forced the fraternity upon me. While other men that I respected continually pushed their fraternities on me, my cousins and mentors that were Omegas always said: “You’re not ready for this.” With brothers stating that made me want to seek the fraternity even more. I also wanted to join the fraternity to help give me a platform to create change in my community and the world.”
Huggins recently attended the Atlanta Greek Picnic and wore a “Make The D9 Black Again” shirt in his fraternity colors. The picture of Huggins in his t-shirt has been quite the conversation amongst Divine 9 Greeks.
Huggins goes on to state that the meaning of the shirt was to bring up a conversation that most of the Divine Nine community is scared to have. “There is a historical context to the shirt. It is bigger than the phrase,” Huggins said. “That is what I intended on explaining to individuals in person. However, I realized in this generation that nobody wants to speak face to face. They would rather speak their peace over the internet. I planned to wear this shirt for months before Atlanta Greek Picnic.”
Huggins displays his activism through fashion which he believes is just as important as activism through his voice and literature. “Such a shirt like this is nothing new to me. If anyone follows me on Instagram, @GeraldHimBoii, they will see more sweaters saying ‘Black Female Consumption Only’ or ‘Everybody Wanna Be Black Until It’s Time To Be Black.’ They will see shirts saying ‘Malcolm Taught Me’ or ‘Blacker The College, The Sweeter the Knowledge.'”
When asked about his inspiration behind the shirt, Huggins articulates that his inspiration stems from the history that he loves to study. “It comes from my love for my people. I just want to see my people thrive.”
Before Huggins’ mom died, he made a promise to her that he was going to do something to change the world. He then goes on to state that he believes that black people’s kindness can be looked at as a weakness. “In my opinion, integration may not have been the best thing for blacks for this exact reason, the fear of an infiltration and then a takeover. The history of black organizations and businesses will continue to end with the same exact result if we continue to allow any and everyone to join. It seems like blacks can never have anything of their own. Then we will cry about Culture Vultures and people Appropriating our culture. Then when non-black members accede to the Divine Nine, they are put on a pedestal and praised just because they’re not black.”
Huggins then begins to provide examples of his statement. “The common name is the white Kappa named Sam, who shimmied and became the most famous Divine Nine member. He didn’t do that; black folks did that. I see people show their hate for people like YesJulz, but chapters are crossing people just like her every semester.”
Huggins believes that one day the D9 will be controlled by non-black members.
“Blacks feel if we make our organizations inclusive then we look better than white organizations but in reality, they don’t care. White people would not go this hard for their black members, but Blacks will always put down a brotha speaking truth to allow their white peers to remain comfortable. It is more about the infiltration than solely not wanting certain races to be a part of the Divine Nine. Will white members of Sigma Alpha Epsilon stand up for their black members like black people are doing for the non-black members of the Divine Nine? I’d say probably not.”
Huggins concludes that is disheartening to see black Divine Nine members remain oblivious to the potential takeover of D9 organizations, which was the inspiration behind the shirt.
“It was not meant to shun the non-black members but to let the Divine Nine know that we’re getting to the point where we are going to integrate our organizations to the point where we won’t control them any longer. Everyone does not deserve an invitation to the Cookout!”
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