The Omega Psi Phi Centenniel was held in Washington DC on the weekend of July 29-July 31. The brothers descended upon Washington DC with a brotherly love that hasn’t been as measurable since the Million Man March.
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The Convention Center was overrun with men who came in a rainbow of brown- proudly wearing variations of eggplant purple and splashes of gold. Some had on their purple tee shirts, gold boots and camouflage shorts while others were “fresh to death”. Crisp linen suits with purple bow ties and gator loafers were seen most commonly among the forty something Omegas. However, in hindsight the purple tee shirts uniform proved to be quite functional for those brothers who were moved to demonstrate their eternal dedication to the fraternal order by stepping.
At one point during energy charged evening the song “Atomic Dog” filled the air and the brothers donning the purple Omega t-shirts erupted into synchronized barking and powerful twirling. The amorous men took deliberate care with the ladies at the testosterone bowl. Though moved to overt displays consisting of hard air punching, tornado spins and ferocious mid air kicks-the men were well aware of who was around them and were careful not to disrupt the space of others. However, even the novice knew not to get in the way of these spirit induced warriors. The “bruhs” were in second heaven. They seemed fueled by the presence of one another…and we were inspired to experience that love. It was pure and purposed. There wasn’t any negative energy in the room. Men….black men- on one accord despite socio-economic background, despite geographical representation, despite all of society’s misperceptions of WHO THEY OUGHT TO BE- were altogether in a single room fully and thoroughly present. The spirit that filled the space was reverent. Hunting for potential suitors, which admittedly was the original intent-soon became an uncomfortable state of mind. It was more important to just live in that swirl of masculine energy than to manipulate the environment to accommodate feminine agendas.
It became very clear that just kicking it with the “bruhs” would be more than sufficient. Many were from out of town and would render a slim chance of ever really reconnecting again. It didn’t help matters that ,every single one seemed to be wearing a wedding ring, have a significant other or just be on a mission to be “female free” that weekend.
After a solid breakfast my roadies and I were off to the Convention Center to see what wares we could purchase in memory of this historic event. There were droves of men clammering in the area where fraternal memorabilia could be purchased and where food could be found to fuel the rest of the afternoon. There we struck up wonderful conversations. All parties were fully aware that by the end of Sunday-they’d be going back to far off destinations to rekindle the relationships with others that they’d left…so conversation was all there was or ever would be. We laughed about the distinctions between geographic regions. We mused over calling and purpose to organizations and deities. We chatted about the evenings events and wondered if we’d bump into each other again at any point. If not, then the conversation was a planted message that would be held as a pearl from a lovely afternoon in the presence of strong men who appreciated strong women…JUST AS THEY WERE.
In the evening a friend of a friend had picked us up in his candy apple red Lexus. We parked the chariot and walked about ten to fifteen blocks to a delightful sushi spot off of K Street (close to Ozio’s on M). The brother that had accompanied us was a distinguished older gentleman that wore the battle scars of years of hard rowdy living and had come into his own sensibility as a result. He seemed utterly taken by the two younger ladies in his presence and I was struck by his irridescent green eyes. I kept looking to see if I could see his soul which was within grasp, if only I could stare. The meal of raw, tempura and vegetarian sushi was very filling…and so was the company. We found later found our way back to the Convention Center where we mixed and mingled with other fraternity men. Our older gentleman seemed to fade away as the night progressed and we were left to our own devices.
We found a cantina called Cuba Libre on 9th and H Street, to wet our whistle and dance a little. Pictures were taken and laughs were had, then it was time for the she wolf to emerge in the sister that had been in my company all day!
By Saturday evening the long time friend that was with me during our excursions had certifiably lost her wits. The sea of men served in large doses throughout the last twenty four hours had overwhelmed her entirely and she began to lose her grip on sensitivity. She began to navigate a very social situation with a compass that was broken before she even came to any of the Centennial events. The out of towner categorically denied functioning under the unwritten social rules and regulations of the Alpha chapter’s hometown.
The city of Washington prides itself on its conservative and often very politically correct mannerisms when engaging with anyone. The temporarily unruly sister had to be convinced to discard the hot pink strapless tube top and daisy duke shorts for a more sensible floor length maxi dress that afforded a much more classy lady like presentation. It later became crystal clear that the broken woman child was looking for validation from the cat calls and inappropriate beckoning that the “hooker” outfit would have brought. Ki-Ki needed something that her longtime friend could not provide. At that moment she needed for men to acknowledge that she was attractive despite what her former hurtful husband had constantly told her. There had to be A man-young or old who would want her, either temporarily or for a lifetime. However, that latter would not be received because she was nowhere near ready to be in a relationship. Her wholehearted selfishness would prevent any type of desire to share with anyone.
Having married straight out of college, the woman who feared that life was almost over had wasted her young and beautiful years on a man who decided abruptly that he no longer wanted her. Ki Ki had to reclaim her dignity even if she lost more of herself in the process. She was merely walking the earth. There was no moral compass to self regulate. Her energy was high strung, nervous and unsure. She was obviously afraid of something but what it really was-neither she nor anyone around her would really know. Ki Ki wondered why her female friends had decided they were often too preoccupied with their own stuff to be bothered with Ki Ki and her girls. Yes, her daughters were watching as their mother unhinged. The divorce from her longtime husband, the death of her ailing father and trying to wrangle the psychological abuse hurled at her by her husband and hugely unsupportive mother –all factored into this “new” loose cannon of a woman.
She didn’t want to answer to anyone. There was a 139lb projectile on the loose and whenever it lands an explosion is imminent. Admittedly, when my mother finally left my abusive father-I too became destructive. I wanted to hurt ALL men as much as my own father had hurt me. So in some ways, I believe that Ki Ki wanted to project her pain so that anyone around her would FEEL exactly how she felt.
After assessing the instability of my friend it became abundantly clear that exposing her to my Omega friends was not an option. Arranging to partake in cookouts or other fellowship opportunities associated with familiar folks was out of the question. The nervous energy that Ki Ki now used to communicate was unsettling. Our friendship had spanned years. She possessed a skittish persona while we were in college that was moderately annoying . It was as if she knew nothing about anything. Now she knows about the double edged sword that love brings and here she is nervous AND unsure….damaged and lost.
There would be no resolve in fixing her woes. Speaking truth about her selfishness was all that could be rendered to an already wounded friend. She awoke with the sun and left without unearthing the deep seeds that had grown wild between us.
By the end of that weekend it was abundantly clearly that:
In no way are men perfect but when they move in packs with purpose there is no denying that forces can be moved to produce power gently wrapped in delicately formed relationships, bonds and comrodary.
Hopefully ours could withstand based on that premise.