Atlanta — The experience felt during homecoming time at a historically Black college and university can barely be put into words, that is why two Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) students, Jayla Herring and Kinaya Willis, worked over the last year to capture it on film.
Inspired by their peer Oz Sampson’s annual HBCU homecoming tour traveling to institutions across the country to partake in festivities, the duo decided to do the same. However as journalism students, they wanted to take it up a notch and vlog the experience.
The vlog then evolved into “mak[ing] it a documentary. After research, we realized despite how notorious HBCU homecomings are, no one has done a documentary on them that we know of,” Herring said.
“The Experience” encapsulates the pride of homecoming at HBCUs. It allows alumni to reconnect with old friends, helps students better understand the detail that goes into planning a homecoming and expresses overall pride in the Black experience.
“If you are not there to experience an HBCU homecoming you will not understand it. We do things so differently than PWIs. HBCUs homecomings are niche,” Willis said.
Because HBCUs are underrepresented in the media, Herring and Willis wanted the documentary to accurately depict the magic of as many institutions as possible. The duo traveled to Howard University and Southern University A&M college before the pandemic.
Despite the pandemic disrupting this year’s in-person homecoming plans and “stopping our fun, we actually wanted to release our documentary at the beginning of the semester and this homecoming season does have a condensed digital version of “The Experience” covering HBCUs that we couldn't cover this go around,” Herring said.
“I would like viewers who have actually attended/do attend HBCUs to walk away with a sense of pride and I would like viewers who have not gone to HBCUs to walk away with a better understanding and enjoying being Black,” Willis said.
Watch “The Experience” on YouTube.