Like most things, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we will celebrate the HBCU Homecoming season this year. Instead of attending step shows and concerts on the ‘yard,’ Urban One launched its virtual One Yard festival, bringing the experience to the comfort of your own home.
Singer, songwriter and comedian Jade Novah will be headlining the festival’s Yardfest concert. NewsOne recently caught up with the social media maven, who shared her excitement about One Yard, and recounted her experiences on the ‘yard’ at Kent State University.
NewsOne: What was your college experience like?
Jade Nova: It was very interesting. Kent State obviously is not an HBCU. Because our Black community was small we stuck together. We had a lot of organizations that allowed us to connect with one another and I feel like that bond was that much stronger because we were the minority.
We had Black United Students, we called it ‘BUS’ and we came together. We had a program for incoming freshmen of color for us to go on campus a week before everybody else. So it was really really cool. It was nothing but us, so it felt like an HBCU that first week of college.
NO: Congratulations on headlining One Yard’s Yardfest! What are you most looking forward to?
JN: First of all, just celebrating blackness. I mentioned I went to Kent State but I wish I had known more about HBCUs at the time. I went to a school close to where I grew up and there weren’t a lot of HBCUs around. I’m excited to give the information and to hopefully just change the narrative about it. If there’s anyone who wouldn’t have considered attending an HBCU, I’m hoping and looking forward to shifting the narrative and hopefully bringing some people to the other side.
NO: Homecoming season celebrates the collegiate experience and brings together past and present students. Can you share your favorite homecoming experience?
JN: At Kent State, I don’t know that I was as immersed in the homecoming experience, but for Black United Students, we had an event called Renaissance Ball. It was a chance for everyone to let their hair down, get beautiful, get all glammed up and to get a chance to meet some of the students who have already graduated and just partying with alumni and networking in a nontraditional way, but still celebrating our culture.
NO: What do you think about continuing homecoming traditions virtually, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic?
JN: I think it’s necessary because we really don’t know what the future holds and it’s important for us to still honor those traditions and still celebrate life and all of the beautiful things regardless.
NO: What’s one thing you wish you knew before college?
JN: I wish I knew more about finances and loans and what scholarships and all those things really meant. I think it’s important to have education on that before you step into adulthood.
NO: What tips can you offer prospective students?
JN: Consider your major, your interests, what sort of school size is realistic for you and don’t be afraid to leave the nest. That’s probably my most important piece of advice.
Tune in to the Yardfest concert on Friday, 9/25 at 8pm EST on OneYard.co, Sponsored by Xfinity.