The #BlackMenOfYaleUniversity Goes Viral!
Every now and then, social media allows for positive images to be shown and to go viral. This week, a photo of nine Black men, who are students at Yale University, went viral on Twitter with the hashtag #BlackMenofYaleUniversity.
Everyone loves an Ivy League school and even though we’re aware Black people do attend these institutions, it’s nice to see them all come together and show their experiences on these campuses.
— Tunde (@akintundeahmad) April 24, 2017
The photo was tweeted out by 21-year-old Yale University junior Akintunde Ahmad. The sociology major and his friends wanted to show that just because they attend an Ivy League school, they’re just like other college students and Black men in America. They initially just wanted professional pictures taken, but soon realized the photos could have a bigger meaning of representation about Black men succeeding at the Ivy League level. The photos were shot around campus by Vivian Deng.
“I think the biggest stereotype about Black men on Yale’s campus is that people perceive us as being very ‘proper’ or ‘elitist’ or ‘conventional.'”
New Orleans, Charlotte and Los Angeles are just some of the cities the gentlemen are natives of.
Ahmad told Essence.com, “For Black men at Yale, the environment is overall comfortable for us. Originally, we all had our struggles with adjusting to a college atmosphere that was not representative to the environments we grew up in. But we embraced the change and turned to each other for support to make sure that we all continued to thrive, rather in academics, on our sports teams, or in our social lives.”
He went on to say, “I think the biggest stereotype about Black men on Yale’s campus is that people perceive us as being very ‘proper’ or ‘elitist’ or ‘conventional.’ While we are very studious and focused on our academics, I don’t think a single one of us is any different than your average 21-year-old Black male in America.”
There are plans for the gentlemen to continue with these photos to highlight the Black students at their school.
“The greater message behind these photos is that we are Black men first, and Ivy League students second,” said Ahmad.
“Our school doesn’t define us, but we did want to showcase what our Ivy League experience looks like. The hope is that aspiring young students can look at these images and picture themselves in our shows. Positive imagery goes a long way.”
It would be great if more Black students at Ivy League schools took part in a similar photo project.