If you’ve gotten the life-changing opportunity to attend an HBCU, it’s easy to list examples about why the experience is top tier. From the community, to the culture, to the food, to the friends, to the classes and professors, it’s hard to pick any one reason to go. Yet for high school students preparing to choose a college for themselves, the choice may not be so clear-cut. Recently an episode of The Last O.G. did a great job of capturing that experience these young students have when they’re flooded with choices. It definitely made us be more grateful for choosing an HBCU!
If you haven’t seen “The Last O.G.” yet, you’re missing out s. In the show, Tray (played by legendary comedian Tracy Morgan) comes home to Brooklyn after a 15-year prison sentence to find that his neighborhood has gone through a lot of changes. And as it turns out, his former girlfriend Shay (TIffany Haddish) had twins, a boy and a girl, that he had no idea about. Always one to work hard, Tray’s baby girl Amira (Taylor Mosby) is finally at the point where she’s preparing to pick the right college for her. Surprisingly for her, college presentation day at her high school doesn’t go as planned.
In what’s become our favorite episode of the fourth season, “Know Thyself” explores what it’s like for Amira to choose a college in the middle of an identity crisis. She initially believes she wants to attend a well-known Predominantly White Institution (PWI). In part, she is influenced by her white friends, who she feels she fits in with the most. During the college’s presentation, she is snubbed more than once by her dream school. Her father Tray wants to boldly call out how problematically she is being treated, but it only embarrasses her more. In this encounter, you can see her trying to distance herself (both with family and with her choice in school) from what may be considered too ghetto, or too Black.
Without giving too much away, just know, ironically, that it’s an HBCU that ultimately validates her and encourages her to take up space. It’s a tough experience that many HBCU students can attest to. HBCUs were literally created because Black students were not welcome to be educated at pre-existing colleges and universities around the country. So while the acceptance to a PWI may feel like an honor to a student like Amira, it may not necessarily be the best choice to help them blossom in their own skin.
Make sure you catch the “Know Thyself” episode to discover which college Amira ultimately chooses. “The Last O.G.” airs on TBS every Tuesday at 10:30/9:30 CST.