"What the hell is this title about? What is a Z Phi B?" Let me break it down real quick.
Z Phi B is short for Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated. Yes, I am a sorority girl. I've been part of the Blue & White for 12 years and it is one of the best decisions I've ever made. Shocking? I know. Some people who've met me in more recent years (whether we've met in person or just online) don't really know that because I don't talk about it much. It is a huge part of me - just not something I talk about a lot. But here we go.
As a freshman at Jackson State University, an HBCU in Mississippi, I assumed that sorority life would be big but I wasn't very familiar with any of it. During my junior year in high school, I was part of the Delta Sigma Theta Teen Lift program but solely because we were able to meet kids from other schools and got a virtually free trip to Atlanta for a college tour. The mentors of the program would often tell the girls about their love for DST which was cute but...I wasn't interested. When I got to college, I recognized their letters and colors and thought, "OH, they are everywhere." But because sorority life never moved me and was never part of my life growing up, I still didn't care.
Cue the "Welcome to the yard" stepshow. Between the fraternities and sororities, there seas of colors in pink/green, purple/gold, crimson/cream and black/gold and what sounded like a million calls announcing each organization's presence. Then there was blue and white. The Sigmas, as I recall it, came out first to step and "blue phi" into the heavens. Next up were their "sisters," the Zetas and I was like, "Damn, they can really step." I was entertained but still not that interested after their show was done. Then something happened and I was sold. After their show, they came out into the audience and just kind of welcomed many students who said they were freshmen. They seemed so approachable and cool that in that moment, I decided I was going to be "one of them."
A year went by but in that time, I watched them. Not just the stepshows but how they moved on the campus and their community service. Don't get me wrong, the stepshows were the shit but that's not what hooked me. They were actually doing something and not just being "seen." I liked that and with some work and things of that nature, I became a member in Spring 2000.
Twelve years later, I still think back on my initial...let's say, two years in the sorority and I smile. Honestly, I didn't "need" the sisters (or brothers, if you include the Sigmas), friends or popularity that came with being a member of a sorority: I was already pretty popular and had enough friends. We worked hard. We were the third smallest sorority on campus but we were the most liked and quite frankly, we ran that yard. I take a lot of pride in that because when you become part of something, you want to know that what you do is not going in vain. I simply joined because I loved what they stood for. And I still do. Finances haven't always allowed me to be a financial member (I won't lie - it isn't necessarily cheap but it keeps the organization floating) but I always peeked my head in on my graduate chapter when I'm not able to give financially. Being part of "my Z Phi" has given me a better appreciation of community organization and service. I honestly don't know that I would have realized how important that was in my early 20s without Zeta.
And on top of that, I've met some special people. There are some people I've met through the sorority that I love so deeply as family that you wouldn't even know we were Sorors because that's probably the last thing I mention because of them. I absolutely thank my sorority for that because with it, there would be no us (the "us" being some of the relationships I have). I'm not as "Soror-ly" as I used to be - meaning I don't run around hugging every Soror I see - but that has played an integral part in my growth when I was in my 20s.
So, I know that some of you reading may hate my obvious view of my love of MY sorority (and to an extent, all sororities) - especially those of you who have strong opinions against them - and that's okay. However my passion for it, I hope, will never die.
"I love my Z Phi B! And in my heart, I couldn't love another 'cuz I love my sorority."