Get in Formation With the Cardinal Divas of the University of Southern California

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Watch out “Ooh La La Dancers,” “Stingettes” and “Dancing Dolls,” there is a new majorette team in town that has been garnering much attention since its debut. Princess Isis Lang established the Cardinal Divas of the University of Southern California (USC) with the goal of providing a safe space for women of color to dance and embrace the culture.

Lang is currently a musical theater major at USC and the driving force behind the creation of the school’s first-ever majorette team. The 20-year-old was a majorette at her Chicago high school and wanted her dance career to continue on while in college, according to Essence. However, after arriving on campus, Lang soon noticed the void of not having an all-Black dance team that practiced majorette dance style.  

With the encouragement of her mother, she embarked on a path to create a team of her own. The process included pitching the idea to school officials and applying to have the team recognized as a school organization. The authorization process took months, but with the support of the university’s associate director of recreational sports, Mark Munson, the team became official. 

The Cardinal Divas made their debut on Sept. 17 during the USC versus Fresno State football game. Lang took to social media to announce the team’s debut, stating “I created a majorette team at a PWI and performed at our first game…The Cardinal Divas of SC are UP NEXT.” The debut video has received over three million views and revamped the age-old HBCU versus PWI (predominantly white institution) debate. 

Although many saw Lang’s achievement as applaud-worthy, there were also critiques from social media users who were opposed to the idea. Majorettes are an important part of band and sports culture at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Lang was called out with comments such as “If an HBCU isn’t good enough for you stop trying to replicate HBCU culture at white schools,”  “This is great and all but why not just go to an HBCU,” and “Wanting HBCU culture at PWIs is weird. Because HBCU culture isn’t something to put on and take off when it benefits you.” 

Lang told Essence that she “did want to attend an HBCU,” however, “it just didn’t really work out for me. In response to the negativity, Lang acknowledges it but believes the bigger picture is centered on supporting and uplifting Black women. “Just a Chicago girl with big dreams❤️ always been one for MY culture,” stated Lang in a follow-up post

Despite the negativity, Lang was able to find support from one very important figure in the dance community, Miss D, the leader of the Dancing Dolls. The dancer and television personality took to social media in support of Lang, stating “While the masses speak negatively I know what it feels like to want to just DANCE!!!…check your Dm Queen… let’s work.” 

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