Morehouse President Hits Back at Vibe…with Class

Morehouse’s President Robert Franklin was not too happy about the October issue of Vibe  and the story they wrote called “The Mean Girls of Morehouse” that was published October 12.  The article, written by Aliya S. King, gave a platform for a certain five-member cross-dressing clique within the Morehouse community that call themselves “The Plastics.” The article has been stripped off the Vibe site, yet Vibe’s co-CEO and Chief Creative Officer, Brett Wright and Editor-in Chief Jermaine Hall, stand by the article and did not find cause to pull it from the magazine…no matter how president Franklin felt.

Franklin put together yet another eloquent note to the Morehouse community addressing Vibe’s decision to run the article and his disappointment with the lack of substantive journalism that as he said will only “heighten misunderstandings and advance or inform little.”  Also in his response he wrote that “It seems clear from the headline alone that the Vibe editorial team’s intent is to sensationalize and distort reality for the purpose of driving readership.”

The article was simply the perspective of alienation that the members of the Plastics felt is a part of the core of the Morehouse community.  One of the members, Diamond, said he doesn’t go to the school anymore because his experiences drove him off the campus.  Him, as well as present and past members of his group, express that the dress code we reported Franklin implemented last year directly affected their community of cross-dressing males and fortified the ill-will toward them.

But, according to Franklin, the dress code he implemented last year had nothing to do with discrimination, and everything to do with developing “men who are equipped to live and contribute to an increasingly diverse, global and complex world.”

Read the president’s complete response here.

-J.C. Brooks

5 thoughts on “Morehouse President Hits Back at Vibe…with Class”

  1. Morehouse Man (Revised)

    I graduated from Morehouse in 1966. I was a closeted gay student with no one to share my frustrations, because I was too busy trying to perpetuate the myth of the “Morehouse Man” and Kappa Alpha Psi brother. There was homosexual activity on campus, but I was too afraid to participate. I remember walking into a room in Graves Hall (during my freshman year, 1962/63) and witnessed a very effeminate student – who was known as the campus fag – giving blow jobs to a bunch of giggling freshmen. (I know names, but I will respect their anonymity.) I was very turned on, but left out of shame and guilt.

    Years later I saw that same happy graduate with his wife and kids at a Morehouse College Glee Club concert in Baltimore in the 90’s. Like me and most black homosexuals of my generation he had married and chosen to live on the down-low.

    In 1965 just before the spring semester of my junior year kicked off I was suspended for taking a Spanish class at Clark College for my frat brother, Byron Edward Glore. I had recently been chosen to participate in an exchange program with Gonzaga College in Spokane, Washington and had already packed my bags when we got busted. Instead I took the night train home. When I returned to Morehouse that Fall I learned that several students had been suspended or expelled for having sex with this same student. In fact rumors had it that an undercover homosexual ring had been outed and ousted.

    Homosexuality was a hot topic of conversations on campus while dicks and buns were often compared and advertised. In fact wearing tight jeans with a bulging crotch was a sure sign of true manhood…and everybody knows a flat ass is a disgrace to the race! Steve Jones (a handsome, athletic, and friendly young hunk from Birmingham) was greatly admired because he excelled in both areas. The House was full of black beauty…and black booty! It seems everybody was “peter peeping” in the shower and locker rooms though only punks and sissies were singled out for cruising or “reckless eyeballing”.

    A successful attorney from Miami, Florida who bunked in the room next door in Graves Hall used to march into our room completely naked after each shower waving his huge uncut endowment at me and my roommates. I wanted so badly to accept his invitation but merely rolled over and masturbated on the top bunk when the lights were out. Some students even bragged about sexual trysts with “funny” guys because you were still a “man” as long as you did the fucking and the sissy did the sucking…yet suspected gay students were constantly bullied and trashed at Morehouse.

    Pledging was a sexual frustrating experience for me. Pledgees were often made to strip naked and do all sorts of humiliating things although – with one exception – I was never personally scorned or called names by my KAΨ brothers, yet I bear permanent anal and buttock bruises from crossing the “burning sands” back in 1963…almost 50 years ago! Still I had mad crushes on a few of my frat brothers but was always too afraid to make the first move, so nothing ever happened. Kappa men were famous “pussy hounds” and I was terrified because I never had a girlfriend and could hardly live up to that macho image. I had a few quickies in the bushes behind the Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC) dorm where I stayed during my sophomore year due to overcrowded housing on the Morehouse campus. I also used to sneak in and out of a quirky bar for misfits (on Hunter Street) where undercover gays, drag queens and hustlers hung out after hours. I often ran into other Morehouse students on the make in the dingy dimly lit club but we rarely acknowledged each other. In fact I would look the other way not realizing that no closeted gay would risk exposure by admitting seeing me or anybody else in a gay bar. After graduation I disengaged myself from the fraternity out of fear of discovery and rejection.

    For years I financially supported Morehouse, but after the highly publicized gay bashing incident I stopped sending money because President Raymond Massey formed a diversity committee that included no openly gay members. I wrote him about my concerns and volunteered to help, but I never received a reply. That snub hurt, but I was elated the gay basher got what he deserved. The son of a preacher man got stiff prison sentence and a ticket to Oz where he just might have ended up as a primetime jailhouse bride.

    For years the Washington Blade published a list of the most homophobic colleges and Morehouse was always in the Top Ten. To my knowledge a gay college group is still fighting for recognition on campus. Ironically blacks demand dignity and respect from whites yet turn right around and discriminate against our own gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender brothers and sisters. I am both proud and sometimes ashamed to be a Morehouse Man, but I have thankfully finally learned to accept that “It’s Ok 2 B Black & Gay”!

    Samuel Augustus Jennings
    Morehouse College
    Class of 1966

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