By Cheryl Smith
I Messenger Media L.L.C.
This year’s homecoming for Florida A&M University (FAMU) was billed as “Epic” and, for a number of reasons, the weeklong events met or exceeded expectations. There were celebrities galore. Everyone from Super Producer Will Packer ’96, who came bearing a $500,000 donation; Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms ’91; Comedians Roy Wood Jr . 01’ and Kevin Hart, Rappers Lil Baby and Moneybagg Yo, ABC President Kim Godwin ’84, Director Rob Hardy ‘96, journalist Stephen A. Smith, R&B singer Anthony Hamilton, Coach Rudy Hubbard; The President of Funk George Clinton; Atty.
Ben Crump; and other FAMU alums former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, former Dallas City Councilwoman Tiffinni A. Young: Judge Zebedee Wright; Westside Gazette Publisher Bobby Henry Sr., and Television show host/actress Rashan Ali.
There was the homecoming convocation, concerts, fashion show, and of course, tailgating! And, more than 31,800 crowded into Bragg Stadium with probably three times as many crowding the streets and areas outside the stadium; which included hundreds of opponent Grambling State University (GSU) supporters, alumni and fans.
For the coaches, it was the first matchup for FAMU Coach Willie Simmons and GSU’s Broderick Fobbs since they faced one another in the 2017 State Fair Classic when Simmons was at Prairie View A&M University. The “Epic” nature of the homecoming continued with the contest on the gridiron, where FAMU and GSU haven’t faced off since they prepared for the game that was canceled in 2001. On Saturday FAMU was victorious 26-3.
For Andrew Whigham, who is a regular at his alma mater’s annual events; this was a special homecoming as he and his wife, Deardra made plans to travel from Dallas, Tex to Tallahassee and their son was joining them from Miami, where he attends grad school. Just as he did in 1986, Andrew’s daughter, Carrington, presided over homecoming activities in 2021 as Student Government Association President. “Words can not express how I feel right now, I’m full,” said Mr. Whigham. “I am so proud of her and I just wish my parents were here to share this moment with us.
You know we are third generation Rattlers.” Andrew’s SGA term was considered “Epic” also as he served when FAMU celebrated its Centennial and he was dubbed the “Centennial SGA President,” managing a $500,000 budget.
In 2020, Carrington was elected SGA Vice President and in the Spring of 2021 she was elected president; overseeing a seven-figure budget. The graduate of Dallas’ historic Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, who also is a participant in Sen. Royce West’s Dr. Emmett J. Conrad Leadership Program, Carrington is a broadcast journalism major with a minor in theater.
She laughs when recalling how emotional her father gets “choked” up about her accomplishments, acknowledging that he still loves to give her advice. A member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, like her mother, Carrington enjoyed the “Epic” homecoming and under her leadership, many say you can count on it being an “Epic” year.