Wary, hopeful Hampton U. students check out “The Quad”
Story by Atira Kennedy
The new Black Entertainment Television show "The Quad" premiered 10 p.m. EST Wednesday, Feb. 1. The drama series focuses on the student life at HBCUs --Historically Black Colleges and Universities -- and the issues that occur: Relationships between teachers and students, gender stereotypes in leadership, racism, hazing, underage drinking, blackmail, and, homicide.
"It deals with politics in the academic world, and with issues the students face, like sexual assault," Jasmine Guy told "ABC News" last month. Guy previously starred in "A Different World," a late 1980s- to '90s-era sitcom set at fictitious black campus Hillman College.
Created by Felicia Henderson, Charles Holland, and Rob Hardy, "The Quad" is said to be "addictively soapy and serious" said a review by the Hollywood Reporter, a trade newspaper.
The show promises to favor other shows and movies that have portrayed the HBCU lifestyle such as "Stomp the Yard," "A Different World," and "Drumline." With a plot line focusing on an Ivy League-educated African-American woman as the president of the university. Each episode will center on serious topics that are affecting the black community with black literature hash tags as the episode titles.
"Trojan-Horse style, 'The Quad' gives its viewers an education by doubling down on the suds," said the Hollywood Reporter.
Some anxious viewers on the Hampton University campus suspect that the new show might shed a negative light on HBCUs, or won't be an accurate depiction of any of the 107 schools.
"I think it's going to shine light on things that do occur at HBCUs, but at the same time, I feel like it's going to be very negative and controversial and exclude all the richness and positivity that occurs," said Victoria Daniels of Raleigh, North Carolina, a journalism major.
The hit-or-miss fear was evident for other students at Hampton.
"I have very low expectations for the show just because of the second 'Drumline' movie and how cheesy and inaccurate it was," said Deja Young of Chicago, a nursing major. "The first ["The Quad"] episode may be good, but it will probably go downhill from there."
However, some students have high hopes for the show and were excited for the premiere.
"They have Jasmine Guy on the show, and she's not prone to be a part of messy TV so I have faith in the overall production," said Ashley Wright (pictured right), a Hampton University alumna from Chicago.
The accolades accumulated by some of the stars and producers of the show may keep it afloat.
"Take a look at the people making the show. If they went to an HBCU, they'll be more likely to do it justice," said Arielle Wallace, of Detroit, journalism major.
The first episode of "The Quad" appears to be an experiment for many students as well as celebrities. Both high and low expectations have been set for the show; however, the BET premiere will reveal the truth.
"The Quad brings HBCU life back to TV," wrote Paula Rogo in Essence magazine last October. "It's the first look into the black college experience since 'A Different World.'"
The writer is a student in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.