Chanel Hudson outside Morehouse College, Atlanta, in April 2020. Photos: Nydia Blas

The Mean Girl of Morehouse Returns

Ten years ago, I wrote a story that changed lives forever—including my own. I went back to examine the wreckage

Aliya S. King
Published in
21 min readApr 29, 2020


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In 2009, I was sifting through press releases and news items, looking for a story. In my office — really an illegal bedroom in a Newark, New Jersey, rooming house — my assistant sat nearby, reading headlines aloud to me.

“Morehouse College has a new dress code,” he said.

I shrugged. Nothing new there. For years, HBCUs had been struggling to keep the Black Ivy League moving into the modern era while trying to stay true to certain standards. When Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Spike Lee, Samuel L. Jackson, and others are among the distinguished alumni, there’s not much room for freshmen wearing sagging jeans and durags on campus.

I quickly read through the press release. It mentioned all the things I expected it to: no sunglasses worn in class, no head coverings inside buildings…

Then my eye skipped to the bottom.

I read it aloud to my assistant.



Aliya S. King

Aliya S. King is an author, freelance writer and editor.