Nov 30, 2011

During a discussion about the hazing related death of FAMU drum major Robert Champion, Tom Joyner made a statement about band faternity Kappa Kappa Psi that has some people calling for the boycott of the Fly Jock's morning show. During his comments, Tom said, and I paraphrase, that the simple fact of a student having a brand that said KKPsi represented hazing.

Never once did I hear him say that KKPsi was to blame for the death of Robert Champion, but rather he stated his opinion as to his definition of hazing. Now I maybe wrong, but I swear I listened to the audio several times and I still didn't hear him say that KKPsi was to blame.

I realize some people are upset because through his statements he implied that KKPsi was not a real fraternity, but I honestly don't think that was the point he was trying to make. I think he was trying to focus on the hazing aspect and because the death of Robert involved the band it was easy for him to bring up the faternity associated with the band. He could have easily brought up his own faternity, Omega Psi Phi, when it came to issues involving branding, but the topic was related to the band and thus it was KKPsi that he chose to focus on.

Now let me state for the record that I've never pledged a sorority. I was so stressed out from majoring in chemical engineering that I didn't have time for anything else. That's not to say that I didn't want to pledge; my major just didn't allow for much extracurricular activities especially if I wanted to graduate on time. I realize that people have immense love for their respective organizations, but I also think we need to take a breath and truly examine why the culture of hazing is so prevalent around some of these organizations, and trust me this is not just a black issue, but rather a human issue because hazing is taking place across all racial barriers. Something needs to happen. Robert Champion's parents should not had to bury their son today.

Now with that being said, I guess I am one of those people in the minority on this one because I didn't see anything wrong with what Tom said. People are free to boycott his show if they so wish but I honestly don't understand the point.

Oh and for the record (just in case you didn't know) I am a PROUD, Proud Alumnus of Florida A&M University. So don't get it twisted. I love my school and the Marching 100, but I also have love for Robert Champion and his family.


  1. Sounds like Sunday's topic to me

  2. I am sick and tired of the self-destructive nature that blacks inherently possess. This hazing incident although not solely confined to black colleges, demonstrates this, because look at the mentality that it takes to beat this young man in the manner in which it was, I venture to say hooliganistic, similar to having to jump-in initiation gang tactics. For heavens sake this boy was in college. Then to boycott the Tom Joyner show again demonstrates self-destructive behavior. Of all the positves that this show provides, surely there is another avenue that can express their displeasure and/or disagreement with his comments, other than to contact the sponsors and what not. Can you imagine the airways without black opionated radio. Again I say self-destructive nature.

  3. I am guessing you get the brand after you have crossed. So technically you would no longer be a pledge but a member. So at that point is it still considered hazing? After crossing, most are so ecstatic that they are are not thinking about the actual process of branding. It's probably viewed the same as getting a tattoo.

    Regardless, I think it is extreme to boycott his show because of what he said. I listened intently waiting for the controversy and I didnt hear anything that warrants such an outcry.

  4. I'm only anonymous because I don't have the accepted other forms . .. . First of all, as a former marching band member, current band instructor, arranger, and teacher, the band world weeps for the loss of a musician the caliber of Robert Champion. One of my former students is a member of the Marching 100 and speaks highly of Champion and the program at FAMU.

    Now in reference to these comments, Mr. Joyner said the Kappa Kappa Psi is "a band organization, not a fraternity or sorority." In the eyes of thousands of members of organizations such as Kappa Kappa Psi National Honorary Band FRATERNITY, other fraternities and sororities that aren't "Divine Nine" organizations, that is not only disrepectful, but also inappropriate to mention the organization's name in the same breath as discussing the death of yong man due to suspected hazing.

    It would have been more appropriate for Mr. Joyner to talk about Omega Psi Phi because he is a member of the organization, the organization has gotten in trouble for hazing before, and branding is a commonly seen practice. To mention this "band organization" while addressing an issue of hazing only leads listeners to associate the two together. I'm sure Kappa Kappa Psi, just like Omega Psi Phi has a clear Anti-hazing policy.

    Let us remember this great musician and his legacy and not toss anymore people into the mix. Hazing is wrong! Period. Whether it is in band, fraternal organizations, or THE MILITARY, it's wrong.

    Thank you for reading

  5. R u serious? This can't be serious. A man just lost his life and some past/present members of KKPsi are pissed off about being disrespect by a dj who was merely expressing an opinion. Grow up, people and get over yourselves. This is foolishness y'all are talking about. A man just died. Talk about inappropriate and disrespectful, this shouldn't even be a conversation. We've got our priorities so mixed up. Now run tell that!!! And who're u gonna boycott? Ughhh... I'm furious. By the way, Tom needs to man up and stand behind his comments. He didn't blame anybody for anything. Hell, the investigators are still trying to figure out what happened. Why do Tom's comments even matter?

  6. Tom may not have been trying to disrespect the fraternity, but he did so in a way that confused people in relating the band fraternity to hazing and on to the indication that Mr. Champion was hazed, resulting in his death. Had he used Omega Psi Phi, then he would be catching much more flack from his fellow brothers. I am one of his brothers. I did not go to FAMU, but I do respect other organizations. I have a few of my frats that are also part of the band fraternity. Without true facts, Tom Joyner should have never related to this fraternity in regarding hazing and also at the same time regarding hazing as a cause of death. The average person does not fully listen, and unless you listen to it time after time, you are going to think that it was the band fraternity hazing this guy. I am sure that all have condolences for Mr. Champion, but all also have pride in their fraternity as would I of Omega Psi Phi. I have seen brandings across so many fraternities. No one brands a pledge or anyone before they are actually in the fraternity. Once you are in, you are in (still with respect for the elder bruhs), and you have the choice of branding. There was nothing that said that Mr. Champion was pledging the fraternity or was branded. Tom Joyner was using branding as to say that that was hazing and that the band fraternity was not even a fraternity. He being one of my bruhs should know that branding is post pledging. So, I think that's where all of the confusion is coming from. He may not have meant for his statements to be recieved that way, but from posts on every type of social network out there, so many are disappointed and mad with him due to them thinking that they disrespected their fraternity.

  7. from what I have read, this was some type of band initiation for crossing over from the rear to the front of the bus to gain respect. Seems as though this is some tradition of the band that has been going on for a long time. There is no indication from the articles that the guy was pledging any fraternity. The articles constantly refer to band leaders (section leaders) who kep the hazing going, even after the director cautioned them against it. The real issue is what needs to be done about hazing. Whether it is the band, football team, fraternity, sorority, or club; hazing needs to be banned. If you got to go to college to haze, then you don't need to be there. You need to be in jail. There are laws in almost every state against hazing. Take them to jail and let them think about hazing from their cell block. So, that is the big issue. Who hazed this guy, especially with him being a drum major, who usually is a leader of the band.

  8. Once again the above anonymous post is so delusional...what TOm Joyner said was a lie, and he lied on a frat , saying that it is NOT a fraternity, I'm a Proud brother of Kappa Kappa Psi, and it is a frat. All frats have had to deal with some chapters that has hazed, especially Omega Psi Phi, (they have been kicked off our yard several times for hazing). It is very sad that this man has lost his life and I truly feel and pray for the family. The investigation says that it was Florida A&M band members, not KKPsi responsible for it, for he was trying to "cross the Bus C" to me that is so ignorant, so KKPSi is upset for TOM Joyner referencing KKPsi not being a real Frat and doing so while referencing it while talking about this young man's tragic passing.

    To the first anonymous post: you must do your research hazing have started in"White Colleges and have victimize pledges, even caused death for years, so get it right, its doesn't just happen in the black community.

  9. Actually, it's like you said earlier. Most Kappa Kappa Psi are upset because Joyner mentioned KKPsi in the same breath as the hazing incident. He should have research on the facts and the organization before making his ignorant, unfounded statements. Now that he knows that Kappa Kappa Psi crosses racial boundaries regarding its members, and that he has pissed off more than a "few" in a local "band organization", he apologizes. Throwing $1000 on the fire won't heal it. Now he's whining about sponsors who have been asked to cancel their sponsorship like Starbucks and Allstate (he said this on his Wednesday morning show), and that KKPsi has "Gone to far" by writing to these people (among many other sponsors of his). He even tried extortion by saying that if his sponsors leave, he won't be able to help the HBCUs. If his mind is as bad as I think it is, he needs to step down.

  10. They have gone too far. Tom only said what many of his listener's were thinking. Most HBCUs can't even rub two nickels together, so any idiot who wants to boycott his show and appeal to the sponsors go right ahead. Hopefully you'll be accepted at one of the top-tiered schools with your 17 ACT scores. Idiots.

  11. Maybe he shouldn't have refrenced the name of the Fraternity at all, especially since they had absolutely no connection to this incident. I think this is where the outrage comes from. This is a high profile incident and noone wants to be implicated if they had nothing to do with it.

  12. First, I would like to give my condolences to the Champion Family for their loss. I am also keeping the Marching 100 and the chapters of Kappa Kappa Psi(KKY) and Tau Beta Sigma (TBS) in my prayers.

    I am a very proud member of Tau Beta Sigma the sister sorority to Kappa Kappa Psi. I have included the link for those of you to review who we are.

    From many of your comments including the author of this blog you still don't get it. I want to respect everyone's opinion but it's really hard for me to do. Many of you have no affiliation with the organization or a marching band and in my opinion have no right to make a statement that we should get over it. For those of you that don't get it I am going to explain it to you why we are upset and want to boycott the show. Yes I was one of those who wrote to Tom Joyner (TJ)and express my thoughts.

    Here are the reasons why we are upset and want to boycott the show

    1. Mentioned KKY name in the same breathe as hazing which cause someone to die. TJ has millions and millions of listeners and things that he says people take to heart. He did not say that Robert Champion was going through the intake process for KKY, but TJ made KKY guilty by association. TJ brought unnecessary negative attention to the fraternity for no reason. For millions this was their first introduction of KKY fraternity which would leave a negative impression for a a lot of them. Due to the fact TJ mentioned KKY with the hazing incident can cause the fraternity money and new members. No other media outlet mentioned KKY name. NONE

    2. TJ stated that KKY was not real fraternity. That comment hurts. TJ made it seem like we are just a group of people that got together and made up some letters. This is not the case. We are as real as any of the "Divine Nine" . TJ's comment diminish us and made us appear not to have any relevance to HBCU bands or the community. We provide scholarships to band members, high school students, and other college students. We also sponsor families,hold clothing drives, read to kids, mentor to teenagers, and the list goes on. We also cater to the needs of the band to make sure that the band has everything needed to sound great. I have worked very hard and to say we are not real hurts.KKY has been around since 1919 and TBS since 1946, so we are very very real.Lionel Richie, Earth, Wind and Fire,Lenny Williams,Bill Clinton are all members of KKY and according to TJ not a real organization. TJ need to do research before he makes comments.

    3. TJ made KKY appear to participate in hazing. KKY and TBS are both non hazing organization and do not promote hazing. KKY/TBS has a written non hazing policy and many of our local chapters teach workshops on the importance of not hazing.

    We are all sadden by the lost of Robert and believe the focus should be on punishing the ones who had a part in his death.Please do not bring KKY or mentioned KKY in the same breathe as this horrible incident

    Hopefully now some of you can get it.

  13. I'm sorry; I didn't know that TJ had already received his SAINT card!!!! Just because you do Saintly work, it doesn't mean that you're above being mistaken or PLAIN OUT WRONG! I have felt for a long time that TJ is one of the biggest HYPOCRITES in morning radio, and this further proves it. CASE-IN-POINT, years ago he said that he didn't respect Shaquille O'Neal because Shaq went INTAKE for Omega!!!!!!! So TOM, WHAT ELSE WAS SHAQ SUPPOSED TO GO THROUGH TO EARN YOUR RESPECT?????? And although he may have apologized, every time he continues to talk about this incident, he also continues to mention Kappa Kappa Psi (and now he's even mentioning Tau Beta Sigma as well; I just heard him say it this morning). I've always respected the work he's done for HBCU's, but as a FORMER HBCU STUDENT THAT WAS A DRUM MAJOR AND IS A MEMBER OF KAPPA KAPPA PSI, I FIND HIS ACTIONS DEPLORABLE! WRNOG IS WRONG, NO MATTER HOW MUCH GOOD YOU DO!!!! WHERE'S THE PETITION!

  14. I am a member of Tau Beta Sigma National Honorary Band Sorority, Inc. The sister organization to Kappa Kappa Psi National Honorary Band Fraternity, Inc. I send my deepest apologizes to the family of Robert Champion. The comment that Tom Joyner made did upset many people, not only because it was disrespect, but it was false information.
    1. As a member of a greek letter organization himself he should have known that getting a brand is option. and hazing is considered as:
    a. Hazing is defined as any actions taken or situation created intentionally or unintentionally to produce mental or physical discomfort on or off campus involving members and/or prospective members, which may cause embarrassment, harassment, or ridicule.
    I know many members of Omega Psi Phi on campus who choose to get branded. Tell me what’s the difference between someone wanted to get a brand for an organization, or wanted to get a tattoo. IT’S A PERSONAL PREFRENCE.

    2. To bring up the Fraternity when clearly it is the FAMU Marching band that is under investigation is just rude and disrespectful.
    a. I am a current marching band member at another university, and our director from day one stated “ That hazing has no place in our program, it is illegal, and will not be tolerated” we believe that you shouldn’t have to suffer for something that should be an enjoyable college experience. Marching is an addition to the pressures already placed on us by the school. It should be last place you feel threatened.
    3. To say a KKPsi is not Greek just because it is not considered divine nine is just ignorance. There were plenty of Greek letter organization way before Alphas were founded. The statement alone disrespects not only KKPsi but other non Pan Fraternities and Sororities. It also disrespects his own brothers of omega psi phi who are Kappa Kappa Psi.

    No he did not directly say Kappa Kappa Psi was involved, putting hazing and the Faternity in the same situation was just ignorance at its best.

  15. In the past two decades, Tom Joyners's fraternity, Omega Psi Phi has been hampered by multiple chapter suspensions, lawsuits and settlements. A high-profile case in 1997 awarded $375,000 to former University of Maryland student Joe Snell after he testified that Omega Psi Phi members had put a heater in front of his face in order to darken his skin because he wasn't "black enough."

    1983 - 20-year-old Vann L. Watts died trying to pledge Omega Psi Phi at Tennessee State University.

    1991 - 10 student members of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity at Clark Atlanta are arrested on charges of hazing after beating James Albert Bush, 20, with their hands, fists, rubber tires and a wooden paddle, also resulting in severe kidney damage, as well as bruises to his calves and arms.

    1993 - University of Maryland College Park (UMCP) Chi Delta chapter of the black fraternity Omega Psi Phi beat pledge Joe Snell because he was light-skinned and needed more color.

    1997 - Indiana jury found the national organization of Omega Psi Phi, the fraternity's chapter at Indiana University and several individuals who were members of the fraternity liable for $774,500 in damages in the February 1994 beating of former Indiana University student Kevin Nash, who was hospitalized for injuries he received while he was being pledged. Nash, who suffered from injuries to his kidneys, face, neck and chest, was allegedly paddled and hit with an open fist, according to Nash's attorney.

    2001 - 15 million dollar lawsuit filed in death of Tennessee State University student Joseph Green. His death had been the result of an underground pledging process by the university's Omega Psi Phi chapter.

    2010 - University of Houston student's father files civil suit alleging that his son was hazed by Omega Psi Phi.

    2011 - Student Shot Dead At Omega Psi Phi Party In Ohio

    These are just a few of the incidents that I have researched, know of, and remember. As an Alumni of a HBCU, Omega Psi Phi has always been one of the worst fraternities to allow brutal hazing.

  16. It seems that so many of you are focused on the names you use to identify yourselves instead of this life lost. When you grow up graduate and enter the real world, you will see that your "groups" will have little to no value in your every day lives.However, Mr. Champion's family will forever remember this time and their grief- From one adult to the young adults in transition- most of you will look back and think you were foolish for letting letters influence how you think and justify life and death-

  17. I state the following as a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha. Sororities and fraternities shouldn't haze. At the same time, it's just difficult for me to accept that a 26 year would tolerate vicious hazing. I can recall a graduate advisor telling us that if you are subjected to hazing and you don't report it, that's on you. School officials and sorority leadership can only act on the information supplied to them. Also quitting is an option. You don't have to be in band or join a sorority or fraternity. You don't have to be hazed.

  18. To the previous anonymous poster: As a proud member of Tau Beta Sigma I would first like to say first like to say my heart goes out to the Champion Family. But as a member a TBS i would like to say that your membership doesnt end after college is over with. i know PLENTY of elder members who still donates back to their beloved band program and some to others band programs. Someone posted on the other page saying that since we are bashing the man thats donated $1000 to the champion family what have we done. Both KKY and TBS are what keeps the band going. We donate not only band hours but also after hours to servicing bands.We host several fund raisers thru out the year to keep the band account with funds to service our programs. As far as what we are doing for the Champion family I cant speak for other chapter because i do not know but my chapter SHALL be donating to the Champion family because they should not be buring their child over foolishness. Sure TJ might be a big supporter for HBCU's but honestly before today i never knew he was nor do i know anyone who has had scholarship from him. Thats like somebody killing your mother and then giving you a million dollars and you all suppose to be friends the next day.... IN WHAT WORLD?!?!? Now as far as his sponsors being contacted i do think that was a little extreme. But why would a sponsor pull out just cause you hurt some (as he calls us) "Organizations" feelings? He should have stuck to talking about Mr. Champion and to what he KNEW and not assumed. I feel for the marching 100 who were not involved, to Dr. White, and my brothers and sisters at FAMU.

  19. Tom Joyner is a hypocrite. He is a member of Omega Psi Phi, a fraternity that goes through a ritual process to get branded. guaranteed he has at least six brands. Its not hazing because its a voluntary thing just like getting a tattoo. My respect is lost for Tom now.

  20. Some of yall just don't get it. Hazing is wrong!!! I don't care what organization was mentioned. It could be the Ditch Diggers fraternity. It doesn't matter!!! All this foolishness must stop!!!

  21. They have gone too far. Tom only said what many of his listener's were thinking. Most HBCUs can't even rub two nickels together, so any idiot who wants to boycott his show and appeal to the sponsors go right ahead. Hopefully you'll be accepted at one of the top-tiered schools with your 17 ACT scores. Idiots.