University of Alabama Omegas welcome five new members
Doors opened around 7 p.m. Friday, and the audience trickled slowly into the Central High School auditorium to experience Omega Psi Phi’s probate, or coming out show, for its five new members, The Unconquerable Souls of Havoc.
A probate show, according to chapter president Xavier Burgin, is an open presentation of new members of the National Pan-Hellenic fraternities and sororities. During a probate, men and women who have become new, official members of their respective fraternity or sorority perform an on-stage step show for the crowd before being unmasked and presented to the attendees as the new members of their respective chapter and fraternity.
As the auditorium filled with students, family members and fellow Greeks, a DJ in the corner played rap songs that provided a backdrop for the growing anticipation to see the five new members of Omega Psi Phi. Some people held clusters of purple and gold balloons, the colors of OPP.
Soon, the strolling began. Members of the Alpha Kappa Alpha, Delta Sigma Theta sororities performed synchronized dances in a perfectly straight line up and down the aisles. The “que dogs,” as Omega Psi Phi’s are also known, also did a stroll through the aisle called a party hop, wearing purple, gold and camouflage.
The lights dimmed and all heads turned to the back entrance of the auditorium. Five men holding fast to each other in a chain entered in sync, each wearing camo shorts, a yellow shirt and masked by a black cloth hood. They chanted as their older fraternity brothers guided them down the aisle. The men then broke apart but still moved their feet in step as they recited the Greek Alphabet and Omega Psi Phi’s founding members.
The five men made it to the stage, the lights brightened and the crowd grew louder in its eagerness to see each new dog revealed. One of the older brothers introduced each neophyte by saying their hometown and high school, and finally, with a dramatic removal of the black mask, their name.
Willie White, Terry Rice, David Daniels, Justin Streeter and Ronnie McCoy were initiated into OPP prior to the step show. The step show serves as a way to generate buzz within the community for each new member, Burgin said.
“The probate show is for us to introduce them to the campus,” he said. “In one big fell swoop we show everybody who they are without it gradually happening.”
Although the neos all had shaved heads and wore purple, gold and camouflage, once the masks were removed their personalities came out. Along with more synchronized steps, each neo did a peel off, which is a semi-rap that can be either comedic or serious, but always serves to give insight into who the neo is. Each new member also is granted two new names. Their line name is determined by what order they were in the line based on height, such as ace, the shortest, and tale, for the last in the line. Their nicknames have specific meaning to them, and it symbolizes their personality.
Because Omega Psi Phi believes that once a person becomes a dog he is defined by that for the rest of his life, it is selective in who it chooses to become a member, which is one way to explain how out of 25 men at the interest meeting, only five made it in at the end.
“To become a part of any fraternity or sorority is a very trying, tumultuous, endearing event that is by no means easy, but it’s still something that brings you closer to that person and to get through it is a testament to your will,” Burgin said. “You can’t be a hot head. You need to be tough in the sense that you’re not ready to fight somebody else but you’re able to endure. That is the testament of what it means in our fraternity to be a man.”