Alcorn community watches the film “He Ain’t Heavy”

Alcorn community watches the film “He Ain’t Heavy”  

On February 5, Alcorn State University hosted an exclusive screening of the film “He Ain’t Heavy” that revealed the reality of hazing and a fraternity pledge process that got out of control. Students, faculty and staff packed the James L. Bolden Campus Union Ballroom for the red carpet affair featuring filmmaker Jeff Obafemi Carr.

The movie is based on true events. It takes place in 2011, when five college students began the pledge process for a prestigious African-American fraternity. A graduate film student and a fraternity member captured their journey on everyday equipment. Weeks into the process, an early morning 911 call led police to a high school football field, where they discovered the body of one of the pledges. Months later, over 30 hours of striking footage has been compiled into a groundbreaking film that blurs the line between fact and fiction. “He Ain’t Heavy” is the first film to capture what it actually feels like to pledge. There are no special effects in this gritty, largely unscripted film. All the sweat, dirt, contact, tears, and physical challenges you see are real.

After the screening, filmmaker Carr and Alcorn President M. Christopher Brown II held an in-depth discussion during which they answered numerous questions from students, faculty, staff and others in attendance.

Richard Jay “R. J.” Aglugub, a sophomore psychology major, shared, “I am from Hawaii and was not familiar with HBCU Greek traditions. For me, this movie was the first close look at the fraternity pledging process and, especially, at the issues that people don’t really talk about.”

Lee Johnson, a sophomore political science major, who served as a master of ceremony for the event, stated, “I thought it was a phenomenal movie that challenged an inadequate social norm that had been constructed, while informing students about the harsh reality of hazing.”

Jerry Jordan Jr., a junior music performance major, added, “The problems brought to light by this movie should be widely discussed and addressed. Watching this movie and the discussion afterwards were the first steps towards solving the problem.”

Miss Alcorn 2012-13 Airnecia Mills was very impressed with the movie. “It raises awareness about hazing and gives an inspiration to all students, whether Greek or non-Greek, to work hard to prevent it.”