Put Your Peace Sign Up!- ROPP Goes to See Lecrae

Continuing with the April theme of Hip Hop history, ROPP Candidates went to the Lecrae/ Skillet/ Toby Mac tour at the Austin 360 Amphitheater on May 1st. It wasn't quite the same without ROPP Candidate Tiffany, but ROPP Candidate Zuri brought a classmate and at least there was the traditional four-pack! After all sorts of stops and starts, we proved that together we can beat all odds! We made it to the 360 before Tedashii, Lecrae's opening act even started!

We didn't know what to expect from our seats on the lawn, but with perfect weather, a clear view of the stage and plenty of room to stretch out...they were perfect!

From broad daylight...

Through dusk...        (Check out Leander Rocking out to Christian rock band, Skillet!)

And on into the night, we ROPP'd and Rolled...with Tedashii, Lecrae and Skillet!

 Thanks to Sterlin being hooked on Maui Wowi smoothies, we had to kill time at the exit gate because drinks couldn't leave the area. So, we just took more pictures!

ROPPing and Hip Hopping

Hip Hop music has been the language of young America for decades now. Bro. Terrence Stith led April's ROPP Core Focus workshop and shared the evolution of the "spoken word" from the drumming griots across the African Continent to the call and response spirituals throughout the diaspora and into today's popular music here in the US.

Indigenous African
Bid dap bop bop bip bip (Drumming griot at one village- Sending)
Bid dap bop bop bip bip (Drumming griot at another village- Receiving)

Black American religious tradition
Preacher: "Can I get an Amen?"
Congregation: "Amen!"

Secular Hip Hop
Rapper: "When I say 'Hip", you say 'Hop', "Hip..."
Audience: "Hop!"
Rapper: "Hip!"
Audience: "Hop!"

Candidates were given an extensive list of hip-hop related vocabulary words to define...and a perfect notebook in which to write the definitions! They should have noted the 5 elements of Hip Hop:
  • Emceeing
  • Breakdancing
  • DJ'ing
  • Graffiti Art
  • Knowledge and Understanding

Bro. Terrence brought a complete DJ set up so ROPP candidates could get a taste of what mixing music is like with today's technology.

Life and Death Flashed Before Our Eyes!

Another core focus in February was the life and death cycle.
ROPP Candidates participated in the Seton Hospital Mock surgery tour, where they got to learn about many of the medical services offered at the hospital and practice basic procedures, like tying a tourniquet and giving stitches. Candidates were also reminded of the risk too much sugar and fat in our diet with a hands-on experiment in which they had to guess how much was in common foods and beverages.

After learning about the many ways to preserve and protect life, ROPP Candidates visited King-Tears mortuary, one of Austin's premier funeral homes for over 100 years. They were shown around the "front of the house" and learned how human bodies are prepared for burial. They even learned that morticians have signature "stitiching" in which they take great pride. Many details about the process families go through and the memorial choices they have were shared. ROPP candidates witnessed both the empty "viewing" rooms and a room with an elderly deceased lady awaiting visitors.

We Are Black History

Our February Core Focus was Black History Month. In celebration of our history in America, ROPP candidates each memorized excerpts from speeches from important black Americans and presented the dramatizations during morning worship service.

ROPP Candidate Zuri portrayed Jarena Lee- the first female to be ordained to preach by Bishop Richard Allen.
ROPP Candidate Leander Thompson portrayed Bishop Daniel Alexander Payne, one of the Four Horsemen of the AME church and scholar.
ROPP Candidate Tiffany Henderson portrayed Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm, the first black U.S. congresswoman and first major-party black candidate for the president of the United States.
ROPP Candidate Sterlin Rivers portrayed Attorney General Eric Holder, the first Black (and currently serving) US Attorney General.

After worship service, ROPP hosted its annual "We Are Black History" Exhibit and Soul Food Dinner. ROPP Candidates Tiffany and Zuri also presented artifacts from their family's collection. Zuri displayed a quilt made by her late paternal great-grandmother, Phyllis Smith. She shared that until her death, a quilt was made for every grandchild and great grandchild.
Tiffany shared her father, Gerald Henderson's Pearce Middle School yearbook and described how interesting it was to see her father in his youth.
Elder Metropolitan members shared photos and memorabilia that spanned many decades.

The whole day was a true group effort! Bro. Dr. Eric, our parents and leadership team worked hard to get the Soul Food dinner prepared and served. Everything was delicious: Fried chicken, broccoli and rice casserole green beans, macaroni and cheese, sweet potatoes, rolls and red kool-aid! You would never know by looking at them the many obstacles thrown in their way as they worked in the kitchen. To God be the glory for positive attitudes and a spirit of unity!!

Sex on the Brain--It's Natural!

For January's Core Focus event, ROPP Candidates gathered at Bro. Dr. Eric's house for an informative discussion about sexual health. He was joined by several members of his fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha, including the chapter president and a few new faces. Bro. Dr. Eric shared a lot of statistics about the impact of sex education on young adult behavior and sexually transmitted infections.

After a presentation on the legal rights and responsibilities of every parent, ROPP candidates were free to ask any question they had and an open and honest discussion took place! A wide range of  subjects were covered, including:
  • How to make sure your partner is consenting to your advances
  • The role of pain in intercourse
  • Risk of infection in hetero- and homosexual acts
  • How to ask for advice
  • How to manage sexual distractions