Phillip Hudson Phillip Hudson

The Mean Girls of Morehouse

 

WITHIN THE OPENLY GAY COMMUNITY AT ATLANTA’S MOREHOUSE COLLEGE, THERE’S A SUBGROUP: GENDER BENDERS WHO ROCK MAKEUP, MARC JACOBS TOTE BAGS, SKY-HIGH HEELS AND BEYONCÉ- STYLE HAIR WEAVES. CAN A MAN OF MOREHOUSE BE GAY? ABSOLUTELY. BUT CAN HE BE A WOMAN? MEET THE PLASTICS.

Diamond Martin Poulin, 20, teetering in strappy sandals with three-inch heels, steps into an eclectic clothing boutique in Little Five Points, a quaint cluster of shops and restaurants two and a half miles outside of downtown Atlanta. “Ooooh,” squeals Diamond. “What about this?” Holding up a white floor-skimming skirt with an eyelet hem, he swoons. The proprietor of the store looks up at Diamond, does a double take, and immediately picks up the cordless phone at the register. “There’s a man in here with heels on!” she whispers loudly into the phone. Diamond raises his eyebrows and continues browsing the racks. He shrugs when asked if the comment bothers him. “Isn’t it true?” he says, chuckling. “There is a man in here with heels on.”

Nibbling on sushi later that day, Diamond explains why he left after one year at Morehouse. A bastion for producing leaders in politics, community service and medicine, Morehouse College has long been viewed as the ultimate HBCU for young Black men, who are conferred with the mystique of being “Men of Morehouse.” Established in 1867 in Augusta, Georgia, as the Augusta Institute, the school counts such luminaries as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; Atlanta’s first Black mayor, Maynard H. Jackson, Jr.; financier Reginald E. Davis; School Daze writer/director Spike Lee; the late Keith “Guru” Elam of Gang Starr; and the late Def Jam exec Shakir Stewart among its graduates.

"Diamond"That pedigree is what brought Diamond (pictured left) to Morehouse, but he says the school’s social conservatism drove him out. In October of last year, the Morehouse College administration announced a new “appropriate attire policy.” The dress code stated that students, referred to as “Renaissance Men,” were not allowed to wear caps, do-rags, sunglasses or sagging pants on the Morehouse campus or at college-sponsored events. But what raised most eyebrows was the rule about women’s clothing: no wearing of dresses, tops, tunics, purses or pumps.

The new dress code resulted in a flurry of media coverage, prompting Dr. William Bynum, Jr., vice president for Student Services, to release a statement to several news outlets: “We are talking about five students who are living a gay lifestyle that is leading them to dress a way we do not expect in Morehouse men.” During a recent visit to the campus, the poet Saul Williams wore a skirt in solidarity.

“Morehouse wasn’t ready for me,” says Diamond, who has the word “unbreakable” tattooed on his collarbone and the acronym C.R.E.A.M (“Cash Rules Everything Around Me” coined by rap group Wu Tang Clan) wrapped around his right wrist. “I’m about freedom of expression. I’m about being whomever you truly are inside. I came to Morehouse because of all the historical leaders that attended and impacted the world so heavily. You know, I really wanted to follow in their footsteps. I don’t think Morehouse believes that someone like me—someone who wears heels and dresses—can uphold that reputation. But they’re wrong.”

“We respect the identity and choices of all young men at Morehouse,” Dr. Bynum said via email. “However, the Morehouse leadership development model sets a certain standard of how we expect young men to dress, and this attire does not fit within the model. Our proper attire policy expresses that standard.”

Diamond now attends American InterContinental University, majoring in fashion marketing and design. “I want to, like, teach at Parsons. Or you know, maybe even in London—who knows?”

Although it has never been officially confirmed, it’s not too far off the mark to believe that those “five students” at whom the appropriate attire policy was directed included Diamond and his crew, the Plastics. The group is loosely made up of seven or eight former and current Morehouse students, some of whom share a modest townhouse in Atlanta. Their name is a nod to the A-list crowd depicted in the 2004 movie Mean Girls.

READ THE USHER COVER STORY HERE!

The Plastics all assume that the recent appropriate attire policy was aimed directly at their personal freedom of expression, which sometimes includes foundation, cross-dressing, and even taking female hormones.

“I’ve always been into clothes, shoes, hair and everything,” says Diamond, who was born and raised in Providence, R.I. He says there’s a good chance he’ll transition into a woman at some point. “My mother says I always played dress-up in her clothes, my grandmother’s clothes. I’d even get my brother to do it sometimes. That’s just always been me—pushing the envelope of what I’m supposed to be as a man.”

So does Diamond really consider herself a man? At the question, he groans. “Yes, I refer to myself as a man, you know, to relieve any confusion. Sometimes people don’t understand the whole androgyny thing. There’s always the question: Well, what are you? Yes, I’m a man. I like women’s clothes. And yeah, I’m gay. But I don’t want that to define me. How come people can’t just see me as a person?”

But some of the other men of Morehouse definitely don’t see Diamond that way. Early in his first—and last—year, Diamond had a run-in that signaled the beginning of the end of his time at the esteemed institution.

 

 

Social Circle: Your Responses to "THE MEAN GIRLS OF MOREHOUSE" 

Blogger's Circle: The Plastics V. Morehouse

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The death of Jarad Anthony Higgins, also known as Juice WRLD, has left the hip hop world and beyond in mourning. The artist reportedly suffered a seizure Sunday at an airport in Chicago. Since his passing, many fans and collaborators have shared their condolences.

Juice's last Instagram post celebrating his 21st birthday includes friends and fans sending their love. "You were just giving me tips on how to battle my anxiety," said Lil Tecca, who worked with the rapper for his "Ransom (Remix)." DaBaby also shared, "Fly high my boy." Others like Lil Yachty were at a loss for words. "Bye brother, love u dawg," he captioned a photo of the two on Instagram.

In addition to endless IG posts, fans shared their favorite songs by the rapper and some of his stellar freestyles. One of his most popular freestyles was his second Funk Flex freestyle in September.

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Terrible news about the young man Juice Wrld. We share December 2nd as our arrival day. Gone way too soon. Life is precious.

— *LAMB OVER RICE* (@ActionBronson) December 8, 2019

Juice Wrld all day. R.I.P

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Heart broken @JuiceWorlddd I love you bro 💔💔 pic.twitter.com/B2lp93dR6G

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really shocked and sad to find out juice wrld passed away, ... and so young too... a reminder that life can be over any moment... be kind to one another.

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pic.twitter.com/6LrXguYQL5

— Sir Ski Mask (@THESLUMPGOD) December 8, 2019

Man, so sad. I pray you meet the lord above. RIP Young King. 🙏 @JuiceWorlddd pic.twitter.com/4u4HWiFggU

— FAT JOE (@fatjoe) December 8, 2019

 

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😢😔 bye brother, love u dawg.. rip

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Rest Up Legend 😔💔 #RIPJuiceWrld

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🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽 Long Live Juice. cover his family right now and give them strength. @nolimit_gmoney @lilbibby_ @nolimitherbo

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this sad as fuck

rest in love juice wrld 🏆

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Wow this makes me more upset, RIP Juice WRLD not only are we losing a legend we are missing out on what could have been a smash hit between two legends, Davido and Juice Wrld☹️ pic.twitter.com/mnL9ldY9O6

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Rest In Peace Juice Wrld... so sad

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Gone way too soon. Prayers to him and his family 🙏🏽 #RIPJuiceWrld pic.twitter.com/NRX1TSQUlZ

— Trending Raps (@TrendingRaps) December 8, 2019

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Juice WRLD Dead At 21

Chicago artist Juice WRLD has died at the age of 21 following a seizure. The rapper, known globally for his emo-rap style, collapsed at Chicago's Midway Airport after suffering from what was initially reported as a “medical issue,” by the Chicago Fire Department and the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

TMZ reported Sunday (Dec. 8) Juice, born Jarad Anthony Higgins, was alive when paramedics arrived on the scene. Paramedics found Higgins bleeding from the mouth and rushed him to the hospital. Higgins regained consciousness but was pronounced dead by the time he reached a local hospital. “This is being classified currently as a death investigation," Natalia Derevyanny, Director of Communications for the Cook County medical examiner's office, told Billboard. "There are no initial signs of foul play and we are awaiting results from the medical examiner on the cause and manner of death.” An investigation is currently underway.

Higgins was born on December 2 and raised in Chicago. After the release of his first single "All Girls Are The Same," in 2018, he signed a record deal with Lil Bibby's Grade A Productions and Interscope Records. Juice WRLD became known the most for his emo-rap style and rose to the top of the charts that same year with the single, "Lucid Dreams." The track went five times platinum and earned a No. 2 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

His debut album Goodbye and Good Riddance reached No. 4 on the Billboard 200 chart and went on to sell over a million copies. His success led to adored collaborations with Travis Scott and a collaborative mixtape with Future titled, WRLD on Drugs. He also earned a Best New Artist award at the 2019 Billboard Music Awards in May. His second album Death Race for Love was also a hit with fans, reaching No. 1 on the charts and sprouting the singles, "Robbery" and "Hear Me Calling."

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“I want to be that person that leads people out of the place they’re at,” he said. “And in the process, maybe I’ll find the key to get out of the place that I’m at. The low places I may wander into or get trapped in.”

In July, he shared with fans his road to sobriety while apologizing to his longtime girlfriend Ally Lotti. “Ima leave that s**t alone 4 good watch me, I’m done wit it,” he tweeted. “I got work to do, a lot. Learn from this everyone. Addiction kills all but you can overcome."

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This life is yours do what tf you want do great things and change the world don’t let no one tell you SHIT.. and you’ll be bigger than “juice wrld” will ever be, and he’s going down as a legend - Jarad

— . (@JuiceWorlddd) December 1, 2019

He had plans to wrap up his third album. His friend and engineer Max Lord shared the status of the project with XXL. “We’re focusing a lot more on [Juice Wrld’s] evolution in terms of where like the first album was more dealing with the bad relationship and with heartbreak and with the torment that brought,” he said.

Juice WRLD made a splash with other artists this year like Lil Tecca's "Ransom (Remix)," Ski Mask The Slump God's "Nuketown" and the remake of Vitamin C's 1999 classic pop tune, "Graduation (Friends Forever)" with benny blanco.

He is survived by his mother and older brother.

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Obie Trice Arrested For Felony Assault After Shooting Incident

Detroit rapper and D-12 associate Obi Trice was jailed after a domestic incident that ended with his girlfriend’s 18-year-old son getting shot. According to court records, Trice was booked into Oakland County Jail early Friday (Dec. 6) morning for aggressive felony assault against a family member and contempt of court for violating a protection order.

Neighbors called police after hearing commotion coming from Trice’s home, TMZ reports. Trice, who had allegedly been drinking all day, got into a physical altercation with his girlfriend when her son stepped in to take her out of the home. Before they could leave, Trice went to get his firearm. The gun went off during a struggle between the son and Trice, hitting the young man in the groin. He was able to drive himself to the hospital and is reportedly in stable condition.

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