By Michael Harriot
105 years ago today, on November 17th, three men and their graduate advisor gathered in a room in Thirkield Hall on the campus of Howard University. That night was the beginning of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, the most widely know of the “Divine Nine Black fraternities and sororities. I could go on an enlightening rant about the fraternity’s commitment to community service and social action. I could talk about the famous members from Michael Jordan to Jesse Jackson. But you don’t visit this site to ingest any of that.
If you are Black, and a Negus who reads, you probably know a Que Dawg. It may have been your high school football coach, your church pastor or your uncle. If you know anything about the black college experience, fraternities and sororities, or Black culture in general, you most likely know at least a little about the Que Dawgs. Many of you already know if one of your close friends is a member of Omega Psi Phi.
But what if you are white (yes, White people visit this site too. I know because they email me all the time–either thanking me for being open and honest, or shedding so many white tears about how unfair and racist I am that even the email gets soggy), or didn’t go to college, or was raised by a Black Trump supporter? In those rare cases, NegusWhoRead is here to help you determine if your friend, coworker or the love of your life is a Que Dawg.
- If he punctuates his sentences with “roo,” He might be a Que Dawg. (“Roo,” in the Que language is similar to “Aloha” in Hawaiian. It means all things.)
-It is a greeting that signifies both “hello” and “goodbye.”
-It means “yes” example Q: “Would you like a drink, Jamaal?” A: “Roo.”
-It is an exclamation example “By the way, Bobby, the wedding will have an open bar.”
- If an entire section of his closet is devoted to purple and gold t-shirts, he might be a Que Dawg.
- If he is over 50, with bad knees and a pinched nerve in his back, but you spot him at homecoming “setting out a hop” like he’s nineteen years old, he might be a Que Dawg.
- If you are dealing with a very difficult situation like the death of a family member, losing your job or watching a racist orange despot assume control of your country, and his advice to you is to “See it through…” he might be a Que Dawg
- If he is a quiet introvert who doesn’t talk much and would never cast a spotlight on himself, but is sometimes possessed by a demon that makes him bark like a dog when the DJ says “Where the Ques at…”
- If his idea of a gourmet meal is chicken and beer, he might be a Que Dawg
- You still don’t know all the iterations of “Setting some shit owt.” You know its good if he’s going to a “set owt,” but nasty if he’s going to see a “set out,” but if he “takes you to a set” it’s good, unless he has to “take a set,” then it’s bad, but if he’s “setting it owt” it’s fun, and if the set was “owt” that is a compliment, but sometimes he gets a little too “owt,” but then again it’s bad if a set was “not owt,” yet he is constantly telling the bruhs to “be owt…”
- If you asked him what would hurt more: A Trump presidency or his son pledging Kappa, and he is still thinking about it
- If you knew him since you two were freshmen in college and he suddenly disappeared, except for when you saw him in class with a shaved head and he was sitting on a pillow
- If you know what Old Mother Hubbard went to the cupboard to get
- If he has ever worn a tailored suit with a silk pocket handkerchief, a $100 tie and topped it off with a pair of ragged gold boots, he might be a Que Dawg
- No matter where he hears it–in a professional situation, around White people, riding in an elevator, driving in a funeral procession for his dearly beloved aunt–if he goes absolutely crazy when “Atomic Dog” comes on–he might be a Que Dawg. (By the way, no man should ever put his hands on a woman in any manner, but if your Que Dawg friend abruptly shoves you out of the way as soon as he hears George Clinton say “This is a story about a dog…,” he loves you and is protecting you from imminent danger. It’s the equivalent of him tossing you over his shoulder in a grease fire or dragging you to safety during a zombie attack.)
- If your fiance lets you plan the wedding, pick the cake, choose the flowers and the location, but only insists that his cummerbund must be purple, he might be a Que Dawg.
- If he holds the word of God only slightly higher than the word of his DP
- If you’ve known him for three years and you’ve never seen him with a shirt on.
- If he has two superpowers–He can spot other Ques from afar even when they aren’t wearing any paraphernalia, and he has the ability to drink extraordinary amounts of liquor
- If his answer to why he’s fixing a drink or nswering the door for another able-bodied man who’s only a couple of years older than him, and he answers “because he’s my prophyte…”
- If he won’t fry bacon because he is afraid the grease might pop on him, hates getting shots from a doctor but allowed someone to burn his arm with a red hot brand, he might be a Que Dawg.
- If he has never served in a branch of the armed forces, but owns more camouflage and fatigues than a member of Seal Team 6, he might be a Que Dawg.
- If he can turn anything negative into a positive simply by using the word “owt” (example–Q: How was the football game: A: Oh, my team lost, someone broke into my car and stole my wallet and I think I twisted my ankle. But there were a bunch of bruhs there and lots of beer and chicken, so it was owt!”) he might be a Que Dawg
- If he downplays every hardship he faces by sucking his teeth and saying “I pledged…”
- If he’s ever left his boots on during sex…
- If he’s on the list of people you don’t want to fight and the Dean’s list
- If his kids call his line brothers “uncle___”
- If his tongue is hanging out in 82% of his pictures
- If you knew what a “neo” was before you saw The Matrix
- If he doesn’t refer to colleges by the name of the university, and instead calls them by the greek letters of the Chapter name (“Turn the TV to ESPN so we can watch Sigma Delta vs Beta Eta in the Iron Bowl!”
- If you bought him an expensive item of clothing, but it is red, so you’ve never seen him wear it
- If he can’t cook worth a damn but on a charcoal grill he is a Master Chef who could make Gordon Ramsey look like a bumbling idiot
- If his car has an Omega front license plate…
- and back license plate
- and window decal
- and trunk logo, he might be a Que Dawg
- If his son does something wrong, looks at his dad, then automatically gets on the ground and starts doing push-ups
- If the only Bible verse he knows is the 133rd Psalm and the only poem he knows is Invictus
- If he uses the most misogynistic, inappropriately foul language, but no one cares because it’s in a party chant
- If you thought he was a professional athlete because he always talks to someone on the phone he calls”team…”
- If he settles all disputes with “going to the grass”
- If he has two categories of friends–guys who he grew up with and love with all his heart, and “da bruhs.” (By the way, all fraternities have frat brothers. Many of the Black ones call themselves “bruhs.” Only Ques are “da bruhs.” And the defining article is always there and it is always plural. For instance, one Alpha might refer to another Alpha as “a bruh.” But to another Que, even when I am by myself, another Que will say, “I know Michael Harriot. He is da bruhs.“
- If everyone thinks he’s wild, uncivilized, always loud and walks around at every Que party double-fisted holding two beers–and then you see him at graduation and he’s Summa Cum Laude and he gives the most eloquent graduation speech.
- If it seems like he’s sometimes speaking another language (Example: “Hey, you coming to the groove? We gon’ Triple-S. O. and let you put a straw in our back!” Translation: Would you like to attend our event? There will be so much food and drink that it will be impossible for you to suck it all up.)
- If you’ve heard him let people call him “motherfucker,” “crazy” and even “nigga,” but he wanted to fight because someone referred to him as “Cat.”
- If he’s ever bought an brand new frat shirt and cut off the sleeves
- If you’ve ever gone somewhere with him and saw him laughing, talking and joking with and you didn’t mind because they obviously were longtime friends who hadn’t seen each other in years, and when you remarked that it was a coincidence that he ran into a lifelong buddy, he said “Nah. I just met him. But he’s da bruhs.”
- Finally, if you are in the office tomorrow, November 18th and your coworker looks exhausted, his voice is gone and he smells a little bit like Crown Royal and grill smoke.. Give him a break, because now you know…
He absolutely is a Que Dawg!
Happy 105th Founders Day to all the men of Omega Psi Fraternity Incorporated.