Award-Winning Actress Robinson Ignites FAMU Homecoming Festivities
By Nadia Felder
There was a packed-house for Florida A&M’s (FAMU) Homecoming Convocation festivities on Oct. 16. Traditionally, homecoming offers a time for alumni to return to their university to celebrate their accomplishments and reminisce on their college experiences. But there was one alumnus that stood out from the rest.
“The Haves and the Have Nots” actress and FAMU alumni since 1987, Angela Robinson, returned to the campus for the homecoming events. In her agricultural green dress and cheetah print heels, Robinson fit the look of a proud Rattler alumnus and was selected as the keynote speaker for the convocation in Gaither Gym early Friday morning.
Though she always had a “passion for performing”, the Jacksonville native attended FAMU pursuing a sociology degree. Before staring on the Tyler Perry sitcom “The Haves and the Have Nots”, she had been recognized from her performances on Broadway in “The Color Purple”, as well as traveling tours in “Dream Girls.”
However, she announced her initial shine began at the historical black university, FAMU. She choreographed the first freshman showcase, “The Wiz,” even without being a theater major.
“I knew since the age of ten that I wanted to be an actor,” said Robinson. “But as my parents dropped me off they said ‘you can take as many of those acting classes as you want, but you cannot major in theater.”
By her senior year, she ran and won the pledged title of Miss Florida A&M University. Other than being the face of the university, there was more to learn about both herself and her dreams. Robinson mentioned that if there was one thing that she loved about her HBCU, it was that she grew to “love herself.”
The actress admitted that after a constant childhood participation at FAMU, due to her parent’s legacy at the university, she did not initially desire to become a Rattler. However, she could not deny that she “fell in love with chocolate.”
“The more I fell in love with myself and my people, the more I wanted to serve others,” said Robinson.
This love for others is what transformed her into an award-winning entertainer. Recently, she was awarded the Gracie Award for Outstanding Female Actor-One to Watch. Also, Robinson’s portrayal of Veronica Harrington in “The Haves and the Have Nots,” was listed among the top 10 best performances of 2013 by Blackactors.net.
She ended her speech with an encouraging challenge to students saying that they should follow their dreams, even if it means doing something that has never been done before.
“In other words, your career is what you are paid for, your calling is what you were made for. FAMU helped me discover what I was made for,” said Robinson.
The convocation also featured a standing ovation performance from the FAMU Concert Choir, cheering remarks from President Elmira Mangum who awarded Robinson with the President’s Award for serving and speaking at the event.
The convocation also included words from FAMU Athletic Director Milton Overton and Head Football coach Alex Wood, in which they encouraged students to fill the stands with Rattler pride at Bragg Stadium for the homecoming football game against Delaware State.
“We have what it takes to build a championship team, we just need your support,” said Overton.
Many alumni also shared why they love both homecoming and FAMU’s homecoming celebrations, like member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Rufus Curry Jr. who graduated in 1986. Curry mentioned how homecoming is more than just a social event but a cultural survival tool.
“Convocation and homecoming is needed for the Millennials because it is the direct way of seeing black successful alumni,” said Curry. “We help motivate the students to keep pushing for success and making our people better.”