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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

We Are The Men Of Que Psi Phi (examples & videos)

Edited by Azizi Powell

[Latest revision August 18, 2016]

This post showcases two text examples of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc song/chant "We Are The Brothers Of Que Psi Phi" and "We Are The Men Of Que Psi Phi".

(A video of this song/chant with the title "We Are The Dawgs" was shown on YouTube but is no longer available).

Videos examples of this song are also included in this post.

The content of this post is presented for folkloric, historical, inspirational, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes.

I consider fraternity & sorority chants to be cultural artifacts which deserve to be collected, preserved, and studied. However, I also believe that fraternity & sorority songs and chants should only be recited and/or performed by those who are members or pledges of the specific organization that is affiliated with that particular chant.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

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GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT OMEGA PSI PHI FRATERNITY, INC.
Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. is a historically Black Greek lettered fraternity that was founded on November 17, 1911 at Howard University.

Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. is the first international fraternal organization founded on the campus of a historically Black college/university.

Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. is a member of the National Pan-Hellenic Council, (NPHC). NPHC is a collaborative organization of nine historically African American, international Greek lettered fraternities and sororities that is known as "The Divine Nine".

Click http://www.oppf.org/about_omega.asp for more information about this historically Black Greek letter fraternity.

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TEXT EXAMPLE OF "WE ARE THE BROTHERS OF QUE PSI PHI
(given here as Example #1)
[1995 Probates {pledges}, Howard University]

Refrain leader: Oh Oh Oh!
All: Oh Oh Oh!
Leader: Oh Oh Oh Oh!
All: Oh Oh Oh!

Leader: We are the brothers of Que Psi Phi
All: We are the brothers of Que Psi Phi
Leader: The Mother Pearl and that's no lie.
All: The Mother Pearl and that's no lie.
Leader: We're gonna live, we're gonna die
All: We're gonna live, we're gonna die
Leader: In the name of Que Psi Phi.
All: In the name of Que Psi Phi.
Leader: We've come from near we've come from far
Leader: first by lamp and then by star
All: first by lamp and then by star.

Refrain

Leader: In this place of pain and tears,
All: In this place of pain and tears,
Leader: I have learned to persevere.
All: I have learned to persevere.
Leader: Manhood and scholarship,
All: Manhood and scholarship,
Leader: and the meaning of uplift.
Leader: Cooper, Coleman, Love, and Just (varied rhythm)*
All: Cooper, Coleman, Love, and Just,
Leader: They are watching over us.
All: They are watching over us.

Refrain

Leader: I may not see my home again,
All: I'll wave good-bye to all my friends,
Leader: I'll tell my Mama not to cry,
All: I am pledging Que Psi Phi.

Refrain.

Leader: She said "Son along the way,
All: She said "Son along the way,
Leader: watch those cloudy skies of gray.
All: watch those cloudy skies of gray.
Leader: The sun is shining on the other side (ritardando)
All: The sun is shining on the other side
Leader; shining brightly Que Psi Phi"
All: shining brightly Que Psi Phi" (crescendo)

Refrain (resume previously tempo)

*These are the last names of the four founders of the fraternity
-Elizabeth Fine, Soulstepping-African American Step Shows (University of Illinois Press; 2003) pg. 48-49

Editor:
Here's a quote about that chant from Soulstepping-African American Step Shows
"With shaven heads and gold paint glistening on their faces, the 1995 probates of Omega Psi Phi at Howard University stand at rigid attention, holding across their chest shields decorated with the fraternity insignia. In combat boots, tan trousers, blue sweat shirts, sunglasses, the young men stand with their chins and lower lips thrust out, a ritual facial expression known as the grit."

In her landmark book on Black fraternity and sorority steppin,Soulstepping-African American Step Shows Elizabeth Fine described this song as being performed by "probates", meaning "new members of a fraternity or a sorority".

According to http://dos.cornell.edu/greek/about_our_office/definitions.cfm "Probate [is] A show used to introduce new members of the organization".

"Lamp” is a symbol for Que pledges; “Star” is a symbol for men who have passed the pledge process and become official members of the fraternity.

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TEXT EXAMPLE OF "WE ARE THE MEN OF Q PSI PHI" (Example #2)
We are the men of Q Psi Phi
Mighty Mighty Q Psi Phi
We come from near we come from far
First by lamp and then by star

Whoa oo Whoa oo*
Whoa oo oo oo oh

I kiss my girl and made her cry
Cause I was pledgin Q Psi Phi.
I kissed my girl and made her cry
Cause I was pledgin Q Psi Phi

Whoa oo Whoa oo
Whoa oo oo oo oh
-posted by Azizi, 12/05 (source: step shows that I've attended in the 1990s in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
*"Whoa oo Whoa oo" is also written as "woah oh woah oh".
-snip-
Text Analysis:
I believe that the implication of the lines "I kissed my girl and made her cry/cause I was pledgin Q Psi Phi" was that the girl cried because she knew that she'd have less time with her man now that he was pledging Q Psi Phi.

The line "I kissed my girl and made her cry" is lifted from the Mother Goose rhyme: "Georgie Porgy; Puddin Pie/ kiss the girls and made them cry". However, since Ques are known as real buff, macho men, the next lines for the Georgie Porgie rhyme "When the boys came out to play/ Georgie Porgie ran away" wouldn't fit the image of the Q's at all.

The "Whoa oo Whoa oo" part of this song sounds like the refrain used in the military cadence "Ain't No Use In Lookin Down"

"Leader-Woh oh oh oh
Others-(repeat above)/ Leader-Woh oh ohohohoh"
-snip-
*This is not to suggest that these that military cadence and that fraternity song have anything else in common or that one is derived from the other. It should be mentioned that those two examples have nothing else in common.
-snip-
[slightly revised August 18, 2016]
Notice that the words of Example #1 are written in a call & response format with the lead singing one line and the rest of the group repeating that line.

I recall this entire song (given as Example #2) being sung by one member of the step team who had an exceptional voice. The other members of the step team were divided into three sub-groups. One group at a time started a step move, and then continued that move while the second and then the third group joined in with those groups' own move.

I'd appreciate it if people would share their experiences and/or recollections of how "We Are The Men Of Que Psi Phi" is (or was) performed.

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SHOWCASE VIDEOS
Example #1: We Are The Brother Ques



Uploaded by Xay90 on Dec 12, 2010

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Example #2: Beta Eta Chapter of Omega Psi Phi - We Are The Brother Ques



Published on May 14, 2012 by Xay90

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COMMENTS ON GRITTIN
I offer these comments about "grittin" for the folkloric record. Corrections and clarifications of these comments are very welcome.

I've never heard the term "the grit" before reading it in Elizabeth Fine's landmark book Elizabeth Fine, Soulstepping-African American Step Shows. However, I have heard of "grittin".

In my opinion, the term "grittin" comes from the word "gritty" and refers to a harsh "stone faced" expression. "Grittin" is a term that is used to describe the exaggerated, bulldog like angry expression that is a signature facial expression for members & pledges of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. (meaning it is usually not done by other fraternities). I think that Ques put on this facial expression to show how tough & in control they are.

In everyday interactions - outside of the performance of "steppin" or its related fraternity/sorority movement "strollin" - a person who sees someone with this expression looking at him* might confront that person and say "Why you grittin on me?" The person with that grittin expression then has to make some choices. He could change that facial expression and deny that he was "grittin" (on that other person). Or he could keep that same expression or make his facial expression even sterner and say something that would escalate the confrontation. In other words, "grittin" is no joke.

*Although the male pronoun is used in this comment, females also have been know to "grit on" other people.

Click http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ymKLymvwD2U "Willow Smith -Whip My Hair" for an example of grittin (The image facial expression that Willow Smith does at about 1:06 is a good example of that facial expression.

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UPDATE: August 18, 2016
"We Are The Men Of Que Psi Phi" is a historically Black fraternity song that has a similar call & response verse structure and similar or the same verses as the military cadence "Mama Mama Can't You See". For example" both compositions have a "I told my mother not to cry" verse. And the Omega verse: ""they shaved my hair...they even took my jeans/now I'm wearing kelly green" is almost like the verse "now I'm wearing army green".

However, the tunes used for the fraternity song and the military cadence are different and the tempo for "We Are The Men Of Que Psi Phi" is much slower than the military cadence (and the children's rhyme versions) of "Mama Mama Can't You See".

Click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2012/02/mama-mama-cant-you-see-usmc-cadence.html for a pancocojams post on "Mama Mama Can't You See - USMC Cadence & Children's Handclap Rhyme"

Here's an example "We Are The Men Of Que Psi Phi" that was sung at a Omega Psi Phi (also known as "Que") probate (a show where new members are introduced to the public):

Lincoln University Beta Chapter 2016 probate



Caasi Brim, Published on Apr 10, 2016

Lincoln University Omega Psi Phi Beta Chapter Spring 2016 "Apollo" leads bruhs in song.

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RELATED LINK
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Pan-Hellenic_Council

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS AND THANKS
Thanks to those who composed the featured chants. Thanks also to the members of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. who are featured in these videos and thanks to the uploaders of those videos.

Finally, thank you for visiting pancocojams.

Viewer comments are welcome.

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