Edited by Azizi Powell
This post presents examples of the signature Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. chant "This Is A Serious Matter".
The content of this post is presented for cultural, folkloric, and aesthetic purposes.
I consider fraternity & sorority chants to be cultural artifacts which deserve to be collected, preserved, and studied. I also believe that fraternity & sorority songs and chants should only be recited and/or performed by those persons who are affiliated with the specific organization that is associated with that particular chant.
GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT THIS CHANT
"This Is A Serious Matter" appears to be the most widely known traditional Alpha Kappa Alpha, Inc. (AKA) chant. This chant and its accompanying routine have become signature parts of the culture of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. In that routine steps are taken from left to right while both hands are held palm up close to the steppers' waist.
The lyrics to "This is a Serious Matter" may be slightly different at various Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority chapters or within the same chapter at different points in time. "This is a Serious Matter" is usually composed of two line rhyming verses that state the history of the sorority, praise the sorority and its members, and/or diss (insult) other sororitiies. This chant always includes the line "this is a serious matter".
Many versions of this chant start with the step team saying "1 9 0 8". This is the date that Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. was founded. Most versions of "This Is A Serious Matter" include a reference to the fact that Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc was the first Black sorority. Each version of this chant includes the refrain "This Is a SERIOUS matter". However, as shown in a video featured on Cocojams' Step & Stroll page http://cocojams.com/content/fraternity-sorority-step-stroll-related-videos, a step team may only repeated the words "This is a serious matter; this is a serious, serious, serious matter". My sense is that what "is a serious matter" is the sorority itself- its history, its ideals, its present activities, and its members' commitment to that organization.
For the record, I "went over" (became a member of AKA Sorority, Inc) in 1967-Gamma Zeta chapter, New Jersey. Members of the state's graduate chapter pledged my line. We only stepped a couple of times, and I don't remember learning "This is a Serious Matter".
I'm not sure when the "This Is A Serious Matter" chant was first composed. If anyone remembers this chant from the late 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, please share that information with me and other blog readers in the comment section below.
TEXT & VIDEO EXAMPLES
(These examples are presented in no particular order.)
EXAMPLE #1: THIS IS A SERIOUS MATTER
This is a Serious Matter
This is a Serious Matter
Alpha Kappa Alpha
Sororities take note
We paved your way
So if your not AKA
You went the wrong WAY!
-AKA soror, (Pittsburgh, PA), from private electronic email to Azizi Powell, 8/13/04; posted on 12/2005
Example #2: THIS IS A SERIOUS MATTER
I woke up this morning, jumped out of bed,
looked in the mirror and i SHOOK my pretty head
Okay they say i'm conceited, that is no lie....
I'LL BE A CONCEITED AKA UNTIL THE DAY THAT I DIE!
Pretty in pink, gorgeous in green
Since 1908, We've rained supreme!
This is a serious matter! YES!
This is a serious matter! YES, YES!
Alpha Kappa Alpha! (Alpha Kappa Alpha!)
SWEET AKA! (SWEET AKA!)
The first black sorority (echo)
WE PAVED THE WAY! (echo)
THIS IS A SERIOUS MATTER!
-Guest, Fraternity & Sorority Chants and Songs; http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=103135&messages=76 ; 3/10/2010
Example #3: THIS IS A SERIOUS MATTER
1 9 0 8
We are the first Black Greek sorority
We wear our twenty pearls
When you see us with our heads held high
And say [?] our noses are always in the sky
'Cause this is What?
Ah serious matter.
Group does step routines without chanting
Ah serious matter.
-BHSMouse; AKA GMU
Probate; Fall 08; Omicron Iota step; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wyvnuGq5vLs&feature=related ; January 31, 2009
(transcription by Azizi Powell, 5/19/2010)
Editor: The question mark in brackets means that I'm not certain about what the step team chanted. If you know this chant or can better decipher what is being said, please correct or add to this transcription by posting the words to this chant in the comment section below. Thanks!
Here's that video:
AKA Step...A Serious Matter
Uploaded by BHSMouse on Jan 31, 2009
Example #4: THIS IS A SERIOUS MATTER
We are the first black greek sorority.
Not DST, Not ZPhiB.
Sigma Gamma Rho. I don't think so.
Is it red and white? Is it red and gold?
Delta Sigma Theta you don't even know
Because on one bright and sunny day
all of your founders pledged AKA.
So greet me Delta and step back in line
because you don't know who you are
and you can't make up your mind." ...
This is a serious matter! YES!
This is a serious matter!
-The "Sensational" Sigma Epsilon Chapter' Spring 2003; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmvCmuFfycM&feature=related
[This transcription was posted as a comment by video viewer Psionix9 in 2008. That video no longer exists.]
Here's another video with a different [not transcribed] version of "It's A Serious Matter" (added January 15, 2014)
Alpha Kappa Alpha: Probate '11 @ Auburn Uni-Part III
iconlb, Uploaded on Dec 5, 2011
ΚΧ Fall 2K11_Part III
Alpha Kappa Alpha: Kappa Chi's new members presentation.
"A Serious Matter"
***Any music used is for entertainment purposes. No copyright infringement intended.***
Example #5: Repetition of the words "This is a serious matter".
Here's a video example: 2010 Sprite Step-Off Finals: Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA) Performance
PulseOneMedia, Published on Mar 27, 2010
http://www.pulseonemedia.com - Video of the Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA) step team during the 2010 Sprite Step-Off which was executive produced by Ludacris. The Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA) step team used a Law & Order scenario as the theme for their performance during the 2010 Sprite Step-Off. This was there story!
The portion of this video that showcases the chant "This Is A Serious Matter" chant is found at 2:12-2:51
April 10, 2018- This video replaces a previous video of this performance that is no longer available.
This step team was first awarded 2nd place in that competition but, after considerable uproar, was awarded 1st place along with the previously awarded 1st place winners, a White sorority Zeta Tau Alpha from the University of Arkansas. Click http://couldntkeepit.wordpress.com/2010/03/02/a-serious-matter/ for commentary about this Sprite Step Off™ competition & decision.
Click http://cocojams.com/content/fraternity-sorority-step-stroll-related-videos for two more videos of Sprite Step Off™ 2010 and other videos of steppin and strolling.
Update: Example #6 [Video added 3/21/2013]
Greekster.tv - Serious Matter AKA
greekstertv, Uploaded on Dec 27, 2009
Interviewing the sisters of AKA at the Rutgers 10th Annual LTA Step, Stroll and Salute Exhibition
Click http://cocojams.com/content/fraternity-and-sorority-chants for additional text examples and videos of fraternity & sorority chants. Most of these examples are from Black Greek lettered [university based] fraternities & sororities.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT AND THANKS
Thanks to the unknown composer/s of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. chant "This Is A Serious Matter". My thanks also to those who shared examples of this chant with me, and/or showcased their performance of this chant on YouTube. Thanks also to the videographers, video uploaders, and commenters who I have quoted.
Thanks for visiting pancocojams.
Viewer comments are welcome.