Opinion: She took it too far

Terica Williams’ nails and heels close up shot from her graduation photoshoot. Photo courtesy of Terica Williams’ Instagram @tericastar

Florida A&M University is known for its extraordinary and creative grad pictures. Students take this opportunity to show their individuality and celebrate their accomplishments. Every semester the photos from our illustrious university go viral and we as a community celebrate the new graduates.

On Friday, Terica Williams, a recent master’s in education graduate, took it too far. She posted photos showing her completely nude in front of FAMU’s beloved rattler statue that guards the CASS building. The photos went viral, sparking controversy and backlash, many students and alumni flooded her Instagram page due to the disrespect of FAMU’s brand, rightfully so.

In the posts’ caption, Williams alludes to her purpose for the nude shoot as celebrating her body and encouraging others to do the same. She then doubled down on a series of Instagram Live videos defending her decision and stated, “Imma damn sure get the free promo, I ain’t mad about it.”

By her further actions online, it’s very clear Williams had other motives for posting the shocking photos. The aspiring rapper used the new buzz to encourage her viewers to stream and post her music. She is doing everything she can to launch her rap career from the controversy of her photos, and it seems to be working as her followers on Instagram have grown by the thousands.

In this instance Williams’ creativity and originality overstepped the respect and honor for our beloved FAMU. If her true intention was to honor her body and promote self-love and body positivity, a better course of action would have not included the brand of FAMU. Although I admire her courage, taking nude photos in front of the rattler statue was a step too far.

As we as a community often do, we have found humor in this situation. Countless memes and jokes have been made about and around the revealing grad photos, resulting in the phrase ‘BBLPerry’ trending on Twitter.

Many questions we all have asked are yet to be answered,

“Why did the photographer take the photo?”

“Where was security when she took the photo?”

“Is her degree going to be revoked?”

“Will she face charges?”

A question I have is,

Was it worth it?

The silver lining in this ordeal are the conversations about the culture of FAMU, currently happening on social media. Many are pointing out the decline of tradition, respect, and values that has been fleeing the student body in recent years.

This outrageous situation could be the catalyst for us as a community to evaluate our culture here at FAMU.