syracuse Archives - The Jose Vilson


Come Back Together, Over and Again

by Jose Vilson on September 28, 2008

in Jose

This extended weekend here at Syracuse U was the necessary motivation I needed to make everything I do that much better.

After all the panels, workshops, meetings, business cards (and business cards running out), and serious conversations, the responsibility and power to do as much as possible with the talents and connections I’ve developed has become almost impossible to ignore. Alumni from decades before me want to get to know me, much the way I wanted desperately to get to know them as I ascended the ranks of college life. Ever since I found out about CBT (Coming Back Together, alumni reunion), I knew I’d find the sages and legends that led movements before me, and ultimately, I’d be helping to cement their legacies as a collective.

This CBT became less about just soaking up experiences, though. It’s more about developing the human potential of these shared experiences. Not only are we now in positions to share these movements with others and just build casual relationships; it’s about building the necessary bridges across generations of experiences, and highlighting that which binds us to the university. We founded the organizations, fought against the same injustices, used the same dorms, and met in the same areas. We danced to different music, had different relationships with administration, and felt different vibes about the global economy and what we’d do after we graduated.

Somewhere in that matrix of contrasts and commonalities, we alum found a common ground, the same ground that brings us together. We’re no longer just participants, but investors. We’re not asking for a minimum slice of the orange; we want 1/2. We still see a struggle to overcome, but we acknowledge the role we alum play for students who have shared our experiences, and how just a few simple words from some of our Syracuse University descendants empowered us to amplifies our voices in institutions that were once not friendly to us and our needs.

Often, people see the students as the conduits for change, the bearers of the torch, and when they move on from that station, they no longer see themselves as accountable to the kinds of change the institution needs. CBT changes that dynamic for so many of us. Now, and for the last 25 years, Syracuse U has those experiential and financial backing from underrepresented groups. And now, I’ve become a big part of the movement for more of this partnership to reflect the alum.

More than anything, though, this weekend left me exhausted. Off to sleep, y’all.

jose, who laughs at people who sing “Swagger Like Us” and really have none …

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Everything Man

by Jose Vilson on August 24, 2007

in Jose

img_0566-vi.jpgAs if you didn’t know, I am fully in support of Talib’s latest effort, Eardrum. For the most part, it’s hot as hell. Don’t believe me, though; read the article I wrote for Right now, my favorite tracks are it might be much easier to list the tracks I’m not a fan of.

1. “The Nature” with Justin Timberlake (it’s not memorable and a wack ending to an awesome album)
2. “Country Cousins” (just for the chorus)
3. “Give ‘Em Hell” (same thing. Chorus was boring.)

Otherwise, I like all of it. I was pleasantly surprised by’s production on “Say Something,” but not surprised at Jean Grae’s animalistic rhyme ability. But again, I mentioned all of this in the Blogcritics article.

The first song, “Everything Man,” applies to me in so many ways. I was so bored for a good week and change, but now everything’s coming back into the fold. I’m having masters’ diploma clearance issues, which will be resolved really soon and that I recently found out about. I have to help take my brother back up to Syracuse U. tomorrow and be back on the same day in time to either 1) go to sleep or 2) go and party with my friends, who I won’t see for a few months.

Then I’m going with my lady to a baby shower for my friend AnnMary. That should be great, because I anticipated this event for so long. I got the pair multiple gifts; people know I’m bad with remembering dates, but try to make an awesome impression at the event.

On Tuesday, I have a “photoshoot” of course with cool peoples, and of course, the countdown to the classroom begins. I’m so nervous that I won’t be ready for them to come in, but I’m also excited about the possibilities.

It’s also time to start shopping and turn from jose to Mr. V. Any time I haven’t spent with the aforementioned events will most likely be used for this metamorphosis. That’s the best part. The transformation’s already taking place, but I have to remember my scripts and such. Once I finish Fast Food Nation, a book worth reading even if you just get through the first few chapters, I’m going to read The Reluctant Disciplinarian by Gary Rubenstein, just so I can start out the year right.

And this is just within the next week. I hate to sound cliche, but I need to make taking over the world look easy.

jose, who you’ll only see on weekends after september 5th


Pride (In the Name of Love)

by Jose Vilson on June 24, 2007

jamajames.jpgToday marks 2 years after I last saw Jamal James, former president of Syracuse University’s student government in 2001 and active member of the SU community. I had walked around the Pride parade in NYC that day and as I turned on West 4th, I saw him and a friend of mine who I hadn’t seen in ages. Little did any of us know that that would be the last parade he’d ever attend. Sadly, he was found dead in his apartment building three weeks after that moment. I was never tight with him, but to know that I was one of the last people to see him on this Earth really hit me hard.

I attended the wake, hoping to at least show support as a fellow Black SU alum. What I found was a huge following of people who loved him for just him. Exes, roommates, classmates, family, and friends just wanted to pay the greatest tribute to him. They did this regardless of his color or sexual orientation. Just then it hit me: how does one disregard those elements of the person if that’s what made him who he was?

For that matter, how does anyone disregard or say “in spite of” about anyone’s sexual orientation or color? And how do we tell ourselves that we’re against any sort of prejudice yet neglect our friends and family of the LGBT community? How can we act as if a certain person’s relationship with another adult is not love just because it’s with someone of the same sex? One of the more memorable characteristics about Jamal was his flamboyance and energy as he ran around the student government office in Syracuse. His personality, hence, wasn’t a “despite” but a “because.”

Today, I walked around the Pride parade, in memory of this acquaintance, knowing that, as far as I see, we’re not any closer to taking hate crimes like the one against this man more seriously than we did two years ago. R.I.P. Jamal James

jose, in the name of love …