Florida A&M University graduate Terika Williams It upset some people when she posted pictures from a ceremonial photoshoot she was on the premises of the beloved HBCU.
In the photos, Williams – who is wearing nothing but snake-themed hair and a pair of red bottoms – can be seen posing in front of a statue of Rattler, FAMU’s mascot.
The controversial photos have gone viral and have been met with outrage, leading to widespread investigations on campus, and with some former students asking for their diplomas to be withdrawn.
Ananya Williams speaking at a TSR investigation.
Did he take things too far? Does this situation demand extreme disciplinary action from the university? The Shed Room investigates…
Recy photo taken in memory of her graduate school graduation
Williams graduated from a historically black university in July of this year, and did so with a nearly 3.8 GPA. She earned a master’s degree in counseling and education, and took photos to celebrate the occasion, she told Justin Carter of TSR Investigates.
The photos were a far cry from the hat-and-gown type of affair typically taken to commemorate a graduation, particularly after posting it on her Instagram account on July 29 sparked widespread backlash.
“I really wanted to show Black excellence and body positivity. When I posted this, I didn’t expect (the response) to such an extent,” Williams told Justin Carter of TSR Investigates.
The 24-year-old can be seen naked without heels, adorned with fake snakes coming from his hair – a nod to the university’s snake mascot, whose photo was taken in front.
“I went with a Medusa theme, a kind of snake symbol, like, shedding,” she said of the idea.
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When asked whether or not she was actually completely naked in the photo, Williams declined to answer, citing the fact that there is an open criminal investigation into the situation.
Williams revealed that she’s been known to wear provocative clothes “her whole life” and that “people know how I dress and I’m very comfortable in my own skin.”
“People know … that I’m very comfortable in my own skin. I like to take risks,” she revealed.
However, Williams defended the photo and joked that the university should replace the mascot with a statue of her, “I think I am that girl, and I can encourage other people to be that girl. “
He said that he never intended to hurt anyone and that his intentions were noble.
But some students, faculty and alumni actually objected to the photo.
Nude mascot of student, faculty, grad torn alum on photo
FAMU alum Ajay Williams said in an episode of his “Crown Conversations” podcast that if he, as a black man, had taken a similar photo, “he would have been on my a** that day.”
“The pressure and attention are one hell of a drug,” Williams told The Shade Room. “When you go to FAMU or any HBCU, the first thing they tell you is that you are now a representative of the college or university. His doing so completely goes against what we know.”
Another FAMU graduate, Ashi Doss, told The Shade Room that it “goes beyond women’s empowerment.”
“What is it that you want to represent?” he said. “If you took the photo because you were so proud to graduate from FAMU, the photo should have been about it. Not about you or your body.”
For her part, Williams says she is open to all criticism, but added that she is grateful for the people who are supporting her, of whom there are so many. One woman posted on Twitter that “Maybe (she) is just an extreme feminist, but I guess the ole girl from FAMU ate that shoot up.”
The investigation of the photo continues till Wednesday.
What do you say, Roomies? Is the picture derogatory or not?
TSR Investigates presents less of cold cases and news of special interest in the mainstream media.