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Zeta Phi Beta ‘band nerd’ set to step into history, Macy’s Parade

by Stacey J. Smith —

Ebony Lemons always looked forward to seeing the bands in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

She calls herself a “band nerd.”

“I played the clarinet in middle school, high school and some of college, so hearing the bands will take me back to those halftime performances and local parades from when I was a kid.”

Ebony will be up close and personal with it all this year.  Along with the bands, Broadway singers, decorated floats and character balloons, she will be performing with 30 of her sisters of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated in New York City.

Ebony said, “Each sorority sister will bring a variety of dance and stepping, so be prepared to be wowed.”

The sorority sent an announcement for auditions for the Zeta Phi Beta Centennial Steppers.

“Before I could decide or respond, I received texts and emails saying I should try out. I submitted an application, auditioned and now I’m on my way to NYC!

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to perform in the 2020 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with Zeta Phi Beta’s National Step Team!”

Ebony was a bit leery because of COVID-19, but the coordinators are taking every precaution to make sure it’s a fun and safe experience.

They were instructed to limit their contact with others prior to the event and to get tested.  Upon arrival in New York City, she will get tested again.

“I’m usually not nervous until just moments before the performance, but with this added stressor, I’ll try to handle it by praying, breathing and feeling the energy of my team,” Ebony said. “We are the first Black Greek-Lettered Organization to participate in this special event during our centennial year – I’m sooo excited!”

Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated was founded Jan. 16, 1920 on the campus of Howard University in Washington, D.C. by five women affectionately called The Five Pearls.

Zeta is an organization of many firsts and Ebony said, “It feels good to be apart of one of those firsts in our centennial year – I feel like a trailblazer!”

Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. is the first organization to be featured, but hopefully, they won’t be the last organization of the Divine 9 to be featured in the iconic parade.

The Divine 9 is comprised of black fraternities and sororities founded mostly at HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities).  Ebony added, “This is a great moment for Black culture to be celebrated and enjoyed.”

Ebony is a member of the Alpha Eta Zeta Graduate Chapter in Memphis, where she joined in 2015, immediately after graduating from University of Tennessee-Knoxville, where she was an active member in the undergraduate chapter, Pi Epsilon.

Tune into NBC on Thursday (Nov. 26) to watch. The parade begins at 8 a.m. CST.

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