A Florida A&M graduate, Terica Williams, will finally receive her master’s degree after being embroiled in a nude photo scandal that featured her “shedding” [and baring] her rattler skin.
According to NBC 6 Miami, FAMU recently ruled in Terica Williams‘ favor after she gave testimony during a September hearing to decide whether her degree would be withheld after revealing her literal naked truth in front of the university’s statue of its rattlesnake mascot.
“I took one next to the snake statute that represents me shedding like a snake into my new chapter,” Williams explained. “What was unique about that photo was that I appeared to be nude and I had snakes coming out of my head.”
Imagine an HBCU threatening to deny a Black woman her earned educational credentials just because she literally showed her Black a** in celebration of her achievement. It just shows how respectability politics and archaic ideas of modesty (leveled almost exclusively against Black women) can have us turning on our own people based on westernized views on decorum.
Plus, according to her attorney, Terica Williams wasn’t even actually bucky nakey.
“To me it was a complete violation of her First Amendment right of expression,” said attorney David Kubiliun to NBC 6.
Kubiliun and fellow attorney Scott Egleston said Williams was not actually in the nude when she took the photo but wearing a nude-colored body suit.
“When she took that picture there was no one around the campus. So, it’s not like she disrupted school functions, which is what the school initially said,” Kubiliun said. “Secondly, that she violated a law which was confirmed by the school’s police department that she was not in any violation of any Florida Statute.”
On Friday, Williams told NBC 6 she feels “amazing, overjoyed” after learning the university decided to stop being so stuffy and give her the degree she earned.
Williams said that for months she was unable to gain internships with mental counseling facilities without her master’s degree.
“I wasn’t able to move forward with the process because I did not have the degree to present,” she said.
In fact, she had posted a cryptic message saying “3 professors are going down with me” if she didn’t get her degree but she didn’t specify which professors or what they had to do with anything. She also posted a comedic TikTok video expressing how contrite she is for her cheeky photo. (Do I even need to ask if you see what I did there?)
Anyway, all’s well that (back) ends well, I guess. (Oh come on, that was a pretty good one.)