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Fist fight no more: Ice Cube brings togetherness to Atlanta stroll off

(The Undefeated)
When you think about rapper/actor/entrepreneur Ice Cube, you usually associate him with confrontation – but not on Thursday. On this day, Ice Cube showed up in Atlanta before a packed Bishop Cornelius Henderson Student Center auditorium on Clark Atlanta University’s campus to not only promote his new movie Fist Fight, but to inspire someone to never stop dreaming.
“I think it’s important for success to touch students,” said Cube. “Sometimes just getting a glimpse is all it takes for somebody to spark something in themselves, and hopefully I can be an inspiration in some kind of way.”
Cube attended the Atlanta University Center (AUC) stroll off, and the atmosphere inside the Henderson Student Center was of a tight-knit, fierce competition between rival schools that make up Atlanta’s AUC. Thursday at the Henderson, you saw stroll teams from Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse and Spelman colleges and the Morehouse School of Medicine. Students from all over the AUC gathered and put together stroll teams that usually lent themselves to competition, rivalries, prizes and bragging rights. But this is a new day – a new generation, and now students and the Greek-letter organizations of the AUC have quickly changed that narrative from rivalry to togetherness.
The event’s MC, Headkrack from TV’s Dish Nation, alongside DJ JT, hyped the crowd before the arrival of Ice Cube with fun-filled games, prizes, giveaways and even a freestyle rap battle. And while the fun and games were going on, students and Greeks alike knew the significance of where all of this was taking place.

“The student center is named after one of our former chaplains here at CAU,” said Mario Boone, the media relations manager at Clark Atlanta University. “Cornelius Henderson was a beloved figure here on the campus, just very well-respected and regarded, and so when we come into the building, we want to honor his name, his legacy and students come in with that in mind, and so there’s an expectation of how to conduct themselves.”
Started in 1929, the AUC was formed as a way for students and Greek-letter organizations to come together and express themselves. But while it’s uncertain when strolling or stepping began to happen, many claim its origins can be traced to the late 20th century, circa 1980s or ’90s.
“It’s actually called an AUC stroll off,” said Clark Atlanta associate director for student involvement and leadership Rae Warner. “I would say it could have been maybe the ’90s or maybe the ’80s when they started actually strolling. Competitionwise, that didn’t start until early 2000s.”
This rhythmic dance or stepping wasn’t just for the Greeks. It was also a residence hall step or stroll show where some teams from the residence halls or houses competed. Some combined groups from multiple colleges competed as well. For instance, the Omega Psi Phi stroll group, the eventual winner Thursday, was composed of both Clark Atlanta and Morehouse students.
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