GREENSBORO, N.C. — Thousands of people pack into Greensboro for North Carolina A&T State University’s homecoming every year. This year’s Greatest Homecoming on Earth has special meaning for one lady and her friends.
“I am the Tailgating Aggie Lady because I love tailgating,” said Jameka Slade. “This is a time of year where we have an opportunity to come together, myself and a few of my friends.”
Slade was born and raised in Greensboro. She graduated from A&T in 2002, so she has quite a few homecomings under her belt. She started tailgating with a group of her fellow dance moms about four years ago.
“We used to tailgate as a group both men and women,” she said. “We decided that there was one particular year that the team that usually tailgated together kind of broke apart, and we decided we wanted to continue the tailgating experience, so we decided to do it ourselves.”
They start the night before homecoming with a packing party at her house. They eat and pack the truck with all their aggie swag. Saturday morning they get to campus around 5 and set up. After that, the group goes to the homecoming parade while she cooks breakfast.
And while everyone else goes to the game, she cooks for the post-game tailgate.
“It’s the daughters. It’s the mothers. When we first started, it was five of us. We have six daughters. Now there’s still the same five with our six daughters, and I think this year we have about 30 women and girls who will be joining us,” she said.
Last year, they had to press pause.
“Last year in May, I was diagnosed with stage 2b breast cancer. As a result, I had to have chemotherapy, had to have surgery and then radiation,” Slade said. “My surgery was right around the time of homecoming last year. So I wasn’t able to attend.”
The ladies were right there with Jameka through her cancer battle.
“The bond in indescribable. They are really great friends. I call them sister-friends. And I think same bond is shared between our daughters. These are women that … we do life together.”
That includes good times and hard times. And after a year of hard times, Jameka is back and ready to GHOE harder than she’s GHOE’d before.