Providence College: Us! We! Together! Family!

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Providence College: Us! We! Together! Family!


Those were the words of Providence College Basketball Coach Ed Cooley - all to the tune of Sister Sledge. But Cooley wasn’t the headline performer. Heading up Late Night Madness was John Legend, with warm-up performer A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie. And now controversy swirls.


Alum Vin Marzullo, who attended the event with his family, has publicly issued statements calling out the rapper for multiple n-word uses. This has resulted in several news stories, and a statement by PC spokesperson Steve Maurano that the performers were instructed to “be clean and not use profanity or other inappropriate language during their shows”, and steps will be taken to prevent any further occurrences. Several years ago, this was also an issue with a PC-sponsored performer.


It’s an annual tradition for Providence College. The event held just before the launch of Friars basketball season. Weeks ago, the performers were announced. Alums received an email promoting ticket buying. The event is no longer held on the Providence College campus. It’s held at “The Dunk”, one of the few entertaining-type events coming to this under-utilized facility in the heart of downtown Providence.


The evening was headlined by John Legend. The “warm-up” was A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie. In the promotional email links were provided for both performers


A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie:


John Legend:


The Julius Dubose (A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie) video opens with the camera zooming in on the performer sitting in the rain for 40 seconds. Then the song begins. At the 1-minute mark is the first n-word. There are several more before at 1:20 this line, “I just got caught f---in’ my best friend’s…”. The video is filmed with tanks firing and military vehicles. 


The John Legend site opens to a music video called Preach, featuring Legend in a dream-scene with lyrics about all that is happening in the world - with scenes of blacks being shot by white police officers, mass shootings, violence against women, and arrest scenes, ending with Legend in a preacher’s robe amidst swat teams and other religious images. The last line is “I’m falling to my knees…though I do believe…I just can’t preach”. 


At the event itself, perhaps getting the most excitement about the night was the entrance of PC Basketball Coach Ed Cooley, entering at floor level to a swagger dance and his usual Sister Sledge theme, “We are family”.

Coach Ed Cooley:


After the dancing ended, Cooley took the microphone and addressed all those gathered at The Dunk. After lots of rallying words to the students about basketball, amidst loud cheers, he asked them to all get up on their feet. In what could have been lyrics set to Sledge or another performer, his final words were simple, unifying, positive, and appropriate.


“Welcome home! Everybody! This is our house…I want to feel energy….Us! We! Together! Family! Friars! This is our town. This is our city. We are your team. Go Friars.


About Providence College

PC was founded in 1917 by the Dominican Friars at the invitation of Bishop Harkins to provide a Catholic education in the arts and sciences.


They have just welcomed Rev. Kenneth R. Sicard, O.P. ’78 & ’82G, as their 13th President.


PC Mission:

Providence College is a Catholic, Dominican, liberal arts institution of higher education and a community committed to academic excellence in pursuit of the truth, growth in virtue, and service of God and neighbor.


PC Statement of Faith and Reason:

Providence College is confident in the appeal of reason, believes that human beings are disposed to know the truth, and trusts in the power of grace to enlighten minds, open hearts, and transform lives. Providence College maintains that the pursuit of truth has intrinsic value, that faith and reason are compatible and complementary means to its discovery, and that the search for truth is the basis for dialogue with others and critical engagement with the world.


Note: This editor is a PC Alum