There was plenty of excitement last year when Zahara Jolie-Pitt enrolled at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia.
Videos of her and her mom, Angelina Jolie, visiting the campus went viral and sparked conversation about the importance of historically Black colleges and universities.
The 18-year-old daughter of Jolie and Brad Pitt has now pledged the sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha, Incorporated, and it has once again stirred excitement and dialogue.
Essence magazine shared video on social media that showed a crowd on campus reacting enthusiastically as Jolie-Pitt introduced herself and shared that she was number seven among her line sisters pledging.
Alpha Kappa Alpha, Incorporated is the oldest Greek-letter organization established by Black college-educated women and has more than 355,000 initiated members in undergraduate and graduate chapters around the world. It was founded in 1908 at Howard University and is the subject of the documentary “Twenty Pearls.”
The sorority also boasts plenty of high-profile members, including the current Vice President of the United States, Kamala Harris.
Many members proudly point to being part of the Divine Nine, a group of sororities and fraternities that were founded in the early 20th century during a time when racism and discrimination against Black Americans was pervasive.
Jolie-Pitt was on line and then crossed over as it is referred to once a person becomes a member of a Black sorority or fraternity, is notable to those who have observed Jolie-Pitt’s connections to her culture roots.
She was born in Ethiopia and adopted by Jolie and Pitt in 2005. When it comes to transracial adoptions in which children of color are adopted by white parents, there are some who express concerns that those parents may not be sensitive to what it means to live in a world that has deemed you a minority.
Such was the case in 2009, when there was debate about Jolie allowing her daughter to wear her hair, as Newsweek’s Allison Samuels referred to it as, “wild and unstyled, uncombed and dry. Basically: a ‘hot mess.’”
“Now, I’m not going to jump in the middle of the raucous debate sweeping like wildfire through the internet; there’s been enough piling on from both sides of the issue without me adding to it (Should Zahara’s hair be wild and carefree?,” author and journalist Denene Millner wrote on her My Brown Baby site. “Should Angie take a black hair care class or two so she can “tame” Zahara’s hair? Why are we criticizing a 4-year-old’s hairstyle anyway?)”
“But I will say that even as an African American mom, it’s not easy being in charge of two heads of kinky, curly hair — not including my own — with little information, great trepidation, and horrible memories of the Saturday night torture,” she added.
So when Jolie came to Spelman in 2022 with her daughter, there was celebration that Jolie-Pitt would become a part of the famed liberal arts college for women. The actress fully embraced the choice, even being filmed during a campus visit getting a lesson in how to do the Electric Slide.
That joy was repeated and amplified with the news that Jolie-Pitt had pledged.
“Felt like my lil cuz or niece had crossed,” former “Amazing Race” contestant and influencer Kerri Paul commented on social media.
CNN’s Chandelis Duster and Nicquel Terry Ellis contributed to this report
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