Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.’ Chant “Serious Matter” (information, lyrics, videos)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This pancocojams post presents examples of the signature Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. chant “This Is A Serious Matter”.

The content of this post is presented for cultural, folkloric, and aesthetic purposes.

I consider fraternity & sorority chants to be cultural artifacts which deserve to be collected, preserved, and studied. I also believe that fraternity & sorority songs and chants should only be recited and/or performed by those persons who are affiliated with the specific organization that is associated with that particular chant.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to composers of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.* for the chant “This Is A Serious Matter”. Thanks also to those who shared examples of this chant with me, and all those who are featured in these YouTube videos. Thanks also to all those who are quoted in this post and thanks to the publishers of these videos on YouTube.
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*Read the note in the “Information about this chant” section for the identification of the composers of this chant.

Much of the content of this post was published on pancocojams in 2012 and also includes references to two comments from that post’s discussion thread http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2012/08/alpha-kappa-alpha-sorority-inc-this-is.html.
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For the historical record, Senator Kamala Harris, a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and a Democratic candidate for the President of the United States, said “This is a serious matter” in response to a question that she was asked at the 4th Democratic primary debate (October 15, 2019).

Senator Harris may have used this AKA saying before in her campaign and at other times, but I remembered to document her saying it at that event.

Click https://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2019/01/25/aka-historic-sorority-black-women-voters-kamala-harris-lah-ebof-dnt.cnn for a CNN video story entitled “Kamala Harris’ secret weapon: Her sorority sisters”.

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GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT THIS CHANT
“This Is A Serious Matter” appears to be the most widely known traditional Alpha Kappa Alpha, Inc. (AKA) chant. This chant and its accompanying routine have become signature parts of the culture of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. In that routine steps are taken from left to right while both hands are held palm up close to the steppers’ waist.

An anonymous commenter who used the screen name “The Author” wrote in May 2014 on the discussion thread of the 2012 pancocojams post indicated that “Serious Matter was authored and first performed at Langston University, Langston Oklahoma in 1986 by the Ivy line lovingly named ’15 Girls in Search of 20 Pearls”.

That same commenter or another anonymous commenter wrote in May 2014 on that same pancocojams post’s discussion thread that “The chant was performed at the Langston University Homecoming Event…”. Unfortunately, those commenters didn’t share the original words to this chant.

The lyrics to “This is a Serious Matter” may be slightly different at various Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority chapters or within the same chapter at different points in time. “This is a Serious Matter” is usually composed of two line rhyming verses that state the history of the sorority, praise the sorority and its members, and/or diss (insult) other sororitiies. This chant always includes the line “this is a serious matter”.

Many versions of this chant start with the step team saying “1 9 0 8”. This is the date that Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. was founded. Most versions of “This Is A Serious Matter” include a reference to the fact that Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc was the first Black sorority. Each version of this chant includes the refrain “This Is a SERIOUS matter”. However, a step team may only repeated the words “This is a serious matter; this is a serious, serious, serious matter”. My sense is that what “is a serious matter” is the sorority itself- its history, its ideals, its present activities, and its members’ commitment to that organization.

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TEXT EXAMPLES
(These examples are presented in no particular order.)

EXAMPLE #1: THIS IS A SERIOUS MATTER
This is a Serious Matter
Yes
This is a Serious Matter
Yes Yes
Alpha Kappa Alpha
A-K-A
Sororities take note
We paved your way
So if your not AKA
You went the wrong WAY!
-AKA soror, (Pittsburgh, PA), from private electronic email to Azizi Powell, 8/13/04; posted on 12/2005

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Example #2: THIS IS A SERIOUS MATTER
I woke up this morning, jumped out of bed,
looked in the mirror and i SHOOK my pretty head
Okay they say i’m conceited, that is no lie….
I’LL BE A CONCEITED AKA UNTIL THE DAY THAT I DIE!
Pretty in pink, gorgeous in green
Since 1908, We’ve rained supreme!
This is a serious matter! YES!
This is a serious matter! YES, YES!
Alpha Kappa Alpha! (Alpha Kappa Alpha!)
SWEET AKA! (SWEET AKA!)
The first black sorority (echo)
WE PAVED THE WAY! (echo)
THIS IS A SERIOUS MATTER!
-Guest, Fraternity & Sorority Chants and Songs; http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=103135&messages=76 ; 3/10/2010

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Example #3: THIS IS A SERIOUS MATTER
1 9 0 8
We are the first Black Greek sorority
We wear our twenty pearls
[?]
When you see us with our heads held high
And say [?] our noses are always in the sky
‘Cause this is What?
Ah serious matter.
Group does step routines without chanting
Ah serious matter.
-BHSMouse; AKA GMU
Probate; Fall 08; Omicron Iota step; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wyvnuGq5vLs&feature=related ; January 31, 2009
(transcription by Azizi Powell, 5/19/2010)

Editor: The question mark in brackets means that I’m not certain about what the step team chanted. If you know this chant or can better decipher what is being said, please correct or add to this transcription by posting the words to this chant in the comment section below. Thanks!

Here’s that video:
AKA Step…A Serious Matter

Uploaded by BHSMouse on Jan 31, 2009

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Example #4: THIS IS A SERIOUS MATTER
We are the first black greek sorority.
Not DST, Not ZPhiB.
Sigma Gamma Rho. I don’t think so.
Is it red and white? Is it red and gold?
Delta Sigma Theta you don’t even know
Because on one bright and sunny day
all of your founders pledged AKA.
So greet me Delta and step back in line
because you don’t know who you are
and you can’t make up your mind.” …
This is a serious matter! YES!
This is a serious matter!
-The “Sensational” Sigma Epsilon Chapter’ Spring 2003; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmvCmuFfycM&feature=related

[This transcription was posted as a comment by video viewer Psionix9 in 2008. That video no longer exists.]

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Example #5:
[Pancocojams Editor’s Note: This is my partial transcription of a YouTube sound file. After the preface (which I only partially transcribed), a call & response chant is performed which gives positive shout outs to the three other sororities that are members of the “Divine Nine”*, and ends with a positive shout out to Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.]

Preface:
[female speaking] Hey y’all look.
We really really should put on a [??] about how we were the first
and how everybody came from us, how everybody tryin to be like us
[another female speaking] – un hun
[A number of females speaking at the same time.] – Well, it’s the truth.. And all those wannabees…
It’s a serious matter….

[This chant begins at .047 in this sound file]

[Entire Group] This is a serious matter
Yes
This is a serious matter
Yes Yes
Lead – Alpha Kappa Alpha
Group- Alpha Kappa Alpha
Lead- Sweeet A.K.A.
Group- Sweeet A.K.A.
Lead- The first Black sorority
Group- The first Black sorority
Lead – We paved the way
Group- We paved the way
[Entire Group] This is a serious matter
Yes
This is a serious matter
Yes Yes
Lead – To Delta Sigma Theta
Group- To Delta Sigma Theta
Lead -Oh, DST
Group- Oh, DST
Lead-We would like to thank you
Group- We would like to thank you
Lead – For serving the community
Group- For serving the community
[Entire Group] This is a serious matter
Yes
This is a serious matter
Yes Yes
Lead – To Zeta Phi Beta
Group- To Zeta Phi Beta
Lead- Oh, ZPhiB
Group- Oh, ZPhiB
Lead-We would like to thank you
Group- We would like to thank you
Lead -For your positivity
Group- For your positivity
[Entire Group] This is a serious matter
Yes
This is a serious matter
Yes Yes
Lead -To Sigma Gamma Rho
Group- To Sigma Gamma Rho
Lead- Oh, SGRho
Group- Oh, SGRho
Lead- We appreciate you
Group- We appreciate you
Lead -And we thought you’d like to know
Group-And we thought you’d like to know
[Entire Group] This is a serious matter
Yes
This is a serious matter
Yes Yes
Lead- Alpha Kappa Alpha
Group- Alpha Kappa Alpha
Lead- Sweeet AKA
Group- Sweeet AKA
Lead -Founded in 08
Group-Founded in 08
Lead -And we’re here to stay
Group- And we’re here to stay
[Entire Group] This is a serious matter
Yes
This is a serious matter
Yes Yes
This is a serious matter
Yes
This is a serious matter
Lead- A very serious [said at the same time the rest of the Group says]
Yes Yes
Yes Yes

Here’s that sound file: “Serious Matter,” Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Alisha Jones, Jan 14, 2012
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*From http://www.blackgreek.com/divinenine/
“The Divine Nine and the National Pan-Hellenic Council
There are nine historically Black Greek letter organizations (BGLOs) that make up the National Pan-Hellenic Council. Collectively, these organizations are referred to as “The Divine Nine.” Each of these fraternities and sororities is rich in history – ties to one or more of these organizations may be found in many college-educated Black families in the United States.”
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A list of the Divine 9 historically Black Greek letter sororities and fraternities (with their founding date and university) is found on that page.

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ADDITIONAL SHOWCASE VIDEOS
Video #1: Alpha Kappa Alpha: Probate ’11 @ Auburn Uni-Part III

iconlb, Uploaded on Dec 5, 2011

ΚΧ Fall 2K11_Part III
Alpha Kappa Alpha: Kappa Chi’s new members presentation.
“A Serious Matter”
The PHinale.
***Any music used is for entertainment purposes. No copyright infringement intended.***

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Video #2: 2010 Sprite Step-Off Finals: Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA) Performance

PulseOneMedia, Published on Mar 27, 2010

https://ift.tt/2MnsBid – Video of the Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA) step team during the 2010 Sprite Step-Off which was executive produced by Ludacris. The Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA) step team used a Law & Order scenario as the theme for their performance during the 2010 Sprite Step-Off. This was there story!
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The portion of this video that showcases the chant “This Is A Serious Matter” chant is found at 2:12-2:51

April 10, 2018- This video replaces a previous video of this performance that is no longer available.

This step team was first awarded 2nd place in that competition but, after considerable uproar, was awarded 1st place along with the previously awarded 1st place winners, a White sorority Zeta Tau Alpha from the University of Arkansas. Click http://couldntkeepit.wordpress.com/2010/03/02/a-serious-matter/ for commentary about this Sprite Step Off™ competition & decision.

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Video #3: Greekster.tv – Serious Matter AKA

greekstertv, Uploaded on Dec 27, 2009

Interviewing the sisters of AKA at the Rutgers 10th Annual LTA Step, Stroll and Salute Exhibition

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Video #4: Serious Matter

Brandon C, Published on Sep 26, 2009

The Omicron Sigma Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

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