When I ran down Tirhakah Love ’15 in the library and asked him if he would like to be featured as “One in 2000,” he looked utterly perplexed.
Not only had he never heard of the column, but he’d never even picked up a copy of the Record. While I’d never previously assigned homework to an interviewee, I told Tirhakah to go home, peruse past issues and think of interesting things to say. I wasn’t sure how seriously he would take my suggestion, but after our chat, I’m glad to report that he passed the assignment with flying colors.
So how’s life in the purple bubble so far?
It’s pretty much what I expected. I mean, I’m struggling through some classes.
Aren’t we all?
Right? But as far as the social scene … meeehh. I’m working on it.
You’re gonna make it better?
I’m gonna try to make it better. I just want to have fun at parties without having to be drunk. For me, if a party can be more than just standing around and playing beer pong and have people actually dancing and having a good time, I’d much rather do that. I love dancing, so if there’s a party with a good selection of music, then I’ll be there!
I hear you rap as well.
In high school, I wrote a lot of serious raps, basically about being a different kid in a school full of people that had their own cliques. I was kind of odd in a way. I had a lot of friends, but I always felt like I was a little different from how other people perceived me, you know?
You’re preaching to the choir. I think a lot of Ephs feel that way.
Right? It’s hard for kids like us. [Laughs] I just rapped about having a different view on things. I guess I had to grow up pretty quickly. But I think it had benefits. I actually like the person I’ve become.
So what’s been your high of the year?
The first was that five-day weekend. I just sat in my room and did absolutely nothing! The second would have to be a date that I went on. We flowed well, and I was just really happy.
What makes a good date for you?
First, I think a good date is when someone asks someone else out. From what I’ve gathered about Williams College, people don’t ask people out to dates here. That’s kind of weird! Where I come from, people will ask, “Hey, do you wanna go somewhere with me?” But maybe that’s just the South.
Or maybe it’s normal society.
Or maybe it’s normal society. [Laughs] But the second thing is to just be yourself. That sounds so cliché, but people like to put on this front, recite all the accolades they have. But you should just talk to your date like you would anyone else so that person can see the human-ness of you.
Do you have a go-to date location?
I’d like to take someone anywhere on Spring Street, since it’s the bustling metropolis of Williamstown. But definitely outside of the dining hall. If you spend time and money on your date, that actually shows that you are interested in that person.
You are so classy! Williams men, listen up! Tirhakah Love is laying down the law.
I’m actually teaching a class on this! Winter study sophomore year, I’m [planning on] teaching a Swag 101 class.
Are you kidding?
I am totally serious! I got the idea because I walk around Williams, and I see people with low self-confidence. That’s what swag is: confidence. People just need that boost.
Can you give me a preview of lesson one?
Ok, I’m gonna break your mind right now. Understand that you’re already a winner. When you were conceived – I have to make this personal – you were a sex cell. And you beat out three to five million sperm cells just to get to the egg. Your tail was the fastest. Therefore, just because you are alive, you are already a winner.
Wow. Lesson one did indeed break my mind. But can we skip forward a bit?
One of the aspects of my Swag 101 class is learning how to talk. You have to have that je-ne-sais-quoi! To build charisma, you have to put a person in situations where they are forced to talk. That’s why the class is application-based. I’m going to have people ask each other out for a date. Not an actual date, but a scenario.
To sum up, what tips would you give to men and women to boost their swag?
For men? Be comfortable. Always add your personal twist. Music, fashion, the way you talk to women – add your personality to it. For women, it’s similar. But women shouldn’t be chasing men. That’s our job. Women, be content with where you’re at, and wait for that guy to come to you. Make him work.
So if the market for swag coaches takes a hit, what do you want to do after college?
I initially wanted to be an entertainment attorney. I’d love to work with indie artists. Another thing I’ve been playing with is being a poet. But that would be hard.
Hey, you got in to Williams College. You are already a winner!
Exactly! [Laughs] This is why your swag is increasing!
What do you write about?
Struggling with an absent father, nature, I even talk about global warming. Sometimes I write about people I don’t even know. I’m actually releasing a book of my poetry.
That’s fantastic! When?
November 11. A friend who was a spoken word poet linked me up with a publishing company. I sent them my work, and they wanted to see more. It’s going to be released exclusively online, but I want to get it into Water Street Books.
So I hear you’ve got some stories about jump roping.
Yes! So I started jump roping in elementary school, and we went to all these state-wide competitions. It’s so serious! There’s a speed relay, freestyle, double dutch. My entry didn’t believe me when I told them this, but I hold a world record for speed relay.
A) Are you serious? And B) What the heck is speed relay?
I am dead serious! So you work in a team. There’s four people and you’re basically alternating feet. The first person goes for 30 seconds, and they switch and count how many times your right foot touches the ground. When I went to the national championship, we got 620. We beat the world record by 10 for our age division.
That’s incredible! You are actually a winner! So do you have any parting words with the Williams community?
Swag out! That’s it.