Marissa Lee, the first Black president of Phi Mu Sorority, has decided to speak out on her monumental achievement and why she went from considering the Divine Nine to joining her current organization at the University of Alabama.
Social media for met Lee on TikTok with a video that has over one million views. The event called “Bama Rush” when young women at the University of Alabama scout and are scouted by the sororities of their choice had briefly taken over the white side of TikTok. That is when Lee decided to post.
@mar_lifebelikeIt’s time for that TRUE ##bamarush tea ##phimu ##rush ##sorority♬ original sound – Marissa Lee
“I was the first Black president of Phi Mu…that big white house y’all have been seeing…so I got [sic] the tea,” Lee said.
@mar_lifebelikeThe tea is HOT so pick your brew🙊☕️ ##bamarush ##bamarushtok ##sorority♬ original sound – Marissa Lee
In another video, Lee explained that in 2017, she and about seven other young Black women decided to go through rush. This decision came after the school was on the news for the lack of integration in their fraternities and sororities.
She thanked a friend named Kennedy for opening the door to them and said it was a “sea of rice when she first entered.” However, within three years, three of the Black women had become presidents of the chapter.
Lee’s choice to pledge Phi Mu was quite a change. She initially thought that she would join one of the Divine Nine organizations.
The Divine Nine is the name of the nine historically Black sororities and fraternities.
“I had spent most of my life believing I would be a Divine Nine,” Lee said.
However, she received an invitation to a Phi Mu event called the Birmingham Christmas Tea after all of the bad press. Initially, Lee feared that it was a superficial diversity push.
Lee thought about how she had navigated a largely white high school and decided that she would not reject Phi Mu due to lack of integration when she could be one of the people to integrate the organization, she explained to Buzzfeed.
When Lee was voted president, it was the week before Donald Trump became president. That was hard for her because some of her Phi Mu sisters celebrated his victory.
In addition, she dealt with unfair treatment, such as being the only president in history not to have her own parking spot and older members refusing to take her seriously.
By her senior year, Lee was accused of things she did not do, namely encouraging underage drinking, and the sorority put her on probation. Her mental health suffered, and she recalled spending time in her room in the sorority house sobbing in her bed.
Lee said she does not regret joining Phi Mu for all of the headaches and heartbreak. She hopes that other Black women don’t have to experience the same negatives that she did in the future.