Where All the Action Happens: The Adams Housing Day Video
A century later, three of those ten thousand men have changed that.
You’ll be hard pressed to find any Harvard fans belting out lines about Old Eli and Harvard holding sway at The Game this weekend – but shout “We be in Adams!” in the vicinity of any Crimson-clad student and it’s a near-guarantee that you’ll be met with a resounding “that’s where all the action happens!”
Why? Last March’s Adams Housing Day video, a brainchild of junior running back and Adams House resident BJ Watson.
“The video was definitely spearheaded by BJ Watson, as most things are,” said defensive back and video co-creator Isaiah Wingfield. “Freshman year, we saw the Housing Day videos and knew that wherever we went, we would definitely do our best to make one. BJ led the way.”
Every year, the Thursday before undergraduates head home for spring break, Harvard hosts a tradition unique among its Ivy League competitors: Housing Day. That morning, as freshmen gather with their blocking groups – the other first-years with whom they’ve chosen to live – upperclassmen students storm their dorms, announcing which of Harvard’s twelve houses each block has been sorted into for the next three years.
However, before that adrenaline-fueled affair even begins comes the release of the Housing Day videos, with each upperclassmen dorm producing a music video to tout the perks of their own house and dispraise the other eleven. Each video is different – some are musical-esque, others are parodies – but Adams’ 2018 video stood apart from the rest both in its production and composure.
“We have a lot of talent in our group, so I was like you know what, we’re going to make a Housing Day video,” Watson said. “I figured that if we dropped something crazy, it might go down in history as one of the toughest ones to beat. And then the second we tried, we all sat down and came up with some good ideas.”
The group Watson is referring to: the large population of football players in Adams House. According to Wingfield, sixteen juniors and “a whole bunch” of seniors on the team call Adams House home, an outlier that junior running back Devin Darrington welcomes with open arms.
“It feels good seeing those guys out on the field and then seeing them when I go home to sleep,” Darrington said. “We really bond together; we're like a family. We come out here and ball together and then go home together and play Xbox.”
Though the video’s production was largely led by members of that football family, Watson and Co. made sure to include students from around the house. The video begins with a few members of the football team, along with a squad of other Adams students, dancing outside the house as Darrington drops his now-famous line: We be in Adams.
“We really tried to implement the diversity [of Adams] into the video,” Watson said. “We had John Jenkins' country rap in there, we had the girls rapping in there – we tried to mix it up, to implement different aspects of the house. That’s the thing I appreciate most [about Adams], going in there and seeing a bunch of different faces, but knowing that it’s all family.”
There’s nothing that encapsulates that sentiment more than the video’s final few lines. After a segment featuring the dining hall staff, Adams students are shown walking through the house in pairs, defensive end Justin Mitchell highlighting the house’s diversity with lines asking how many “athletes,” “geeks,” and “mathletes” Adams has. To each question, the crowd responds with a unanimous “a lot.”
“The best moment was probably Justin Mitchell, who did the last part of the video,” Wingfield said. “When he pulled up with Pepper the Dog, that was just classic.”
For the football players of Adams, the release of the Housing Day video was just the first quarter. Since March, the video has garnered almost 40,000 views, cementing its place as one of the most-viewed Harvard Housing Day videos of all time.
“When we dropped [the video] we were trying to get to five or ten thousand views, and we thought that would be great,” Wingfield said. “But then we looked it up five days later and we were at 14,000 views, and it just kept climbing.”
That climb is far from over. The Crimson ranked Adams’ video the best of the year, and according to its stars, there’s no escaping from the recognition that comes with being a YouTube sensation.
“People are still talking about it on campus,” Darrington said. “They'll see me and be like we be in Adams! It's a good feeling that people are watching our video.”
“I was at the half-marathon over the weekend and I had two people come up to me and say great Housing Day video,” Wingfield added. “It's still buzzing, which is pretty exciting.”
On the field, the men from Adams House are enjoying just as much success. Darrington currently leads the team in rushing yards and places second in points per game, with Watson shining both on the ground and in the air. On the defensive side, Wingfield is just as dominant, posting 32 tackles and 1.5 sacks over the course of the season. However, Darrington is quick to admit that he has not quite caught all projectiles thrown his way this year.
“During the filming [of the video], I got hit in the face with a snowball,” said Darrington. “They had to redo the footage because I couldn't open my eyes for a second – but other than that, the process was all smooth.”
Smooth may be an understatement – since the video’s release, both Darrington and Watson have reported numerous requests for a sequel. Thus, the question remains: will Adams House remain in the spotlight next year?
“I don’t know if we should just let the video marinate for a little bit, or go for a trilogy: three years in a row of fire videos,” said Watson. “You know that everyone’s going to come harder this year because we’ve set the bar – maybe we should just let other people have their fun and then come back two years from now and really shut them down. We’ll see.”
The trio certainly still has time to decide. With just over a year-and-a-half left in their Harvard careers, the players still have lots of opportunities to continue making their marks, whether that be on the field, in the classroom, or on film. No matter what they accomplish, pride will most definitely be abound in Adams House – after all, that’s where all the action happens.
—Staff writer James Joyce can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.