Florida A&M’s social media team has been in overdrive with their recent microphone-enabled content. First, it was FAMU softball player Melkayla Irvis singing Musiqsoulchild’s “Love” during warm-up practice, prompting the Grammy-nominated artist to give her a virtual nod of approval. Next up was cheerleading captain Nailah Clarington to rise to viral fame.
As soon as it was her turn to grace the mic, she was instant internet gold. Clarington was filmed giving her “honest opinion” during a home basketball game from her cheering seat on the touchline.
“From the fans to the stands. From the team to the coaches; they can get it,” Clarington yelled in the now-viral TikTok video. The senior cheerleader’s “commentary” was so good it garnered countless reposts from platforms like ESPN and Blavity, and Clarington’s bold in-game energy was seen and liked by millions across the country.
In a recent interview with SiriusXM NBA Radio, Nailah Clarington discusses her newfound fame since the video went viral.
Clarington said player heckling is nothing new to those who know them and even returning fans. “It feels like a normal game to me. That’s the kind of conversations that me and my teammates have all the time, so to me it’s crazy and funny that the world is blowing up this one clip.” Clarington shared that her basketball connections within her family broke her up prepared their years of playful heckling.
If you’ve ever attended a FAMU sporting event, you know the student section doesn’t come to play. During the interview, Clarington jokes that she’s never alone on the sidelines and talks to opposing players to get under their skin. “One time the players were abused so badly and it had to get out of hand when we (FAMU) played NC A&T on the football field two years ago. A fight almost broke out between the player and the student section. I was like, ‘Woah’, we got under his skin with this, good job guys. Despite the high emotions, we all understand that between the heckling there is love.”
Since becoming a viral sensation, Clarington hasn’t felt any difference because students on campus along with their friends are already used to her heckling. But other teachers and students on campus who aren’t as familiar now recognize her as the “Girl from SportsCenter.” “The teachers know I would never be so loud or disrespectful in their class, but overall the support from my campus and community has been great.”
But all good things must come to an end. This will be Clarington’s final season on the FAMU cheerleading team; She will graduate this spring.
But first, Nailah will be back on the sidelines… Not as a cheerleader, but as a reporter at HBCU Gameday for coverage of the April 15 Florida A&M Orange and Green spring game.
FAMU Cheerleader Nailah Clarington Responds To Viral Internet Fame