Despite the controversy surrounding the premiere of “Stomp The Yard,” Greeks at Florida A&M University are excited about viewing the film.
“Not since ‘School Daze’ has there been a film that centered about HBCU life,” said Phillip Agnew, 21, a senior business administration student from Chicago. “I am happy that the people who are telling the story are people that actually experienced HBCU life.”
The movie is about a young man from a troubled neighborhood in Los Angeles who goes to a historically black college in Atlanta.
While there, DJ, played by Columbus Short, becomes part of a fraternity and participates in a step competition. As he assists the fraternity in the step show, the fraternity teaches him life lessons.
“I think ‘Stomp the Yard’ will show the technique and the history of stepping and its popularity and make it popular worldwide,” said James Wright, a senior elementary education student from Miami and member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.
The movie’s producers, Will Packer and Rob Hardy, both alumni of Florida A&M University and members of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., have put together a film that tries to show the Greek life to people who are not familiar with it.
“I had no idea what Greek life was before I came to college,” said Amelia McDonald, 23, a senior economics student from Plant City.
The movie is praised for showing the positive side of greek life at historically black colleges and universities.
“I think black Greek life has gone through a lot of tarnishing and bad media publicity,” Agnew said referring to the hazing trial of five members of the Alpha Xi Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. “Now that this film is coming out, hopefully we can exhibit some of the positive things, (such as) the brotherhood, the sisterhood, the camaraderie and the clean competition that stepping brings.”
McDonald, who auditioned to step in the movie as one of the members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., felt there were many original steps.
“If you watched the homecoming step shows, you will see a lot more tricks with the stepping the same way you will see it in the movie,” McDonald said referring to the final step show scene.
Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. disagreed with the use of the organization’s letters and insignia in the film, but was pleased with the result.
“The removal of all references in the film to the fraternity is based in part on the fraternity leadership insisting that we observe our written policies and internal protocols regarding the commercial use of our symbols and marks,” said a press release from Alpha Phi Alpha General President Darryl R. Matthews Sr.
Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc., Screen Gems Studios and Rainforest Pictures agreed to revise the film.
“We are in the film,” said Agnew, who is also an Alpha. “They took the letters off but the colors are the same and a lot of the look and feel.”
Sony Pictures and Gem Inc. agreed also to make donations to the Martin Luther King Memorial Foundation, as King was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.