Stepping: It’s our tradition

Netflix released the movie “Step Sisters” on Jan. 19. The movie touches on many topics regarding race, ethnicity, culture, inclusion, knowing yourself and the theme of loyalty and friendship.

The movie opens with a black sorority stepping in the courtyard in front of students. The president of the sorority is Jamillah Bishop, a senior undergrad student who has her eyes set on attending Harvard Law School. Bishop believes she has a guaranteed spot in law school because both of her parents are alums, but little does she know they denied their letter of recommendation to her because they would like her to create a name for herself instead of mooching off of her parents’ legacy.

Jamillah finds herself in a frustrating position, but opportunity comes knocking when a member of the Sigma Beta Beta sorority was filmed having intercourse on the front lawn of their sorority house during a party. Bishop, who also works in the student affairs office, was approached by her dean and was asked to repair the damage the Beta sorority has caused to the university. In return, the dean and his partner would write a letter of recommendation for Harvard Law and sponsor her schooling.

Bishop, delighted by the opportunity to get into her dream school, decides to take up the challenge to help the Beta sorority. Little does she know, her decision will change her views on certain relationships she holds dear and in return she will find herself in the process. In order to rebuild the reputation of the Beta sorority, the dean came up with the idea of having the Betas participate in a step show charity showcase.

Watching the movie, I had mixed feelings because I can relate to the situation Bishop is in; when she first took the challenge to help the sorority, she was only motivated by her own desires to get into law school. But as the movie progresses she begins to realize the true identity each individual member of the Beta chapter possesses. Bishop not only helps the girls learn rhythm in step but the true meaning of sisterhood in a sorority and to love yourself no matter who you are.

The meaning behind the main message is moving but the controversial topic that has stirred viewers is the concept of a black woman teaching a white sorority the traditions of black Greek life. This was made known in the movie when Bishop brought up the topic of the Betas stepping to her sisters and they laughed at the idea of it. From their reactions, Bishop knew she would have to keep her new task a secret, which is breaking the bond of sisterhood.

The movie left me with mixed feelings. I like to see different races come together and share an experience, but as an African-American woman, our traditions that were passed down from our ancestors should be kept and taught within our culture. This is what keeps us close to our roots.