What a Steppin' Conundrum!

This week, the internet and the airwaves are abuzz with angry Black folk over the issue of Zeta Tau Alpha and their victory at the Sprite Step Off. Some folks are angry because a white sorority won. Others are angry because they feel Black folk should not discriminate against the Zetas because they won a show featuring an art that was created, and until recently, performed exclusively by Blacks. The latter are crying reverse racism. For my part, I found myself part of the first group when I first heard news of the “controversy” on the radio.

“Daggonit!” I yelled at the radio. “White folk have done it again! First they stole mac n’ cheese, collard greens and gumbo from us and are making millions selling “soul food”, and now they are taking step from us. What’s next??”

Fuming, I walked into the house and began doing searches on YouTube to see just how good these white chicks could actually be. I mean, how could they outstep the Alphas? The Deltas? The AKAs??? My anger soon turned to admiration. I mean, these Beckys could step. They stepped so well, they looked like dudes. I was impressed! Even host Ryan Cameron noted “If you can step, YOU CAN STEP.” Skin color didn’t matter; and I found myself a bit ashamed of myself.

So why was everyone so upset and felt like the AKAs were robbed of the competition? The answer lay in their performance. As to be expected, the AKAs were tight. I however had to agree with all the criticism online though: They flipped their hair way too much and took to many pauses between routines – like the were tired. The Zetas on the other hand stepped all the way through, and that takes stamina. In comparing the two shows, something seemed off to me. Like I said, the Zetas stomped like dudes. I can only speculate that some Sigma somewhere thought it would be cute to teach his little Anglo-Saxon beauty how to step and she, being an enterprising young woman, shared the art with the rest of her sorrors saying “Look guys! Look what I can do!”

The rest, as of February 23rd, became history.  This user on YouTube summed it up best:

betadeuce

Pledged APhiA @ Howard in 1990. The first thing I noticed about ZTA’s show was that every step was borrowed. They were dope, but, one critical element of stepping is your own style…reminds me of what HipHop in its former life….Step’s gone pop…….

When it comes to technical prowess and the fundamentals of step, the Zetas took it: hands down. But if you factor in style and originality, I mean honest to goodness innovation? The sisters of Alpha Kappa Alpha Inc. should have come out the original victors. It was like watching a  basketball game where the Zetas were throwing 3 pointers and the AKAs came out dunking on every move.

In the end, what I or anyone else thinks is of no consequence. Sprite caved in to public pressure and opinion and both organizations are $100,000 richer and 1st place winners. The world is a-changin’, my people; the world is a-changin!

*Shaking my head*

White girls steppin’.

  • David S.

    As I type this, a black person, a Ghanaian to boot is going to be skiing in the winter Olympics. I’m sure that 30 years ago, if you grabbed some white person and told them that by the year 2005, the world’s best golfer would be black, they would have laughed at you. It won’t suprise me to see an African skier win a gold medal in our lifetime. I’ve got white coworkers that listen to more contemporary hip hop than I do, and I’m the one shaking my head and thinking “I can’t believe you listen to those artists”

    I think the concept of what is ours and what is theirs disapeared a very long time ago.

  • Yes! The “Snow Leopard”. I forgot about him. There’s an Ethiopian skiing cross country or speed skating as well…I can’t remember which. But yeah, the concept of ours and theirs is fast disappearing. I don’t think it’s GONE yet, but rapidly evaporating for sure.

  • Ngz

    I’ve googled it and can’t figure it out. What is Steppin’? Why is there a black/ white divide? It doesn’t look hip-hoppie to me…it looks like poor man’s cheerleading. Or fat man’s cheerleading. What is it??

  • LOL!! NGZ: Google “step shows”. It’s not fat man’s cheer leading at all. It’s actually better live than it is on video. Usually, black Greek organizations put on step shows, although now churches and and high schools have step teams too.

    There is a black/white divide because black people came up with the concept and now feel like white people are “stealing” it…like the Blues, or jazz.

  • Stella

    hahahaaa David you are so right! Maybe given this global village of ours, migration to other countries, interracial/trans cultural marriages, etc. we have to begin re-defining ourselves as people based on our value systems and not necessarily the music we love listening to, the clothes we wear, the food we eat, etc. I know in Ghana that is how we defined ourselves, our culture – language, food, dress, music and dance, etc etc. and yes, these are a part of who we are but seriously does my wearing kaba and slit really say anything about who i am as a person??

    back to steppin’, watching the ZTAs felt like watching the movie Stomp 🙂 And the beat goes on and on and on and on and on and on and on…