OPINION WORLD: Sprite Step Off 2010 Winners Are…. ZETA TAU ALPHA?!? *UPDATED*
I am a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. As a result, I of course, have a vested interest in Black Greek life and Greek life in general. I had the pleasure of attending the Chicago finals for the Sprite Step Off Challenge. Deservingly, the men of Alpha Phi Alpha and the women of Alpha Kappa Alpha won and qualified for the next round.
I didn’t find the show to be incredibly breathtaking as a whole. I feel the Annual Greek Scene event hosted at my alma mater, Illinois State University, usually presented a better show. But I digress. The finals for the step competition were held in Atlanta and the winners were announced. In a (not so) surprising move, the women of Zeta Tau Alpha, a historically white sorority, took the crown. Peep their performance below.
First and foremost, they did a good job. But that isn’t what I am here to address.
Before I get into the Greek portion of this discussion, let me first address the obvious. This is a white sorority with white steppers in an event that is catered to black fraternities and sororities and black steppers. This is MY blog, so I am going to state my opinion. We (as in Black people) have been and will always be representative of what is popular culture. We know that as we watch people emulate our style, our creativity, our finesse. Our culture is rich and full of history. This history includes Black Greek life. Say what you want about the rumors or stories associated with being a Black Greek, but as a whole, I find the experience to be both enriching and essential to who I am today.
In my experience as a Black Greek, I have learned the meaning behind many of the traditions we do. Many of them are sacred to us and hold special meaning. Some are newer than others, but the age does not determine the weighted value of the tradition. Yes, the Black Greek system has its roots in Masonic beliefs and traditions. Yes, Black Greek organizations mirrored that of white Greek organizations when we as a people were not allowed to become members of the organization. Symbolic hand signs, strolling, and stepping were uniquely Black Greek experiences. Line jackets, “ship names,” and “line names” also developed.
The Black Greek experience has been watered down due to popular culture. But we’ve seen that done with just about everything. The difference is many traditions in Black Greek life are sealed in secrecy. The issue with watering down specific traditions that are essential to the Black Greek experience is the public doesn’t see the value. I will not go into a long and storied history of movies like “School Daze” and “Stomp the Yard” and their effect on Black Greek life.
My focus are the women of Zeta Tau Alpha and their win in the Sprite Step Off. I am not an early Malcolm X (though I do idolize him). I do not believe we need to create separation to achieve equality. I do, however, feel that some things to need to be held sacred to maintain unique cultural identities. There are conflicting views of the orgins of stepping within BGLOs. Despite the dispute, is it not a Black thing?!? I find it disturbing that a white sorority would even consider entering a competition that is aimed towards Black fraternities and sororities. Even the advertising was clearly aimed towards us. My Line Sister and Pledge Daughter taped the local commercial for the event!
What have we lost as Black Greek lettered organizations? I am not saying our focus should instead be primarly stepping. But aren’t BGLOs multi-faceted? Isn’t the beauty of our organizations that we know how to incorporate the social aspect with the academic and political and service points of our respective fraternities and sororities? Is anything sacred?
I commend Zeta Tau Alpha for a good show. But I am also worried that traditions of value that are unique to the Black Greek experience are being lost. I am in no way dissing Zeta Tau Alpha. The did really well. What do you think?!
Your thoughts are GREATLY appreciated.
An official Sprite spokesperson released this statement via the Facebook group.
The women of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Tau Chapter, were bumped up to first place as well. Here is the OTHER winning performance… smh
What is the credibility of the competition looking like now?