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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.

*UPDATE*

An official Sprite spokesperson released this statement via the Facebook group.

“The Sprite Step Off was initially created as a way to recognize talented college students and give out scholarships to help support their higher education. If we put on some entertaining step shows and brought people together along the way, all the better.

After the National Finals Competition this past weekend in Atlanta wrapped, we got together to do our post-competition review and found a scoring discrepancy in the sorority results. After looking at it and looking at it AGAIN, we determined there isn’t a definitive resolution.

Sprite is all about preserving the honesty and integrity of this competition. Because the scoring discrepancy can’t be resolved and due to the really tight margin between the first and second place sorors, we feel that the only right thing to do is to name both Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Tau Chapter & Zeta Tau Alpha, Epsilon Chapter, co-first place winners of the Sprite Step Off.

With these revised results, we’re gonna increase Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Tau Chapter’s scholarship prize to $100K, consistent with what Zeta Tau Alpha also got for their first prize winnings.

Thanks again to everyone who helped make The Sprite Step Off happen. And to one last stroll in the name of unity…”

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?

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About traysay8

Quirky.

Posted on February 24, 2010, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. I agree with this post 100 percent. It is well-written and effectively addresses key issues without any hostility toward to ZTA. However, they need to get the FUCK back. I was emailed this link a fews day ago and immediately grew angry. The shit they did was only raw cuz they are white and are known to have no soul, which in my opinion is essential to stepping. It would only take a few days to find the video they bit thier show from on youtube. It was probably a group of "fine steppin sorors". They can bite all they want but even if they made up their own steps in my eyes it will alway be a rendition of something already done, a recreation of a better performance. From a performance that is embedded in the sandz crossed by the thousands of BLACK greeks bonded together by spirit for LIFE. So in short FUCK them. Keep having your little March Madness and country line dances and leave our shit alone. Goodnight

  2. Its so funny that this is coming about now, I recently learned of an "Out and Greek Conference" for the GLBT community thats in their second year..this makes this funny because African American Greeks were not ask nor wanted at this conference…and thats the gay community you know the one thats supposed to be accepting. Its no secret that our culture is idolized in the white community its no secret that on this and many other occasions our traditions have been "played" down as moments of fun and nothing more but something we need to share while it only increases there statues and lowers ours.So although i didn't actually see the whole step show and can't comment on who i thought should win performance wise, i can say that after watching there show…they were great…for white girlsDO i think they should have been allowed in the show..no we need to have some things for ourselves we need to protect the little traditions we have and hold sacred the things we believe in because once we "Allow" them in what will we have left but more of their scraps

  3. oh and to be fair let me add a nice little "too my knowledge" on the end of the first paragraph.

  4. I just recently watched the 1st airing of the MTV2 special of sprite step off, and I wasn't shocked at all after watching an AKA chpt from the same school as the ZTA say that in the past they have helped the ZTA with their steps and now they are competing in the same step show as them. I always thought that the Sprite Step Off was geared towards the African American sororities and fraternities bcs the winner of the shows are suppose to get a cameo in the movie Stomp the Yard 2, which features the lives of African Americans at ann HBCU. I thought the ZTA did a good job, don't get me wrong, but at the sametime I feel as though they won bcs they are white girls that can step, instead of just being judge solely on the steps and quality of the show.

  5. I agree that I feel like they may have "won" (though recent results show they actually share a first place title) only because they are white women doing something traditionally Black. The part that most upset me was the crowd's reaction to them shaking their asses as if that is sooo exciting. The only excitement is that it is unexpected from a group of white women. But the question isn't really bout them deserving the title. I feel like with most step shows if there isn't an apparent standout, the winners will always be debated. I find their ability to even enter a contest that directly involves a Black tradition is a problem. They should NOT be allowed to participate in a COMPETITION directly involving Black traditions. Especially a tradition that has long been exclusive to Black Greeks. They can step all they want to for fun, to actually feel comfortable enough to compete, that's a problem. Whoever was responsible for teaching them steps should have made that clear. In my opinion, of course! lol

  6. We got president obama n the white house cuz he was good at what he does so some white girls can win a step show if they was good. Its 2010 lol.

  7. First of all good article, As a MADE black greek I understand where you are coming from with your frustrations. I thought they did a decent job and to be honest Im not TOO offended (a little curious) on them winning. I think the bigger issue is NPHC and the Divine 9 and what the organizations are doing as a whole. (Gonna get myself in trouble BUT I DONT CARE!!!) WE AS NPHC Greeks have let MONEY overun TRADITION!!! I really wanna meet the people in each organization that turned something so sacred into a business (THAT PISSES ME OFF!!!) Granted you can't be out here hazing all willy nilly, but when our traditions are "watered down" what do expect? When Black Greeks let people (that wanna be Greek) emulate Greek life and have crossing jackets and names WHAT DO YOU EXPECT??? WHY THE HELL ARE DANCE TEAMS HAVING CROSSING JACKETS AND GREEKS THINKING THAT SHIT IS OK??? Why do Greeks constantly put each other down instead of lifting each other up and support them. My experience was GREAT until the last 2 years at my old school, it was at that point I realized damn people ain't what they used to be. So when this ZTA whens a step show I'm not surprised because I feel people are not taking care of business already. Maybe I come from a different mentality, but at the end of the day people shouldn't have been surprised because alot of people have been "SKATING" and not working. Greeks should STOP bragging (about shit they probably didn't do anyways) and put their foot down. THAT IS ALL LOL!!!

  8. The K’s were tighter!

  9. Maj M. B. Parlor

    04/10/2010

    “ZTA – First Place Stepping – Off”

    LMBO – There is no truth to the rumor regarding the Women from the Zeta Tau Alpha (ZTA) Fraternity (University of Arkansas), having me as their coach, prior to the “Sprite Step – Off Competition” in Atlanta. (I participate in nothing named after “a disemboweled spirit,” which defines “sprite”).

    I still drink Coca Cola even though they acted as if White College Coeds could not be the Sole Winners in what is considered “A Black Activity.” Hmm, I should Coach the College of Charleston ZTA Lasses for 2011……..

    On A Serious Note: I Tip My Cowboy Hat to the ZTA Lasses who took First Place !

    As One who knows all – too – well what it was / still like to be told certain events were not meant for me because of ethnicity, I find the debate regarding whether a “White” team should have been allowed to participate in an event “intended for Black Greeks,“ extremely Hypocritical.

    Interestingly, during my college days (1976 – 1981), I was the only Black on the Sailing Team, the Surfing Team, as well as later becoming Head Lifeguard, when I was the only Black Lifeguard. But then, I was usually the only Black in most of my classes. I received little / no support from Black Greek organizations on – campus. Although I never joined a fraternity, the White Greek organizations (especially ZTA), supported me when no one else did…….

    Semper Fi,
    “Major Pain”

  10. Gia kritiki epprtoih to akousa k egw gia Manwlidou. Kai h alh8eia einai oti efoson o ANT1 dn ths fer8hke kala poly kala 8a kanei… Oso gia th thea Elenh nai 8elw na th dw epitelous se parousiash show pisteuw 8a einai e3airetikh!

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