Popcorn Addict: Step
There are a ton of myths about Baltimore. Those myths were exacerbated after the tragic murder of Freddie Gray and the subsequent protests in the city. This documentary helps debunk some of the counter-narratives you hear about the people of Baltimore in the news.
The documentary directed by Amanda Lipitz (Legally Blonde the Musical for Broadway) follows the lives of three high school seniors at the Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women in Baltimore who created the school's first step team, the Lethal Ladies of BLSYW. The girls will be the first cohort to graduate from this new school, where the Principal and counselors expect 100% of their students to be accepted to college. When their step captain's grades fall below a 2.0, making her ineligible to step during her junior year, her team suffered several competition losses that year. Now that senior year is here, will the girls triumph while juggling personal and academic obligations?
I didn't read much about this movie before seeing it. I knew it was big at Sundance and people I trusted recommended it. I thought it was purely a dance movie. It is a lot more than that. You are instantly invested in the lives of these girls as you watch them go through the struggles of adolescence, navigating family problems and financial problems, school and social pressures, and community problems following the murder of Freddie Gray. These girls were intelligent, charmastic, and incredibly talented. You can't help but cheer for them along the way. In addition to seeing these ladies succeed, I was beyond impressed with the love, care, and investment of their school personnel. ALL youth need this level of investment from their schools and communities.
Overall, LOVED IT!!! Epitome of Black Girl Magic. We need more of these narratives on film. The documentary received rave reviews from the Sundance Film Festival which ultimately lead to a $4 million dollar bidding war, which Fox Searchlight won. It is in limited released (shout out to the Alamo Drafthouse in Denver for showing it!), so please try to catch it if you can. I would encourage you to take young ones with you as well. I wish the best of luck to these amazing young women featured!
Have you seen Step? How amazing is that school?!?! Are you not able to because of your location? Leave your reactions in the comments!
P.S. These ladies have been doing big things since filming ending. Attending Sundance. Meeting Black Girl Magic Queen Michelle Obama. Live your best lives ladies!