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Review: Netflix’s ‘Step Sisters’ is a hit… and a miss

Corny and cringey at the same time.

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I’ll admit when I heard that Netflix was coming out with a movie centered around a white sorority stepping, I didn’t know what to think. Actually, I’ll show you what I thought…

As someone who is familiar with black fraternity and sorority traditions and customs, I knew this film had to bring something special to the table. If it didn’t, people were going to trash it for sure.

(Image: Los Angeles Media Fund)

After watching the film, I realized it was something I wouldn’t immediately turn off. Unlike most movies on Netflix, the acting in Step Sisters is surprisingly really good.

The film tells the story of dedicated (and legacy) member of Theta Chi Phi Jamilah, played by Megalyn Echikunwoke, and her pursuit of Harvard Law School.

Desperate to fulfill her Harvard destiny and receive a coveted Alumni recommendation letter, Jamilah begins to coach Sigma Beta Beta, a white sorority who have been suspended, in stepping.

As much as I want to root for this film, there are some questions I can’t keep to myself.

  1. Why do all black people in the film have to be so discriminatory to the white team? Being mean is one thing, but they were just downright disrespectful. Would a black sorority be upset that one of its members is teaching a white sorority something so sacred? Yes. But they would have something to say about race in every interaction they have with the member. Let’s be real.
  2. Why are there so many microaggressions that the lead never acknowledged?  Jamilah’s boyfriend Dane, played by Matt McGory is a walking microaggression, Dean Berman is a microaggression and even the members of Sigma Beta Beta are microaggressions. If Jamilah is so woke, why isn’t she calling them out in the beginning?
  3.  How is this film corny and cringy at the same time? I feel like this question warrants no explanation. Watch it for yourself, you’ll understand.

The movie will make you smile and even laugh at times, but if you’re familiar with HBCU and black greek culture you’ll also wonder how writer Chuck Hayward (Dear White People) could write and release something so ill-informed.

The movie strives to be a Stomp the Yard for all shades, but in reality, it’s just a Bring It On/Pitch Perfect hybrid that got lost in translation.

The film is now streaming on Netflix. Check out the trailer below.

Are you looking for digital journalism training and experience? Are you a journalism major who wants to take your career to the next level? CMN’s Digital Journalism course gives you real-time experience, intense feedback on your writing, exposure to journalism influencers and mentors, and a great place to display your work. You can get academic credit too. Check out the Digital Journalism Course here.

Laura Eley serves as a Digital Producer for the College Media Network. She attends Spelman College in Atlanta, GA where she majors in English. In her free time, Laura enjoys brunch, cooking, and binge watching Law and Order SVU for an unhealthy amount of time.

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