Written by | Ray Cornelius 

RC was in the building Thursday night for the special press reception for FOX Searchlight’s newest film, “STEP.” The invite-only event took place at the fabulous Le Meridien New Orleans and was attended by the cast and the film’s director—Amanda Lipitz.

‘STEP’ is the true-life story of a girls’ high-school step dance team in Baltimore. Empowered by their teachers, teammates, counselors, coaches and families, they chase their ultimate dreams: to win a step championship and to be accepted into college. This all female school is reshaping the futures of its students’ lives by making it their goal to have every member of their senior class accepted to and graduate from college, many of whom will be the first in their family to do so. Deeply insightful and emotionally inspiring, STEP embodies the true meaning of sisterhood through a story of courageous young women worth cheering for!  The film also takes viewers into the personal lives of three of the steppers, Blessin Giraldo, Cori Grainger and Tayla Solomon and how family and faith play a big role in their overall success.

I got a chance to view the film before going to reception and I must say I was totally inspired. As a member of an African American Greek-lettered organization (Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.), I am so proud that our rich tradition of stepping is not only providing people with entertainment but it is changing and transforming the minds of the next generation.

For the girl’s step coach, Gari McIntyre, this journey with ‘STEP’ is more than she could have ever imagined and it has given her a renewed sense of purpose for her life.

“These young ladies have taught me more than I have taught them. I’ve learned that I am a nuturer. I’ve learned that step is my vessel to mentor young people and I should use that vessel so that I can change the world. I’ve learned that when you educate and pour yourself into young people, you’re pouring into the future of young America. I’ve learned so much from them and who I am in my strength and my resilience.”

“STEP” is the winner of the Documentary Special Jury Award for Inspirational Filmmaking at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival.  Check out the trailer below and catch the film when it opens in theaters nationwide on August 4.

Photo Credits: FOX Searchlight and RayCornelius.com