After the screening of the movie in Brooklyn Thursday night the cast alongside the director came to speak about the production of the film.
Step is a story about young women from Baltimore who are overcoming their odds. The movie showcases the lives of Blessin Giraldo, Cori Grainger and Tayla Solomon as they go through the motions of their senior year of high school. It also shows the importance of supporting black girls so they can become strong black women.
The girls have finished their first year of college and their lives have changed drastically since this film premiered at Sundance. Director Amanda Lipitz first got the idea when Blessin came up to her and said, “Next time you come to school with cameras, you’re going to come film our step team.” Lipitz spoke on how she had seen these girls progress over the last 7 years from them being in the 6th grade to the 12th grade graduating as the founding class.
These girls not only wanted their stories heard, but wanted to use the platform they had to speak on other issues that they saw in their community such as the Black Lives Matter movement. “Being black young women from Baltimore City sometimes the world tends to underestimate you and your abilities. While we stepped we directly had people’s attention…so we figured why not use this moment to just educate the audience of the social injustices we see in our immediate community every day,” said Blessin. These girls not only wanted to tell their stories, but also tell those of the people around them which wouldn’t have happened without their coach. Gari “Coach G” Mclntyre wanted to shape these young women for the world that was out there, “I need you to understand that when you leave from me you’re going to be prepared,” she said of her mentality.
So these young women practiced and struggled until they began to win their competitions and made it through their Senior year. With the Class of 2015 all getting into college, Paula Dofat their college counselor pushed them all to make that possible. When it came to them being in college she claimed she didn’t keep tabs on the girls because that is another position claiming “We need people to excel in the lanes they’re placed in.” She went on to describe how the older generations need to support the youth in whatever they decide their life paths are whether it’s college or trade school.
The girls discussed where their lives have gone since the movie, about how they have grown as individuals and what has changed. Tayla spoke on the camaraderie that the girls feel on the team and how it has kept them close all this time. They needed to, “be a sister to one another.” This bond has not only allowed them to become a winning step team, but has allowed them to grow into women they are today. Cori having finished her first year at John Hopkins exclaimed that schooling programs need to be better because as valedictorian of her class she said “I didn’t feel I was prepared for what Hopkins had to offer…but I did a lot better than I expected.”
The ladies have been exposed to a lot more opportunities since the movie has been released which they adore however they wish those same opportunities could have happened without it. With this movie, not only have they grown, but the voices of their community have been amplified.