‘Step’ an accurate portrayal of harsh realities, Black girl perseverance (Merecedes' Movie Review Aug. 16)

Director Amanda Lipitz, second from left, poses for a portrait with dancers Cori Grainger, left, Talya Solomon and Blessin Giraldo, right, to promote the film, “Step,” at the Music Lodge during the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Taylor Jewell, AP)

The step team at the Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women in Baltimore, Maryland is on a quest to win the biggest step competition in the country. The team has competed many times before and never placed. In “Step,” a film crew follows three high school seniors throughout the school year as they prepare for the competition and, presumably, life.
The competition isn’t the only thing Cori, Blessin, and Tayla have to worry about. The obvious obstacles arise during the last year of high school like college applications, studying hard and getting good grades. The personal problems are equally overwhelming, too.
“Step” is an eloquent interpretation of what young Black girls all around the world endure every single day. Even as minors, the real world, adult-like pressures weighing on their shoulders are deafening.
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In the film, their tears cut through the harsh reality of shut-off notices, unhealthy family composition, and other elements that children typically don’t have to deal with. Each young lady had problems at home that spilled over in school and on the step team. But, they persevered and continued to evolve into the best women they could be.
Isn’t that the essence of Black Girl Magic, though? After all of the stones have been thrown, after all of the doors have been closed, after all of the negativity, it is the unexplainable perseverance of Black women that keeps us shining so bright and standing tall.
Blessin reminded me so much of myself, and the four wonderful years I had at Schenley High School. Although college acceptance letters poured in my senior year, it was my attitude and dismissive disposition on life that kept me from so many other opportunities. I still hold that sassy, unapologetic demeanor, but some of life’s biggest, humbling lessons were taught during my last year of high school. Like Blessin, I was standing in my own way of reaching my fullest potential.
I loved everything about “Step.” I have no complaints. A lot of thought and creativity went into creating “Step,” and it shows. Cori, Blessin, and Tayla are a sweet, mirrored image of the talents and gifts that young Black learners possess.
The documentary film is currently on limited release. As of deadline, I’m unable to confirm which theaters in Pittsburgh will be showing the documentary, but I can confirm that the Manor Theatre, 1729 Murray Ave. in Squirrel Hill, will show “Step” beginning Friday, Aug. 18.
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