Greek life on college campuses, and specifically the pledging process, was recently given attention in Netflix's original film Burning Sands. Predictably, the taboo topic garnered some interest and criticism from the African-American fraternity and sorority community.
Such is the case with the recently released film Step Sisters, which looks at Greek life through a different lens: a Black sorority teaching a white sorority the ins and outs of the art of stepping.
Chuck Hayward, the writer of the film, opened up about embracing the criticisms of cultural appropriation that Step Sisters has received since the premise was first released to the public. He explained that he and those who helped create the movie consciously decided to intertwine this subject into the work's fabric.
"Cultural appropriation is a theme that we dealt with a lot in the script," he said. "I feel like people are getting the impression that it didn't cross our minds and it's something that is a core principle of the movie... The same attitudes that people have that may make them a little hesitant about the movie is the same thing that [Megalyn Echikunwoke's] character has to think about undertaking this venture, so she sort of has this internal struggle with, 'Is this something she's willing to do?' 'Is this something she thinks is appropriate?'"
Hayward also stressed that this is coming from a place of authentic experience for him, as he is a member of a fraternity himself who is familiar with stepping and Greek culture firsthand.
"I'm an Alpha, so definitely throughout the writing of the film and the production of it, it was my interest to ensure that we presented it in a very dignified way [where] the white sorority that learns the stepping, they don't just learn the stepping, they learn a lot of the things that create the unity in Black organizations," he added.
See what else Hayward and the cast of the film have to say about expectations, the filming process and more in the BET video above.
Step Sisters is available today (January 19) for streaming exclusively on Netflix.
(Photo: Daniel McFadden/Netflix)