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Alpha Kappa Alphas and Alpha Phi Alphas win Chicago Sprite Step Off

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Message from Montie

Shamontiel is the author of two novels: "Change for a Twenty" and "Round Trip." Check her out at shamontiel.com.

The AKAs are on a "mission" to win!

3/20/2010 Update: Click here to read about the Atlanta finale.1/24/2010: When I heard about the Sprite Step Off from FoxBrownFox and Commonground, I was sold from the beginning. But when SpriteStepOff.com advertised that it would be the largest step show in history, I was wondering how true that'd be. However, on Saturday night (Jan. 23) when I drove up to the Regal Theater and saw cars backed down the block of 1645 E. 79th St., and the line to get into the Regal around the corner, I knew this was going to be something serious. And the Regal completely sold out of tickets. Largest step show in history? Looked like it. But would it be the livest step show I'd ever seen? That was the test. I've seen many throughout my college years (Lincoln University alumni!), plus the numerous step shows I've seen all over the world even after I graduated.

Well, this Sprite Step Off was not playing around. Hands down the Sprite Step Off is definitely my all-time favorite step show, and it was definitely the livest!

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Updated 1/25/2010

The original winners announced at the Sprite StepOff on Sat., Jan. 23, were the following:

Sororities: $21,500 Alpha Kappa Alpha (first place); $16,000 Zeta Phi Beta (second place); $11,000 Alpha Theta Omega (third place)

Fraternities: $21,500 Alpha Phi Alpha (Central State University, first place);  $16,000 Phi Beta Sigma (second place); $11,000 Alpha Phi Alpha (St. Louis citywide chapter, third place)

 

However, 360i and FoxBrownFox PR were notified on Mon., Jan. 25, that there was a voting discrepancy for the sororities during Saturday night's event. According to the Sprite Facebook page, "In the spirit of sportsmanship, we also advised the other two teams who were originally announced as the second and third place winners (now third and fourth place winners), that we wanted them to keep the prize money they had been awarded." So here are the updated sorority winners with corrected prize amounts. 

Sororities: $21,500 Alpha Kappa Alpha (first place); $16,000 Sigma Gamma Rho (second place) and $16,000 Zeta Phi Beta (third place); $11,000 Alpha Theta Omega (fourth place)  

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But just telling you who the winners are doesn't do them any justice. You need proof, right? Check out some of the photos and a video of Greek strolling in the crowd that I took at the Sprite Step Off on Saturday, Jan. 23.

 

 

The Hot Boyz were the hosts for the night, and as usual, they were entertaining. They cracked some jokes, threw some T-shirts, reminisced on college years, and Tone was a little disappointed that no Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity members were competing, so he did his own little step onstage. Too cute, and so is he! (Shag is too. Those two brothas are ones I'd rather see onstage than hiding the "mmph"ness behind the radio! No disrespect to the ladies in their lives, but those two are some headturners.)

Now on with the show!

1) AlphaWockeez, Alpha Phi Alpha (Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville): I'm a huge "America's Best Dance Crew" fan, so as soon as I saw these Alphas playing off the JabbaWockeez name with the masks included, I was thinking, "This better be good." But they did well and represented for Chitown with popping, locking and of course footwork. I don't care how old a Chicagoan, who was involved in that era, is. No matter where we go, we still get hype off seeing someone do footwork. Juke pop pop!

2) Zeta Phi Beta (University of Missouri): Their routine started off really slow. When I saw them standing in front of the radio, I was expecting them to be phenomenal from the get go. No such luck. The shout-outs to the frats were lukewarm, but after that the routine picked up. I liked the old school part of the performance, especially the homage to Michael Jackson but I didn't really leave with much of an impression of the group. The hugging part during them competing was a little corny, but it did show sisterhood so I can't knock them for it.

3) Phi Beta Sigma (St. Louis citywide chapter): If you've seen "Friday," you'd have to laugh at this one. One frat member came out dressed like Big Worm and another acted like Smokey. But the real humor came out when a frat member playing Debo came out with his bike and stole somebody's Phi Beta Sigma chain. The re-enactment of the fight was entertaining because of the slow motion way the group fell. Cute. But after all the jokes were done, these guys got right to business and showed their athleticism--including balancing their bodies on one arm to clap their feet together, hopping over each other and fierce stepping.

4) Hot Boyz Tone decides to do a Kappa routine all by himself and fakes like he hurt his back. Shag helps him up. I've got to admit that I wanted to see the Kappas compete too. Their performances are always pleasantly flirtatious, but on to the next one! The crowd decided to have their own stroll session on the "east side" of the aisle, and the Greeks showed there was that same amount of energy off stage. Click here to see the video!

5) Wale performs. I wasn't familiar with this artist before I got there, but he was a pretty good performer. Unfortunately, there were no songs to really get me charged up about him, but I really liked his outfit--brown knit hat, brown shirt, blue jeans and black gymshoes. His hypeman on the side had on a pretty jazzy looking black jacket too. They did their thing and came dressed to impress. Wale drank water, but I kinda wanted him to drink (or at least fake like he was) Sprite considering the big, huge Sprite sign behind him. But I decided when I got home I was going to check out his music online because it sounds like what he's spitting is something I'd have to really listen to as opposed to dance to so now I'm curious. Sorority members from Delta Sigma Theta, Sigma Gamma Rho and Alpha Kappa Alpha came onstage to stroll while Wale performed. There was one Zeta member rocking a purple dress, decorative tights and these black boots that reminded me of Christmas. She should've gotten some award for Best Dressed because I wanted her whole outfit.

6) Alpha Kappa Alpha (Indiana University): These ladies were coming to win. As soon as they stepped onstage with a skit about how they were secret service agents sent on a mission, wearing all black with "TAU" across their chests and black knee-high boots with skintight black pants, they really played off the scenario. In usual AKA style, hair flipped like shampoo commercials while they stepped so hard I could feel their energy offstage. They may have chanted, "Precise. Pretty. We are too pretty," but they weren't too pretty to get gutter. One girl was thrown in the air, they did splits while stepping and even gave a shout to Sprite while holding pearls. They were in sync and the only time I saw them smile was when they strolled off to Swizz Beatz's "On to the Next One."

7) Alpha Phi Alpha (Central State University): Now the AlphaWockeez were good, but this next set of Alphas ripped the stage. While Phi Beta Sigma brought back memories of "Friday," Alpha Phi Alpha took inspiration from the syndicated television show "Martin." "I say Jerome's in the house!" When one very entertaining Alpha came out in true Jerome-like attire and said he was a playa, the crowd immediately responded with "from the Himalayas." Martin Lawrence fans everywhere! And then the stepping started. I could almost hear the floor shaking from the way they were stepping, and they gave the crowd some of the ugliest, outwardly strong facial expressions they could. They were loud, energetic, precise, organized and I got to the point where I was just in awe of what they were doing. They definitely put some crucial work into making their performance tight. The crowd went crazy while they performed and cheered them on. And as goofy as the Stanky Leg dance is, I've never seen anybody do it as sexy as the Alphas. My earrings (I don't wear hats) go off to them. They strolled off to my favorite song by the Clipse and Pharrell, "I'm Good," and I was thinking, "Yes, fellas, you all definitely were good!"

8) Alpha Theta Omega (University of Missouri): These ladies came out in black jumpsuits with a long chain connecting their left ankles, playing up the chain gang skit. The intro was too quiet without enough energy, but I could hear them shout Jesus out every now and then. I was a little bored with this performance up until the last couple of minutes when the routine truly picked up. Alpha Theta Omega started doing a routine where some stepped with their feet and others went into push-up formation to do the same beats with their arms. Their bicep game must be crazy by now! Then they got so cool with it that they did a routine and slapped each other's feet instead of stepping with their own. Ladies, I'm too scared of you. (No, really, I am because if I ever tried that push-up routine I'm going to need to go to the emergency room.)

9) Alpha Kappa Alpha president Barbara McKenzie came out to say a few words about the competition and to big up the AKA's performance before quickly dipping out.

10) The McDonald's Flavor Battle included three deejays inside of giant hamburger containers, the Double Quarter Pounder with cheese, the Big Mac and the Angus Third Pounder. I can't say I had a favorite because all three were excellent deejays, but I wish I had a mixtape of the entire song selection. I heard songs from Beyonce, DMX, Too Short, Notorious B.I.G., Michael Jackson, house music and more. As soon as Keezo Kane and James Brown played, we knew where the skaters and Chicago steppers were in the crowd. But I was too through when one of the deejays played Experience Unlimited "Doin' the Butt" and the crowd actually did the dance, some of whom I thought would be too young to even know about the dance. But when DJ Sundance played "Perculator" that was it. Folks were doing all types of the Perculator dance craze. This west side native DJ Sundance definitely played to the Chicago crowd. There was a tie between her and DJ B Syde that had to have two rounds of applause before DJ Sundance won and collected her prize.

11) Musical Chairs: Now this intermission was pointless. One Greek member was chosen to go onstage and play musical chairs. There was no strolling or even music that reflected the groups onstage. I'm saying, couldn't they have at least played Kanye's "School Spirit" or Lil' Wayne rapping "Stepping on this beat like a motherf$&*#!g Sigma." Tone got himself into a little bit of trouble for making a tasteless comment about full-bodied women winning Musical Chairs. Eh, could've kept that one to yourself, Tone. A Kappa Alpha Psi member won, and he even managed to have an AKA sit on his lap trying to get his chair.

12) Ludacris: (Note: I love my camera and always make fun of folks for buying super expensive batteries for digital cameras while mine is a plug-in and lasts longer than battery-operated cameras. But oh was I mad when my camera completely died before Luda hit the stage. I got no photos of him. Dammit man! However, GoWhere Hip Hop did an excellent job of covering Luda's performance so click here to read that blog. You're also welcome to check out my 2008 Ludacrismas interview.) Luda came out with a purple shirt, black pants and purple shoes, with his hair perfectly lined. His hypeman represented with an Atlanta T-shirt while Luda reminded the crowd he was born in Illinois and shouted out the south side repeatedly. He performed "Throw Them Bows," Shawnna's "Gettin' Some Head," DJ Khaled's "I'm So Hood," "What's Your Fantasy?" "How Low" and "Move Bitch." I-20 came out with his usual energetic self, and lucky for us Chicagoans, that always charismatic and handsome Larenz Tate came onstage to dance while I-20 and Luda performed. While Luda was looking Omega-ish with all the purple, Larenz Tate was looking something like an Iota with all the brown--brown top hat, brown jacket, brown belt, brown shoes with a tint in his brown jeans. All that chocolate all in one place! Yum.

13) Alpha Phi Alpha (St. Louis citywide chapter): (Note: My camera refused to turn back on so I did not get pics of these fellas. Dammit man, times two.) Now you have to be really brave to follow Ludacris, and all I kept thinking was, "They better be good." Some crowd members left, but about 90 percent of the crowd stayed in place. This four-member crew's skit started off like one was a hunter looking for Alphas in the wild. And of course the Alphas didn't disappoint, crouching down into gorilla formation, hopping around with ugly faces (on some very handsome men, might I add). I was still skeptical about whether they'd be able to bring the fire. To my surprise they did, specifically the light-skinned guy on the left-hand side who was stepping so hard that you could see the veins in his arms, especially when he screamed. The shout-out to the AKAs was hilarious. 

14) Sigma Gamma Rho (University of Illinois at Chicago): (Note: I gave up on my camera completely by this time after trying to turn it on four times.) I knew the SGRhos were coming because I saw blue and gold stand up everywhere in the crowd. It gave me flashbacks of my elementary school years. They hit the stage with black fitted pants, black baby doll heels, gold shirts, waist-length blue and gold jackets and gold belts, with wigs cut and shaped to neck-length, playing off of Chinese fashion. They even bowed during their skit. Sprite should've been proud of them because while they were stepping, they did an amusing skit about being thirsty. One sorority member tried to drink some red drink, but it was kicked out of her hand while another SGRho member strolled around with Sprite and got her Vanna Black on. The performance was cool, but the jackets were distracting me. The material was unraveling so while they performed, I could see thread strings hanging from their jackets. I was happy when they finally took them off so I could focus on the performance. Nothing really stood out to me, but I did think they did a decent job. The problem was that their steps led to so much build up that didn't pay off. For example, one lady climbed on another lady's shoulder, and I was expecting something huge to come besides another girl flipping in the back. Instead the girl who was balanced on her sister's shoulders was put down. That was kind of a downer. I did enjoy the popping, locking and clapping as they strolled off singing "I love my SGRhos" to juke music.

15) Tone and Shag came back out to announce that there was a tie. Gasp! Who could it be? It turns out that the Phi Beta Sigmas and Central State University's Alpha Phi Alphas had a tie so they had to come back out and compete. The Sigmas looked a little sleepy when they came back onstage. They sat on the edge of the stage and did a clapping routine. From the response to the crowd, I could tell they messed up somewhere, but from where I was sitting I didn't see the mistake so I thought they did great. The Alphas, however, came back out and acted like the tie breaker was their real performance--same energy, same faces, same stomping, same heat.

Results: Congrats to the Alpha Kappa Alphas and the Alpha Phi Alphas (Central State University). Alpha = First, and they took that first prize seriously. The AKAs cheered like they'd won a million dollars and did another routine while holding their checks.

Thumbs up to all of the teams for their hard work and dedication. And big up to Sprite for their work with the groups, scholarship money and encouraging diversity! I drank three bottles and cans of Sprite while typing this blog. *slurp*    

 

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5 Comments

tmfl said:

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WOw, I am too ashamed to say that I have NEVER been to a Greek step show. And yes, I am black!!! I am embarrassed and hanging my head down for having to admit to that. So next year when they come (if this will be annual), please remind me! Thanks for the in-depth overview.

Message from Montie said:

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TMFL, hey, I don't think everybody who is black has been to one. What made you not go to one before? Did your college/university not have step teams or it just wasn't of interest to you? Either way, sure, I'll let you know when another one happens. You can also check out a video excerpt from a Delta Sigma Theta stepshow I attended earlier this year. That one was a lot of fun, but I must admit it wasn't as exciting as this one.

Note: I have recently been notified that the winners of the stepshow were inaccurate. When clarification on the new winners become available, I'll update this blog.

mmm said:

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In-depth overview? More like superficial overview or cafeteria style reporting - pick what you want and leave out the rest. Where is the name of the actual 'original' winners? Zeta Tau Alpha. Embarrassed are you? You should be ashamed and released from your job with this new source for false reporting.

Message from Montie said:

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Mmm, you might want to calm it down a bit and re-read the blog. This event happened on Sat., Jan. 23 at the Chicago Sprite Step Off, not the Atlanta Step Off. This is why Zeta Tau Alpha was not mentioned. Before you start insulting me, you might want to take the time to actually read the blog. Oh, and just so you know, I did give Zeta Tau Alpha credit for being winners of the Sprite Step Off finals in Atlanta. Click http://www.examiner.com/x-30433-Chicago-News--Events-Examiner~y2010m2d21-Two-Midwest-Black-Greek-Organizations-win-places-in-Atlantas-Sprite-Step-Off-finals. Why would I be embarrassed about Zeta Tau Alpha when they were NOT competing at Chicago's Sprite Step Off in Chicago back in January? Calm down. Re-read the blog. You should be ashamed that you went ballistic over a blog written a month before the finals.

Message from Montie said:

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Did you even look at the title? It says "Chicago Sprite Step Off" very clearly and Jan. 23 in several spots. And this was a blog so of course it's going to be written in a conversational manner. Why so defensive? It sounds rather insecure to me. I'd strongly encourage you to purchase a calendar before you leave more angry comments on people's blogs though.

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