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Hip-Hop News: "Stomp The Yard" Film Connects With Audience
Creator Gregory Anderson says that the film connected not just with him and his family, but with all Americans.
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Posted by Dave
Rap News Network
1/31/2007 8:31:39 AM

Tags and topics realted to this article include Various Artists. Hip Hop, Rap and Movies.

When Gregory Anderson first sat down to pen the script for the Sony / Screen Gems film "Stomp the Yard", while a student at Florida A&M University, the film's future was nothing more than a dream. Several years later as he prepared to do the rewrite, he found that the story and history of "Stomp the Yard" had a deeper connection to not only his family, but to all Americans. "At the end of the day, what I discovered about myself and my people, was far more valuable than I could have ever imagined" – Gregory Anderson.
 
The movie is driven by the unique artform called "Stepping". Stepping (or "Stomping") is a rhythmic dance tradition created by African American Fraternities and Sororities. This territory was nothing new to Gregory, who is a member of Omega Psi Phi and whose classmates (and Producers of "Stomp the Yard") Will Packer and Rob Hardy are members of Alpha Phi Alpha. But, as Greg crafted the story, he soon realized he had to go deeper. "I had a teacher in High School named Mrs. Sherry Hendricks, and she taught us that in life, we have to look beyond the surface of things, the shape of things. No matter how painful or hard, we have to search for what lies beneath, because that is where the truth is".
 
Greg always knew he had a long lineage of frat / soror members in his family, dating back to the early decades of the organizations and spanning all the way to today. The key was to uncover the roots of stepping and why it stayed relevant.
 
Gregory's father Dr. Anderson, a member of Omega at Fort Valley State University in the mid 50's saw the organizations as a refuge of enlightenment for an oppressed people. "These organizations are rooted in the dreams of our forefathers" Dr. Anderson's cousin retired Col. Jerry Simmons who pledged Omega at FAMU in 1950 recalls "Its so amazing to see how far stepping has gone. I remember going to Lee Hall and paying ten cents to see a Step Show, now it's this huge extravagant affair."
 
Greg's mother, Delta Sigma Theta member and her sister Vivian Glover who pledged Delta in 1959 speak of stepping's purpose. "Stepping creates a deeper connection to sisterhood and brotherhood" Cousins Bruce Atwater (Kappa Alpha Psi '78 West Georgia U) and Wiley Shelman (Kappa '92 Univ. of GA) talked about the birth of the name. "Stepping came from the popularity of acappella groups during the Motown era of the 50's. That's why it's called "Stepping". In order to woo the ladies, fellas would make up the hottest steps, putting on a show for the girls".
 
Greg's cousin Henry Everson (Kappa Alpha Psi '69, Savannah State), advised Gregory to compare the stepping of the past to the stepping of today. Henry's sister Vivian Austin (Alpha Kappa Alpha '74 Albany State), and brothers David (Kappa '93 Georgia South Western) and Melvin (Alpha) chimed in. "Back in the day, it was only singing, no stepping. In fact some schools down south still call Step Shows a "Sing". Many people say that black greeks borrowed the Glee Club singing from white frats and enhanced it".  Vivian's daughter Mia Armstong (AKA '99 Xavier University) and cousin Joey Pierce (Alpha '04 FAMU) think that the new style of stepping still respects the past. "I know there are a lot of Greeks out there that don't like the evolution of stepping, but even though the moves may have changed, the heart of it will always be the same"
 
Greg's cousins Marcus Gooden (Kappa '93 GA Southern), Lynette Walters (Delta '03) and Pam Williams (Delta '91 Albany State) whose husband is a Kappa, Grandfather and two uncles are Omegas, and Uncle Rich is a Kappa, reminded Greg of what his teacher Mrs. Hendricks said, about going delving further.
 
So, Greg took the big plunge and traced the roots of his family all the way back to  Andersonville, Americus, and Pineview Georgia. "My family is connected to the slaves from Andersonville, that's how we got our name". Further re

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