The Show Was Supposed to Bring Black and White Students Together. It Almost Tore Them Apart
It was October 2016, and this was the first step show that black fraternities and sororities at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga had decided to do on their own. They took the show off campus, abandoning a glitzy annual homecoming event that had long included black and white students — and produced a program they felt was a more authentic reflection of stepping’s African American origins.
“We’re honoring our heritage,” said Kaitibi, a 23-year-old recent UTC graduate who viewed the breakaway event he helped organize as a coup of consciousness. “We needed to go back to our roots.”
There were no more fancy light shows or acrobatic stunts. There was no theatrical makeup. And there were practically no white people.