DETROIT (WWJ) – Want to be inspired? Then you’ll want to make plans to see the new movie “Step.” It’s an inspirational true-life story that focuses on the teenage step team at The Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women. The team was started by Blessin Giraldo, as a way to cope with everyday life.
As part of the movie’s promotional tour, Giraldo, her two co-stars, several other members of the cast, and Director Amanda Lipitz made a stop in Detroit on July 18th to attend a screening and participate in a Q&A with the audience. And, with the audience applauding enthusiastically at the film’s conclusion, the response they received, she says, was gratifying.
“Seeing the response from the audience and the way that they relate to our stories is definitely what we do it for,” Giraldo told WWJ’s Terri Lee during an interview at their hotel the next day. “To inspire, to help people understand that they can make it through, no matter what goes on, what circumstance you’re in, where you’re from, where you expect to go.”
And, team member Tayla Solomon says, before coming to Detroit, she knew there were going to be people at the screening who related to their story.
“Detroit and Baltimore; they’re very similar,” Solomon said. “We go through the same struggles. A lot of people like to depict our cities as negative, and there’s a lot of positivity, so I just wanted the people to be engaged, and they were.”
“Step” follows the girls’ trials and tribulations as they navigate their senior year. There are issues at school, with boyfriends and even with one another, all issues that young people everywhere can relate to. Cori Grainger, who we see working towards realizing a longtime goal to attend an Ivy League school to study computer science, says girls shouldn’t shy away from STEM classes.
“Don’t shy away from something just because it’s difficult,” Grainger said. “There are always going to be resources available to you and you’re definitely not just gonna make it through easily, but I don’t think you can just make it through any major easily … so don’t pick something just because it’s easy. Pick it because it’s something that you, (1) enjoy and you can see yourself doing for awhile. And, (2), something that you’re gonna be motivated to work hard through even when those struggles and challenges do come.”
During the making of the documentary, the death of Freddie Gray weighed heavily on the city of Baltimore. His death and the unrest that followed is reflected in the girls’ performances; something they used as a form of empowerment.
The movie itself is empowering and one that young people everywhere would definitely benefit from watching. As Grainger put it, no dream is ever too big:
“A lot of times when we’re young, we make these big dreams and by the time it’s time to start actually pursuing them, we talk ourselves out of it because it’s too hard, or it’s too much work, or you have to stay in school too long. But, honestly, if you just find the people who support you and want you to do well, you just find what it is that really makes you happy, then you won’t have a problem with working hard for it.”
Step arrives in Metro Detroit area theaters on August 11th.
To learn more about the girls and their plans for the future, listen to the podcast of Terri’s complete interview.
See you at the movies!
Be sure to tune in to WWJ Newsradio 950 every Friday for my weekly look at the movies with Midday Anchor Jackie Paige.
Follow Terri on Twitter @TerriJLee
Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA)
Detroit Film Critics Society (DFCS)
African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA)