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Black MU organizations take the stage for step show

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Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.
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Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. was one of the winners of the 2022 Homecoming Step Show Friday, Oct. 21, 2022.

The National Panhellenic Council at MU hosted a Step Show over the weekend in Jesse Auditorium.

The Step Show was a competition of who could step the best with three judges, all of whom were all Black Greek alumni.

Of the fraternities and sororities that took part were Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. and Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.

Of the Black-led teams on MU’s campus, Zou Shake and Freestyle Your Expression took part in the competition. Zou Shake has more cheer team style mixed with dancing performances, and Freestyle Your Expression is solely a dance team.

The Mid-Missouri High Steppers, a Black-led step team for Black youth, opened the show.

The theme this year was album covers, with each team stepping to songs by mostly one artist. The Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. did a compilation of Future songs from his most recent album, I Never Liked You.

Darnell Dowd, a senior studying journalism, said the “mastermind” behind their routine was his fraternity brother Deandre Taylor, whose favorite musical artist is Future.

“I feel like the significance is giving Black students something to come together and watch and have fun,” Dowd said. “I feel like this is … one of the biggest parts of Homecoming every year, especially since COVID.”

The fraternity opened with two people texting back and forth in a chat, with the last message being “I never liked you.” From there, the performance kicked off.

“We had been rehearsing for a couple of months now,” Dowd said. “We were having a lot of late nights past 12, sometimes one, two in the morning practicing.”

The winners of the step show this year were Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.

Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. social media chair Amari Celestine took part in the competition with two of her sorority sisters. Celestine, a Southern California native, and her other sisters aimed for a NWA-inspired performance.

“There's only three of us on the stage,” she said. “We beat an org[anization] with a bigger group. It's all about the energy.”

She said the sorority also spent months perfecting their performance.

Je’Von Adams-Walker, a 2014 MU Alumnus, co-hosted the event. During his time at the university, he became part of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Zeta Alpha Chapter in the fall semester of 2012, and graduated with a degree in Business Administration. This is his fourth time hosting the event.

Adams-Walker created a platform on social media called Prophytes Be Like where he travels and hosts step shows around the country, but he said he feels “it's always good to be home” at MU.

“We like to see our chapters and organizations [that] we were in, continuing to thrive even with the dance teams,” Walker said. “It's amazing to … come back to see that those traditions still stand.”

Kayla Sydnor is a student at the University of Missouri School of Journalism. She is a reporter for KBIA on the social justice beat.
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