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Stomp the Yard is a 2007 drama and dance film produced by Rainforest Films and released through Sony Pictures' Screen Gems division on January 12, 2007. Directed by Sylvain White, Stomp the Yard centers around DJ Williams, a college student at a fictional historically Black university who pledges to join a fictional Greek-letter fraternity. The film's central conflict involves DJ's fraternity competing in various stepping competitions against a rival fraternity from the same school. The film's script was written by Robert Adetuyi, working from an original draft by Gregory Ramon Anderson. The film was originally titled Steppin', but to avoid confusion over the 2006 film Step Up, the title was changed.

The film stars Columbus Short, Meagan Good, Darrin Henson, Nadia Feseha, Brian White, Laz Alonso, and Valerie Pettiford, with Harry Lennix and, in their film debuts, R&B singers Ne-Yo and Chris Brown. Stomp the Yard was filmed in Atlanta, Georgiamarker on the campuses of Morris Brown College, Georgia Institute of Technologymarker, Morehouse Collegemarker and Clark Atlanta University, and in the MAK Historic District of Decatur, Georgiamarker.

Plot

DJ Williams (Columbus Short) is a krump dancer in inner-city Los Angelesmarker. He and his younger brother Duron (Chris Brown) compete in local dance competitions as members of a crew known as the "Goon Squad". During the battle there are backs and forths, but in the end of the battle the Goon Squad win a cash-prize, and the losing home crew responds by ambushing DJ and his crewmates after the show. A fight breaks out, and the leader of the rival crew starts beating up DJ. Duron pushes him away and starts fighting him, leading the rival to pull out a gun and shoot Duron, killing him.

Arrested for assault, DJ is subsequently sent by his mother to live with his aunt Jackie (Valerie Pettiford) and uncle Nate (Harry J. Lennix) in Atlantamarker, Georgia, where he is to attend historically black Truth University. Nate, the physical plant director at Truth, aims to teach DJ responsibility, and puts the boy to work doing maintenance as part of a work-study program.

While waiting in the line to register for classes, DJ sees a fellow student named April Palmer (Meagan Good), to whom he is immediately attracted. After registration, he moves into his dorm room, where he meets his new roommate Rich Brown (Ne-Yo). Rich meets DJ at a stepping competition on the green between the Truth chapters of rival fraternities Theta Nu Theta and Mu Gamma Xi. The Mu Gamma Xi crew, seven-time national stepping champions, easily steals the show until DJ sees April across the way and runs right through the Gammas' step line in an attempt to speak to her. A fight nearly breaks out between the freshman and the Gamma steppers, whose best stepper Grant (Darrin Henson), is April's boyfriend.

That night, Rich and his friends go out to a local club called the Phoenix and invite DJ along. DJ takes to the dance floor, hoping to impress April and upstage Grant and the Gammas, all of whom are also in attendance. Despite the animosity between DJ and Grant, the Gammas recognize DJ's skills as a dancer, and the Gamma chapter's president Zeke (Laz Alonso) invites DJ to pledge for Mu Gamma Xi. DJ turns down both Zeke's offer as well as an offer from the Theta Nu Theta chapter's leader Sylvester (Brian White).

After learning that April is a student history tutor, DJ signs himself up for tutoring so that he can spend time with her. The two slowly begin a friendship and DJ takes April out to dinner. During their date, April discusses the importance of black fraternities and sororities with the clueless DJ, and tells him to visit Heritage Hall on the campus' Greek Row. At Heritage Hall the next day, DJ learns about the significant number of African-American historical figures and celebrities who were members of various Greek-letter organizations, and decides to pledge for the Theta chapter along with Rich and their friend Noel (Jermaine Williams).

After "crossing over" to become official Theta members, DJ, Rich, and Noel join the Thetas' step crew. After one of the nights of practice, DJ is practicing his moves from the Goon Squad when one of the Gammas is secretly videotaping him to later show a few of the Gamma crew including Grant. Dismissing the chapter's traditional step moves as old-fashioned, DJ teaches his frat brothers a few of his old krumping moves. DJ does not notice that, while he is practicing a few of his brother's old dance moves, one of the Gammas is secretly videotaping him so that their crew can learn DJ's steps.

Sly disapproves of DJ's attempts to modernize Thetas' steps, and challenges DJ to a battle at the Phoenix between his line brothers and DJ's; the new moves against the old. DJ's line brothers lose the competition due to DJ's show-boating, although Sly agrees to let DJ teach the crew some new moves as a compromise.

April eventually leaves Grant for DJ, angering her father, Dr. Palmer (Allan Louis), the school's Provost, Gamma brother himself, and an adversary of DJ's uncle Nate because Dr. Palmer once dated aunt Jackie.

A few of the Gammas run a background check on DJ, and learn about the fight in which DJ's brother was killed, and for which DJ was convicted for aggravated assault in an unfair trial. This information is forwarded the school's Ethics Committee, which suspended DJ for the remainder of the year, preventing him from stepping at the nationals. Dr. Palmer, who has the authority to overturn the Ethics Committee's decisions, later offers to reinstate DJ, with the provision that he stop seeing April, an offer DJ refuses. When April learns from her father why DJ has been suspended, she questions DJ and learns first-hand the story behind his arrest. DJ's Aunt Jackie, an old girlfriend of Dr. Palmer's, confronts Dr. Palmer and was joined by April who overheard the conversation, leading Dr. Palmer to overturn the Ethics Committee's decision.

DJ, reinstated thanks to April's help, shows up just in time to take part in the final round of the nationals stepping competition, which ends in a tie between the Thetas and the Gammas, and each crew is required to choose a dancer for a head-to-head competition. The Thetas choose DJ and the Gammas, which had secretly recorded DJ's practices, choose Grant, who has learned all of DJ's steps. Going first, Grant does DJ's exact routine from the tape. After Grant finishes, DJ matches Grant move for move, tossing in something the Gammas didn't get on tape: a move Duron performed to win his last competition with the Goon Squad (except more evolved).

The Theta Nu Theta crew is declared the winners of the competition, and DJ is mobbed by his frat brothers as April runs out to kiss him. The scene is captured in a still black and white photo, which is added to the wall at Heritage Hall.

A quote of Martin Luther King appeared just before the credits. "Intelligence plus character. That is the goal of true education."

Cast



datz b3ckyz boo all dayyy!!!!

Soundtrack album

  1. "Go Hard or Go Home" - E-40 featuring The Federation
  2. "Vans" - The Pack
  3. "Poppin'" - Chris Brown
  4. "Sign Me Up" - Ne-Yo
  5. "The Champ" - Ghostface Killah
  6. "Walk It Out" - DJ Unk
  7. "Pop, Lock, and Drop It" - Huey
  8. "The Deepest Hood" - Al Kapone
  9. "Come On" - Bonecrusher featuring Onslaught
  10. "Supermixx's Black In The Building" - Public Enemy
  11. "Storm" - Cut Chemist featuring Mr. Lif & Edan
  12. "In the Music" - The Roots featuring Malik B & Porn
  13. "Ain't Nothing Wrong with That" - Robert Randolph & The Family Band
  14. "Bounce Wit Me" - R.E.D. 44


Additional music

  1. "This Woman's Work" - Maxwell
  2. "Monsta'" - O-Solo
  3. "Stomp The Yard" - Juice featuring Legend
  4. "TtbZ Anthem" - J-Squad
  5. "Let's Go" - Trick Daddy featuring Lil' Jon & Twista
  6. "Shake" - Ying Yang Twins featuring Pitbull
  7. "Sex, Love & Money" - Mos Def


Alpha Phi Alpha boycott threat

A boycott of the film was threatened by Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and supported by Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, due to a conflict between the organizations and Stomp the Yard producers Will Packer and Rob Hardy (both members of Alpha Phi Alpha) over the unauthorized use of some of Alpha Phi Alpha's trademarks in the film. The groups ended their threat when Sony Pictures and Screen Gems agreed to the removal of all references, in the film, to the Fraternity. Sony and Screen Gems made a decision for a donation to the The Washington D.marker C.marker Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundationmarker, a project of Alpha Phi Alpha. The offending scenes of Alpha Phi Alpha steppers which were deleted from the final release print appear in both versions of the Stomp the Yard movie trailer.

Reception

The general consensus was that while the film's dance and stepping sequences were found to be impressive, its plot was seen as melodramatic and clichéd. Regardless of the critical reviews, however, the film opened at number-one with a first-weekend gross of $22 million, becoming the first film in three weekends to beat out Night at the Museum at the box office. Stomp the Yard, produced on a budget of $13 million, eventually went on to gross $61 million in the United States and $75 million worldwide.

Stomp the Yard received poor reviews from critics. On the movie review website Rotten Tomatoes, 27% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 86 reviews.

Sony Pictures held a national high school stepping competition in conjunction with the release of the film. The winning team was from North Stafford High School in the suburb of Stafford, Virginiamarker.

Sequel

Rainforest Films has announced that it is moving forward with a "Stomp the Yard" sequel, called Stomp the Yard 2: Homecoming. The studio has just signed on studio partner Rob Hardy to direct. Columbus Short who starred in the original Sony Screen Gems release, is scheduled to reprise his role as DJ. Terrence J of 106 and Park has been added to the cast, as he confirmed on his twitter. Also to join the cast is former Cheetah Girls member Kiely Williams and singer/rapper Teyana Taylor. Other casting is under way. The sequel is set to start shooting in November.The new installment will likely get a theatrical release on February 26, 2010.

Notes

  1. Alpha Phi Alpha Official Statement on "Stomp The Yard, "http://www.aka1908.com/pdf/stomptheyard.pdf
  2. Newsweek Article: Stepping Out of Line? by Joshua Alston, retrieved from http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16583100/site/newsweek/ on July 7, 2007
  3. Rotten Tomatoes consensus for Stomp the Yard. Retrieved from http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/stomp_the_yard/ on Jan. 14, 2007.
  4. (2007). Stomp the Yard box office results. BoxOfficeMojo.com Retrieved September 2, 2007.
  5. "'Stomp the Yard' dances to No. 1 finish". USA Today. Retrieved from http://www.usatoday.com/life/movies/news/2007-01-14-box-office-analysis_x.htm?csp=34 on Jan. 14, 2007.


See also

  • Stepping
  • Spike Lee's 1988 film School Daze, which also revolves around fraternity and sorority life at an HBCU. It was also shot on the same three campuses used in this film.
  • You Got Served, the 2004 film that has a similar theme of rival crews and dancing.
  • Drumline, the 2002 film about marching bands at an HBCU. This movie was also filmed at the Atlanta campuses and features a similar final competition between rival organizations and individuals.


External links




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