Beyond This Place- Documenting The Changing Roles of African American Fraternities and Sororities
This film competed in
Amid the climate of racial strife, hazing lawsuits, and questions of relevancy threatening the existence of African American fraternal organizations, members of the “Divine Nine” explore the importance and changing roles of Black Greek Lettered Organizations (BGLOs). In 2016 some believe that BGLOs, primarily depicted in popular media through the scope of stepping, are struggling to stay influential and at the forefront of our Nation’s most pressing cultural challenges. While these organizations have historically been responsible for America’s most influential social and political movements, including Civil Rights, many perceive their visibility (or lack thereof) as an indicator of their reduced contemporary influence. Can these century old organizations adapt to the times or have their rich legacies begun to fade? Beyond This Place is a documentary film that examines the rich culture of African American Fraternities and Sororities, while at the same time posing the question: “What is the role of these organizations in the 21st Century?” Some of America’s greatest leaders; Nobel Peace Prize recipient Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Pulitzer Prize winning author Toni Morrison, sports icon Michael Jordan, and innovator George Washington Carver make up just a few of the thousands of initiated members responsible for historical advancements in our Nation’s most influential movements, including Civil Rights. Today, many believe the century old organizations —Alpha Phi Alpha, Alpha Kappa Alpha, Kappa Alpha Psi, Omega Psi Phi, Delta Sigma Theta, Phi Beta Sigma, Zeta Phi Beta, Sigma Gamma Rho and Iota Phi Theta — are no longer the innovative organizations they once were. Our film aims to examine the current state of Black Greek life while investigating solutions to the organizations modern day challenges from the perspective of both members and the communities they serve. Our story follows several members as they explore the benefits/challenges of upholding the legacy.