‘Bring It On,’ the cult classic cheerleading movie, just hit it’s the 19-year mark after premiering August 22, 2000. While hilarious and witty, the movie also highlights an everpresent current issue, the exclusion of Black women.
Now, I cannot write this without pointing out my love for the original film. ‘Bring It On’ holds a ton of quotes, laughs, and memories tied to my younger years. But with age and eye-opening experiences, the tones which then were deemed funny, are now glaringly realistic, in near painful ways as I now navigate the real world.
Torrance and the Rancho Carne Toros from San Diego truly believed their history of winning, a history which included stolen routines and ideas, automatically qualified them for the position as champions. After multiple rude awakenings, Torrance, as cheer captain, came to the conclusion, for the first time, that creativity was to stem from within and not from the backs of others’ hard work. Their comfortability and privilege nearly allowed the team to take the easy way out, and because of their history, their position also allowed them to cast blinders on the competition, which left one team to work twice as hard to gain entrance into a world built for them.
‘Bring It On,’ represented not only hard work, dedication, and unity but also, white privilege, disparity, and appropriation. While the topics were lightly explored, various scenes clearly visualized the relationship between Black and white women worldwide. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
For example, the moment Torrance, played by Kirsten Dunst, attempted to fund Isis, played by Gabrielle Union, and her team’s bid into the Nationals to ensure the Toros would have ‘real competition.’ Assuming, the East Compton Clovers needed a handout, rather than being resourceful and motivated on their own.
Today, the themes depicted in the film can be found in every magazine, on social media and places considered, cultural hubs. Appropriation, taking something for one’s own use without permission – a key factor in the movie. Since forever, Black women have shifted the world. Igniting movements in fashion, music, politics, and more, only to see down the line white women receiving credit and notoriety for ideas produced by such powerful Black figures. And while it is possible to be inspired, the issue begins when society recognizes white women with words such as edgy and innovative, yet greet Black women with ridicule and misinterpretation for ideas that were never theirs.
Since the beginning of time, Black women have literally had to fight to maintain. Black people have to work twice as hard to excel and succeed; however, they’re also easily overshadowed by our white counterparts. ‘Bring It On’ highlighted each issue, in all it’s light-heartedness, it hit home in more ways than one and taught Black girls a lesson in living unapologetically authentic and believing in yourself.
Sure at the end of the film, Isis softens up and welcomes Torrance with respect, but never once did she waver on what it meant to carry her team and the weight of being Black, unprivileged and unseen. As bold as can be, she gave real Black Girl Magic. She made a way; she held her own, and she received what she rightfully earned; the title.
As we all know by now, the East Compton Clovers, a Black and Latino cheer team took home the trophy against a dozen of other non-minority teams, due to their energetic and fun routine.
Their captain, Isis led them to the top, aware of her circumstances, but not without reminding them all of the pride and strength they always had within. Her leadership proved itself to be strengthened in the face of many adversities, never looking for an easy way out. A relatable story for nearly all Black women.
And so 19-years later, the message still stands. If you pay close enough attention, the premise of the movie actually isn’t on the more privileged team, cheerleading or the hood vs. the suburbs. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
‘Bring It On’ the movie actually highlights the underdog, the truth in what it means to stand 10 toes down, and being unapologetically Black and proud.