When I spoke to director and filmmaker Amanda Lipitz last year about her documentary Step, we talked about the song, Jump. Written by Raphael Saadiq, Taura Stinson, and Laura Karpman, Cynthia Ervio performs the song.
Step is more than a dance documentary, it is about a group of young girls from Baltimore, following the trials and success of the Step team. The girls are the first in their family to go to college and the first to graduate. Step is important because it’s the outlet that keeps them fighting for their goals and dreams.
The song Jump evokes the core message of the film, when I spoke to Lipitz last year, she said, “There are musical tropes throughout the film. I open with an opening number and they tell you who they are.
Sisterhood and integrity/ mess with my sister/ you mess with me
You’re not sure what it means at the beginning but when they’re building the pyramid and you hear that chant, it means something completely different. You remember it because you’ve heard it before.
If this were a musical it would be a whole number. I wanted to take a song that I could flip on its head. That song is “Give It to Me, I’m Worth It,” is about a girl trying to get a guy at a club and most pop songs, I think are misogynistic. I wanted to make it about getting into college.
The graduation was about me going to Raphael Saadiq. I wanted to hear a symphony about these girls coming together. I had a different song there when I cut it as the song got so popular. Raphael Saadiq and Laura Karpman and I talked for a long about the song I had and what I was trying to say, the themes and they went off to write Jump. If you listen to the words, it lands on Blessin’s mother and you hear: “You must fight just like her.”
It cuts to Coach G and you hear: “Every single thing.” When Blessin’s mom makes the bed in the dorm and you hear the piano. Her mom is there for her, it’s so simple and it’s timed. I didn’t have to change anything.
Watch this exclusive clip as we go behind the scenes of Jump.