February 10th, 2010
07:46 PM ET

Ludacris helps students get a 'Step' ahead

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$1.5 million in scholarships is at stake, and some college students seeking a share are just steps away – literally.

Fraternities and sororities from around the U.S. have been taking part in the Sprite Step Off, a national step competition hosted by rapper/actor Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, who's also a producer behind the contest and the resulting MTV2 documentary series.  It's the biggest step competition in history, and the finalists will square off in Atlanta for a shot at the top prize: $100,000 in college scholarships.

The stepping is phenomenal, but the series focuses on more than just dancing.  We see the offstage conflicts, the stress of the competition... and the community service performed by the students, who are working with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Ronald McDonald House Charities as part of the contest.  That part of the package especially pleases Ludacris, whose philanthropy in his hometown of Atlanta was the subject of our first "Find The Good" entry last fall.

"I wanted to show people that there's much more to these individuals than just stepping," he told me in a brief interview.  His pride in the students was apparent, as he repeatedly praised them for their service, their dedication, and their talent.  "The energy I've picked up along the way has been good for me, because I've been motivated, just seeing what has gone on with these fraternities and sororities."

To make the competition, teams had to compete in qualifying events, followed by regional semi-finals and finals, which determine the 12 sororities and fraternities that will meet this month in the national finals.  And while Ludacris wouldn't confirm rumors of a follow-up tournament, he certainly didn't seem ready to let it end, and teased "I think this whole thing is just beginning."

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soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. Jere

    I have always thought you was a step ahead of the pack.
    Keep up the hard work !!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 14, 2010 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Mister Rogers

    He should sponsor a spelling bee.

    February 14, 2010 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jason

    @ James
    Excuse me how does a CLUB song set women back. Stop focusing on negatives.

    February 14, 2010 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  4. cillah hall

    Thank god for Oprah!!! She put him on the spot a couple of years ago on the Opah show about his music and negative images of women and violence. Look at him now!!! He's a role model for young people and he's giving back.

    February 14, 2010 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Joe

    This is why he has always been one of my favorite rappers

    February 14, 2010 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
  6. MC

    To the person that commented on the kind of music that he makes – there is a label on the CD prior to purchase that states "explicit lyrics". It's your job as a parent to not allow your children to listen to it. I'm sure the company that makes pork rinds doesn't state on the bag that eating their product may lead to heart attacks. With that being said, he's doing a good thing by helping those that can't afford to pay for college, no matter where they are from or what they are into.

    February 14, 2010 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
  7. cindy

    Matt Harrison: Why do IG-NO-RANT individuals always have to turn everything into a race thang. Some people get on my nerves sooooo baaaddd!!!! White people can learn if they have the desire to step/break dance/bop if they want to just like black have learned/desired to play hockey/soccer or anything else if they want to.

    February 14, 2010 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Ms. "M"

    Thank you for 'giving back' to our youth! Way to lead by example! As a professional fund raiser, I am always happy to see when high profile individuals emerge as philanthropists! Just remember, that we can all find a cause to donate to at the level that we can afford within our budgets.

    February 14, 2010 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
  9. kia

    great job!!! Nice to see celebs doing something good for our youth right here in the USA!!! and to someone who said step dancing or strolls are only for AA's, not true at all. Sure they are more highly represented but there are def. non blacks who step (or join AA greek orgs). Keep up the great work!

    February 14, 2010 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  10. Dionne

    @ Matt Harrison, check your facts. Stepping is historically performed by African-American organizations, but now white organizations are participating too. Zeta Tau Alpha, a white sorority is stepping!!!

    February 14, 2010 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
  11. blake

    he has made mistakes but he learnin

    February 14, 2010 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
  12. JJ

    @Matt Harrison,
    How could you be so silly. There ARE white kids that step, just like there are black ballerinas. The competition is open to everyone. Why don't you go ahead and join in and show 'em that white people can step too! Don't feel so threatened.

    February 14, 2010 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
  13. James

    He does great work at times, and then sets women back 50 years with songs like "How Low Can You Go?" As a single father of a young daughter, I expect more from him. Music leaves a lasting impression in the minds of our youth.

    February 14, 2010 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
  14. Brandon

    Ummm...White people are more then capable of stepping. It they want to join in the competition..Nothing is stopping them from doing so. Mr. Bridges is simply trying to give back to HIS community. And in doing that, he is being both pro-black and pro-humanity. Way to go Luda!

    February 14, 2010 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
  15. kaa

    good thing

    February 14, 2010 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
  16. Jenni

    I think this is so awesome! Hes the best! Good going thinking about the youth they all need it these days to much peer pressure out there. Also if he wants to be pro-black so be it thats his choice.

    February 14, 2010 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
  17. Queen

    @ Matt Harrison......So what if he is pro-black. Someone needs to be.

    February 12, 2010 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Debra R

    Keep it up Cris, you are a multitalented and compassionate person.

    February 12, 2010 at 7:28 am | Report abuse |
  19. koffybrown

    He's a good role model for youth of today,they can learn alot about leadership and humility.Education is the key to success,keep it coming Luda.

    February 11, 2010 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Matt Harrison

    This is targeted just for african-americans. White people do not "step" dance. I like Luda, but com'n quit being so pro-black and more pro-humanity.

    February 11, 2010 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  21. Susan

    Carol What makes you the authority on a "talented rapper". Runaway Love was great and so was Southern Hospitality. Back to what matters Luda is a multifacted artist that walks the walk.

    February 11, 2010 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Rami

    God bless you and your family bro!

    February 11, 2010 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  23. miss_walls

    It takes a BOY to brag about what he GETS but it takes a MAN to show you what he GIVES. Well job in distinguishing yourself Mr. Bridges.

    February 11, 2010 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Nadilyn

    Its good to see him give back. He is showing his appreciation for the support his fans have given him. Keep up your good efforts!!! You are doing so much to influence our youth in a good way!!!

    February 11, 2010 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Carol Graham

    Not only is he a talanted rapper, but he is alos a talanted actor. Good job Luda. There are so many out there who are just for themselves. I salute you to a job well done

    February 11, 2010 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  26. JACKI


    February 11, 2010 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  27. raymond oduor

    go luda i do like that heart

    February 11, 2010 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  28. Raleigh, NC

    When is the competition and will it be televised?

    February 11, 2010 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  29. Dashawn

    You rarely see rappers take pride in education so I salute him for what he's doing has done and going to do!!!!!!

    February 11, 2010 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  30. chickydoodle

    Luda is the Dude-uh

    February 11, 2010 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  31. mercedes coe

    yeah its good that he's doing something good with his life he has come a long way and has suceeded in so many ways!!!!!!

    February 11, 2010 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
  32. Diffy

    Always a pioneer on the homefront for our youth. Gotta love him!

    February 11, 2010 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  33. Roy Duarte Jr

    This man leads by example. Good job indeed!

    February 11, 2010 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |
  34. Roxanne

    What a fantastic idea. Good publicity for a great cause.

    February 11, 2010 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
  35. makinzi

    He is always doing things for the youth.Good job.

    February 11, 2010 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
  36. Melody Johnson

    he is the mann

    February 11, 2010 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |

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