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Film project explores pride and joy of historically Black Greek organizations

Photo courtesy of Cameron Elyse.

UNC Chapel Hill's campus will be the backdrop for an upcoming film honoring the legacy and history of Black Greek Letter Organizations in North Carolina. 

Promotional photos for "LEGACY," a film project created by Cameron Elyse, a sophomore at N.C. Central University, were posted to Instagram on Feb. 23

The photos feature members of the nine historically Black Greek Letter Organizations of the National Pan-Hellenic Council — the Divine Nine from UNC-CH, Duke University, N.C. State University, NCCU, UNC Greensboro and more. The photos were taken on quads and in front of academic buildings at UNC-CH. 

Elyse serves as the producer, director and lead photographer for the project, which is being produced by her company Cameron Elyse Productions.

The project aims to expose people to the service, tradition and history of the National Pan-Hellenic Council, Elyse said. 

“These different organizations were really created to be able to have a community for Black Americans within the collegiate spaces, especially for the advancement of Black Americans,” she said. “So the common themes of each of these different Divine Nine organizations are being able to talk about community, service, scholarship, sisterhood and brotherhood and being able to have that unity within this space.”

For Evan Andrews, the vice president of UNC-CH National Pan-Hellenic Council, the project is needed. He said it was a great way of educating a wider audience about the goals and objectives of the organizations. 

"I think a lot of times people can develop stereotypes or develop preconceived notions of what we are and what we do and only look at us from one aspect or one angle," he said. "I kind of take a holistic perspective."

Elyse said that though she isn’t officially a part of these organizations, membership runs in her family, which was inspiration for the project.

She said she found it interesting to take an outsider perspective in the project, but she wanted to let the members of the organizations speak for themselves. 

“I think a lot of times, we see the outside of what these organizations represent; however, through this project, I want to be able to show that it’s more than simply wearing letters and it’s more than simply stepping, strolling, whatever the case may be, but being able to show the totality of these organizations in a positive light," she said. 

Andrews, who serves as the liaison for the project, said that most of the b-roll and main scenes of the film will be shot on Chapel Hill's campus. His role involves managing logistics for Elyse’s team, like helping them navigate campus or book rooms. 

UNC-CH senior Arianna Darden participated in the photoshoot as a model representing Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. She said she wanted to be a part of the project from the moment she heard about it because of her experience as a content creator and her interest in fashion and modeling.

The film is still in the early stages, but Elyse said it will showcase four different generations of National Pan-Hellenic Council members, utilizing the council as a way to showcase Black lineage. She said she wants to create a connection across generations of Black Americans, finding a common ground among different perspectives.

“I think a lot of times, especially within different generations, there’s not really a connection anymore," she said. "And I think that through this project I want to be able to open that up and be able to see, 'How can we create a unity where it’s passing down those values, it’s passing down that legacy?'” 

So far, Elyse said she enjoyed seeing different chapters of National Pan-Hellenic Council organizations interacting and coming together for one purpose. She said that each group had its own personality, but it was interesting to see how they varied across campuses, especially between chapters at a predominantly white institution like UNC-CH and a historically Black university like NCCU. 

During the photoshoot, Darden said it was nice to see all of the members joined in one space and just having a good time.

“Everyone doing their different calls and doing different steps and strolls along the quad and just seeing everyone dressed up in their sorority and fraternity colors — and just having so much pride and joy and showing off in those outfits and wearing their colors with pride," she said.

@dthlifestyle |

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