As of this writing, the Netflix original movie titled Burning Sands is certainly burning up social media with talk surrounding everything Burning Sands represents. As noted by its Netflix description, Burning Sands is a TV-MA movie that’s one hour and 42 minutes long, a “cerebral” and “gritty” movie that takes a hard look at the dark side of a fraternity. Because Burning Sands doesn’t always paint fraternity life in the best light, the Netflix movie is getting a big response on Twitter and Facebook, both from people who have gone through the pledging and hazing process in fraternities and sororities, as well as those who haven’t.
“Promising student Zurich opens his eyes to some hard truths when his fraternity’s violent hazing escalates into a disastrous hell night.”
Burning Sands stars Trevor Jackson, Alfre Woodard, Trevante Rhodes, Steve Harris, and DeRon Horton. Director Gerard McMurray told The Grio that his Burning Sands drama was inspired by the real-life death of Florida A&M University band member, Robert Champion. Champion’s death exposed the manner in which some students are “hazed” or beaten as part of a ritual that has long been an underground process for some bands, fraternities, and even sororities. Gerard decided to put his Burning Sands hazing drama in “the Greek world,” which doesn’t mean Greece, but means in the world of fraternities and sororities.
As seen in the top photo above, the Burning Sands cast can be seen in Park City, Utah. The actors and film creators attended the Netflix Celebrates The Sundance Film Festival on January 22.
Nearly two months later, after plenty of folks have gotten a chance to watch the premiere of Burning Sands on Netflix, loads of people are turning to social media to express their opinions about the movie. As seen in some of the below comments from social media, the #BurningSands hashtag found plenty of people either expressing their complete love or abject hate of Burning Sands on Netflix.
Some of the outright and knee-jerk criticism claiming that Burning Sands didn’t accurately depict the life of a fraternity member was quickly debunked by the fact that the director is himself a member of a fraternity, as stated in the interview on The Grio.
“Gerard, you’re a member of Omega Psi Phi and graduate of Howard University.”
Not only is Gerard the director of Burning Sands a “Que dog,” but Trevor told the publication that he used the expertise of a Kappa Alpha Psi to research the movie, along with talking to others about “Greek life” on campus.
“I tried to get as much information as I could. I would go to colleges. My A&R is a Kappa. So I was introduced to chapters, learned as much as they could tell me about brotherhood, etc. I really tried to limit my sleeping, just cut myself off everything else. The film was kind of like my hazing process.”
Some of the complaints about Burning Sands from those who criticize the movie feature those folks who claim there were too many negative things shown in terms of beatings and no real brotherhood. There are indeed plenty of beatings with paddles (a real-life act in some fraternity hazing events), and the proverbial woman who is told to sleep with some of the guys “on line,” that is, those men who are looking forward to crossing those “burning sands” and become official fraternity members.
On Twitter, some people claim that if a person has never pledged a fraternity or sorority, they shouldn’t have a comment about Burning Sands.
Others who have been through the process, like Facebook user Angela Crenshaw, decried the thought of fraternities and sororities.
“They paint this picture and call it brotherhood and sisterhood. But I tell you though experience IT IS NOT WORTH IT!!! The rumors you hear about the hazing well yes it is true. The abuse a pledgee has to endure is simple childish, evil, corrupt, ungodly and simply foolish. I renounced being a Kappa Diamond of Kappa Alpha Psi and a Member of Delta Sigma Theta…”
There’s already Oscar buzz on Twitter from those who think Burning Sands should win an Academy Award. And then there’s the Google suggestion about “Burning Sands ending,” since lots of folks didn’t like the way it ended, which featured the death of a character pledging the fraternity but not the character people expected. Plenty of loose ends with the Burning Sands ending could leave room for a Burning Sands sequel, or a Burning Sands TV or Netflix series.
[Featured Image by Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images for Netflix]