Why did the students in ‘Sister Act 2’ think becoming a choir was going to save their school? A pontification.

OPINION: The 1993 sequel starring Whoopi Goldberg and Lauryn Hill turns 30 this year. It has a few unanswerable questions that I’ve been sitting on for three decades.

Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit turns 30, theGrio.com
"Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit." (Buena Vista Pictures)

Editor’s note: The following article is an op-ed, and the views expressed are the author’s own. Read more opinions on theGrio.

“Sister Act 2: Back In the Habit” is one of my favorite movies to rewatch, obviously, because of the choir and singing scenes. If I ever see it playing while scrolling for a movie to watch, I immediately go there. When we’re looking for something to watch in the house, I often go to Disney+ and pull up on it mostly so I can get all inspired and joyous when the kids and a young Ryan Toby (playing Ahmal) stick the landing on “Oh Happy Day.” Sister Mary Clarence (Whoopi Goldberg) even has me wanting to join the St. Francis Choir. Oh happy day, indeed. 

Which brings me to one of those pointless questions and pontifications that I’ve had for decades now about this film and the choir. You might think this is nonsense and perhaps it is, but it’s Friday, I’m employed and this is how I get my Kool-Aid points. 

Let’s break this down so it can forever be buh-roke. Aight, so boom. Sister Mary Clarence — after discovering the kids can sing (and after Rita Watson, played by Lauryn Hill) has walked out of the class — decides that she will get them through the music class as a choir. The kids got tired of repeating “If you want to be somebody, if you want to go somewhere, you better wake up and pay attention” and added some flavor much to her surprise. Mary Clarence was all like “Yo, maybe I have the Mississippi Not As Massive Choir” on my hands and the kids are like, “Slow down.” They not only balk at the idea of being turned into a choir but are actively antagonistic towards it. 

"Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit" turns 30
Lauryn Hill in “Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit,” which turns 30 this year. (Buena Vista Pictures)

Mary Clarence, ever the maverick, decides to demonstrate to the students what a choir looks like by taking them to a center to watch her Sister Homies, aka The Nuns We Love, perform The Temptations’ “Ball of Confusion (That’s What The World is Today).” The students get on the bus and again, are SUPER anti-choir. They return to the school where Sister Mary Clarence gets scolded for taking the kids on a field trip without permission. Right outside the door to Father Maurice’s office, Frankie (Devin Kamin) and Ahmal hear him mention that the school will be closing soon. 

Frankie and Ahmal immediately head to the grocery store corner where Sketch (Ron Johnson) works and somehow, they are all in on the choir, as if the choir now looks attractive because the school is closing. And there is 100% buy-in. EVERYBODY now thinks this is a good idea, except … why? 

And it’s important to note, at this point, the kids have yet to sing “Oh Happy Day” and blow the socks off the student body and they DEFINITELY don’t know that there is a California choir competition that can make them money and put the school on the map. Heck, at this point, they haven’t even figured out who or how to be a choir. Yet, the idea of the choir in the face of the school closing seems like a no-brainer? 

I need answers. I’m loath to call it a plot hole — I love this movie too much and it works even when it shouldn’t — but I just can’t understand why a group of teenagers who are embarrassed at the mere thought of being in a choir somehow see the choir as an answer to the school closing. It makes no sense as a plot device. We’re talking like an hour after just telling Mary Clarence that they’re not into it. Now perhaps its youthful vigor that made them think, “Hey, the school is closing; let’s be a choir and we can save the school with our voices” with little to no regard to how that might actually happen and it just worked out, but these are the kinds of things that keep me up at night. 

So I ask you, the people, does it make sense? Watch the movie, watch the order in which everything happens and tell me how these kids knew the choir would save the school? 

Though I suppose it doesn’t matter because …

… God did. 

I’ll see myself out.

Panama Jackson theGrio.com

Panama Jackson is a columnist at theGrio. He writes very Black things and drinks very brown liquors, and is pretty fly for a light guy. His biggest accomplishment to date coincides with his Blackest accomplishment to date in that he received a phone call from Oprah Winfrey after she read one of his pieces (biggest), but he didn’t answer the phone because the caller ID said: “Unknown” (Blackest).

Make sure you check out the Dear Culture podcast every Thursday on theGrio’s Black Podcast Network, where I’ll be hosting some of the Blackest conversations known to humankind. You might not leave the convo with an afro, but you’ll definitely be looking for your Afro Sheen! Listen to Dear Culture on TheGrio’s app; download it here.