Spike Lee had the actors stay in separate hotels during filming. The actors playing the "wannabes" had better accommodations than those playing the "jigaboos", which contributed to the on-camera animosity between the two camps. The step show scene was was result of that animosity. According to Lee, the fight between the jigaboos and wannabes was real.
Spike Lee was kicked off the campuses of Morehouse, Spelman, and Clark Atlanta University during filming because the colleges' Boards of Directors were concerned about how black colleges were being portrayed. Lee finished filming at the neighboring Morris Brown College.
This was supposed to the second film in Spike Lee's three-film deal with Island Pictures, after She's Gotta Have It (1986). He got a call from Island saying they no longer wanted to make the film because it was too expensive, and they'd lost confidence in Lee and his production people. The next day, Lee was at Columbia Pictures with David Puttnam and David Picker for a negative pick-up deal. The budget was increased the $6 million, and the film was made.
Gamma Phi Gamma is a combination of two historically black fraternities: Alpha Phi Alpha and Omega Psi Phi. Omega Psi Phi members are known as the "Que Dogs" and their pledges used to shave their heads and eyebrows prior to becoming members. Alpha Phi Alpha colors are Black and Gold, and their mascot is the Sphinx. In the parade scene the Gammas float has an Egyptian theme.