Vaughn "Dap" Dunlap (Laurence Fishburne) is a politically conscious African American student at Mission College who leads anti-apartheid demonstrations encouraging students and school administrators to completely divest from South Africa. He also eschews the buffoonery and social climbing of the Greek fraternal system. Dap's craven younger cousin, Darrell, aka "Half-Pint" (Spike Lee), is pledging Gamma Phi Gamma (also known as G-Phi-G or simply G-Phi) fraternity and is willing to endure any humiliation to join the fraternity. While Half-Pint tries unsuccessfully to impress the Gammas with his inept womanizing, Dap engages in debates with Rachel (Kyme), his girlfriend, as well as other Mission students.
Throughout the film, the predominantly light-skinned African American women of the Gamma Rays, a women's auxiliary to the Gamma Phi Gamma fraternity, battle it out with a number of natural-coifed fellow co-eds, who are predominantly dark-skinned. The students at Mission College also battle with the local unemployed and uneducated people living around the campus, who resent the Mission students for taking all of the good jobs.
Half-Pint eventually survives the pledge initiation and joins G-Phi-G. Shortly afterwards, his chapter president Julian Eaves, aka Dean Big Brother Almighty (Giancarlo Esposito), manipulates his girlfriend, Jane Toussaint (Tisha Campbell-Martin), to prove her love to him. He brings Jane to Half-Pint (whom he discovered was a virgin during pledging) and tells him that in order to become an official Gamma man, he must lose his virginity by having sex with Jane. After Half-Pint's last test, Julian ruthlessly breaks up with Jane, claiming that she loved Gamma Phi Gamma and not him. After Half-Pint brags to Dap about his episode with Jane, Dap loses all respect for him and shoves him away from him, declaring "You're not my cousin!" The movie ends the following morning, with Dap running through the campus and to the middle of the school courtyard, yelling "Wake up!