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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Values Expressed In Foot Stomping Cheers- Part III: Sexiness & Romantic Relationships (with editorial comments and examples)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This is Part III of an ongoing pancocojams series of posts that explore the values that are expressed in particular foot stomping cheers.

This post provides my editorial comments about and showcases ten examples of foot stomping cheers that refer to girls' sexiness and romantic relationships.

Click the "values foot stomping cheers" tag for more posts in this pancocojams series.

The content of this post is presented for folkloric, socio-cultural, and recreational purposes.

All content remains with their owners.

Thanks to all those who contributed examples that are included in this post.
-snip-
Click https://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2013/05/an-overview-of-foot-stomping-cheers.html for Part I of a three part pancocojams series on foot stomping cheers.

Also, click https://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2016/09/foot-stomping-cheers-alphabetical-list.html for Part I of a five part alphabetical listing of foot stomping cheers.

****
GENERAL OVERVIEW ABOUT FOOT STOMPING CHEERS
Foot stomping cheers are recreational compositions that originated with African Americans girls pretending to be cheerleaders in front of pretend audiences. These foot stomping cheers were (are?) usually performed by girls, particularly by working class African American girls ages around 5-12 years. The earliest dated examples of foot stomping cheers that I've found are from the late 1970s (Washington D.C. and Atlantic City. New Jersey).

"Foot stomping cheers" are also called "cheers" or "steps".

Foot stomping cheer compositions have a distinctive call & response textual structure that I've termed "group/consecutive soloists". That term emphasizes the fact that these cheers traditionally begin with the group voice, and then the soloist's voice, and these cheers always immediately begin again from the beginning, repeating multiple times until every member of the group has had an equal length turn as the soloist. These chanted words are accompanied by a metronome type synchronized choreographed routine that is made up of bass sounding foot stomps alternating with (individual) hand claps (or sometimes body pats). The word "metronome" is purposely used because the cheer's movement routine is performed without stopping throughout each iteration of the cheer. If someone "messes up the beat" by forgetting a word of the cheer or missing the beat in the movement routine, the cheer must begin again from the beginning.

The values that I've identified in foot stomping cheers and showcased in separate posts in this series are "self-confidence", "physical attractiveness", "sexiness/romantic relationship", "toughness"/"confrontation", and dancing/stepping skills. Most of these values are interrelated, but are discussed separately to allow space to showcase selected cheer examples of each value.

As of the date of this publication, I've not found any examples of foot stomping cheers that include profanity. I also haven't found any examples of foot stomping cheers that refer to politics (including mention of any President's name), religion, race/ethnicity, skin color, national names or other geographical places except for city or neighborhood references, or historical events. Furthermore, early examples of foot stomping cheers don't appear to have included any references to sports (such as basketball or football) or any sports related activity such as making a basket or scoring a touchdown.

Furthermore, I haven't found any examples of foot stomping cheers that refer to politics (including mention of any President's name), historical events, religion, race/ethnicity, skin color, national names or other geographical places except for city or neighborhood names or nicknames. And I've found only one referent to illegal activities in these cheers ("smoking herb" in "Tell It Tell It" (Version #3) in Part 5 of pancocojams' alphabetized foot stomping cheer collection. That same cheer refers to walking the streets (prostitution?), and smoking cigarettes, and is the only children's rhyme or cheer that I've found references to those two things.

****
Part II: THE VALUE OF SEXINESS AND RELATIONSHIPS WITH MALES
It appears to me that foot stomping cheers that refer to girls being sexy and/or refer to girls relationships with a male or males are the largest sub-category of cheers except for cheers about toughness/confrontations.

Like other foot stomping cheers, examples of this sub-category reflect the world around these girls and particularly echo the themes and the actual words of popular R&B Hip Hop music and folk compositions such as historically Black sorority chants. In so doing, these cheers are socializing agents that help girls prepare for their role as women.

It appears to me that most of the foot stomping cheers in this sub-category cheers that I've found wouldn't be considered risque as the girls merely state (or brag) that they are "sexy" and/or any reference to sexual relationships are given in euphemistic terms rather than in sexually explicit terms

Regardless of those facts, as a woman, more than a folklorist, I'm disturbed by the concepts about romantic relationships that are reflected in these cheers and in the rest of African American society in particular and American society in general. Given these expectations, it's no wonder that so few romantic relationships in this nation are really healthy.

****
NINE FOOT STOMPING CHEERS THAT REFER TO GIRLS' SEXINESS AND ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIPS
(These cheers are given in alphabetical order).

EXAMPLE #1: CHOCOLATE CITY
All: Chock-let City.
Chock chock-let City.
Chock-let City.
Chock Chock-let City.
Soloist #1: My name is Linda
And I'm walkin.
Group: She's walkin.
Soloist #1: I'm talkin.
Group: She's talkin.
Soloist #1: I'M TALKIN TO [girls stop using first step beat]
All the boys in Chock-let City [begin new faster step beat]
Get down to the nitty gritty.
Long time no see.
Sexy as I wanna be.
Some hittin me high.
Some hittin me low.
Some hittin me on my-
Don't ask what.
Group: What?
Soloist #1: My b-u-tt butt
That's what.

Repeat from the beginning with the next soloist who says her name or nickname. Continue this pattern until every girl in the group has had one chance as the soloist with this cheer.
Repeat from the beginning with the next soloist who says her name or nickname. Continue this pattern until every girl in the group has had one chance as the soloist with this cheer.
- T.M.P, transcribed in 1996 from tape recording done in 1990.(Lillian Taylor Camp); Azizi Powell collected the exact same words from Chatauqua (African American female, 10 year old) & Ralene (African American female, 12 years old , both from the Garfield section of Pittsburgh, PA, in 1999 (at Fort Pitt School)

"Chocolate City" was the nickname for "Washington, D.C."

****
EXAMPLE #2:
FLY GIRL (Version #1)
Group: Fly girl one.
Fly girl two
Pump it up, Teresa,
Just like you do (or, “Show me what you do”)
Soloist #1: “Oh” (or “Well”) My name is Teresa
Group: What?
Soloist #1: And I’m a fly girl.
Group: What?
Soloist #1: It takes a lot of men
To rock my world.
‘Cause I can fly like a butterfly,
Sting like a bee.
And that’s why they call me
SEXY.

Repeat the cheer from the beginning with the next soloist. Replace the former soloist’s name or nickname with the name or nickname of the new soloist. Continue until every one has had one turn as soloist.
--Collected by Azizi Powell, African American female (T.M.P.) audio recorded in 1992 (memories of the mid 1980s)

****
EXAMPLE #3
HOLLYWOOD NOW SWINGING/DYNOMITE
Hollywood now swingin'! (4 times)
CALL: Name is Nita.
RESPONSE: Hollywood now swingin'!
Similarly
I know how to swing.
Everytime I swing.
Stevie come around.
CALL: He popped me once!
He popped me twice!
All I felt was -dynomite!
RESPONSE: Dynomite, dynomite! (Twice)
Dynomite!
CALL: Here she is.
RESPONSE: Dynomite!
Similarly
Foxy Brown!
You mess with me,
I'll shoot you down!
Down, down,
To the ground,
Up, up,
CALL: Just out of luck!
RESPONSE: Dynomite, dynomite! (Twice)
-Barbara Borum and other Washington, D.C. schoolgirls, recorded in 1976 in Washington, D. C. by Kate Rinzler, album notes Kate Rinzler, "Old Mother Hippletoe, Rural and Urban Children's Songs"; ttp://www.newworldrecords.org/linernotes/80291.pdf ; 1978
-snip-
I happened upon a copy of the Oh Mother Hippletoe vinyl record set at a library used book sale sometime in the late 1990s. I bought that record for its record notes even though I didn't have a record player at that time. Band 3 "Cheerleading" of that record features four* examples of what the author of the record notes calls "cheers".

*Hollywood Keep Swinging/Dynomite" are probably two different cheers. While I haven't found the exact phrase "down to the ground"/ up up just out of luck" in other cheers or rhymes, the going down" followed by "getting up" words are quite common in foot stomping cheers.

****
EXAMPLE #4
HULA HULA
Group: Hula Hula.
Who think they bad?
Soloist #1: I do.
Group: Hula Hula.
Who think they bad?
Soloist #1: I do.
Well, I think I’m bad cause
Cara’s my name
and love is my game.
I got this boy on my mind
and Lord knows he’s fine.
I got his name on my shirt
and don’t call it dirt.
Group: Ooh, she thinks she’s bad.
Soloist #1: Correction, baby I KNOW I’m
bad.
Group: Ooh, she thinks she’s fine.
Soloist #1:Fine enough to blow YOUR
mind.
-TMP.; Pittsburgh, PA, mid. 1980s; cassette recording in 1992 ; transcribed in 1996 by Azizi Powell

****
EXAMPLE #5
JUMP IN THE CAR
Jump in the car
Put your foot on the gas
Jump back and let ___ pass
She got that whip, whop
Look at that booty
Whip, whop
Don't it look good
Whip, whop
I know you want some
Whip, whop
But you can't get none
Whip, whop
-hotsunset28 http://www.lipstickalley.com/showthread.php/43158-Hood-Cheers, 8/18/2006

****
EXAMPLE #6
L-O-V-E
All: L-O-V-E.
L-O-V-E.
L-O-V.
L-O-V.
L-O-V-E.
Soloist #1: Well, Kayla’s my name.
And love is my game.
I got this boy on my mind.
And Lord knows he’s fine.
He calls me his girl.
His number 1 girl.
I don’t know his sign,
But Taurus is mine.
All: L-O-V-E.
L-O-V-E.
L-O-V.
L-O-V.
L-O-V-E.
Soloist #2: Tamika's my name.
And love is my game.
I got this boy on my mind.
And Lord knows he’s fine.
I got his name on my shirt.
And don't call it dirt.
Don’t you worry bout my lover
Cause there is no other.

(Return to beginning and repeat with a new soloist. That soloist repeats the same verses or
similar verses. This pattern continues until everyone in the group has had one turn as the soloist with this cheer)
-T.M.P.(African American female; remembrance of Pittsburgh, PA. in the mid 1980s; Collected by Azizi Powell, 2/1996

****
EXAMPLE #7
I am a 25 year old African American woman from Eastern North Carolina.
The section on the chant L-O-V-E caught my attention we used to do this
when I was younger. We would stand in a circle and we would clap our hands and stomp our feet sort of tapping out the words L- O-V-E.

Group: L-O-V-E, L-O-V-E, L-O-V, L-O-V, L-O-V-E
First Person: Erica's my name love is my game I got this boy on my mind
he's looking real fine he calls me his girl his number one pearl
Then you move on to the next person and they repeat the same thing
only with their name in place.
-no name or date retrieved*, cocojams.com
-snip--
cocojams.com" was the name my no longer active cultural website. People visiting that site (including a large number of visitors who appeared to be children, pre-teens, and teenagars) contributed rhyme and cheer examples on an easy to fill out website form.

*I accidentally forgot to retrieve the name and date that this example was posted on that website.

****
EXAMPLE #8
TABA

This is a call and response chant from the late 70's early 80's Elkhart Indiana

All: Taba Taba Tab. First person: My name is Sonji.
Rest of Group: Tab. First person: I go to school.
Group: Tab. First person: I'm supercool.
Group: Tab I used to gamble. Group: Tab
First person: But now I don’t. Group: Tab
First person: And never will. Group: Tab
First person: Me and my man. Group: Tab
First person: In the van. Group: Tab
First person: Had a fight. Group: Tab
First person: Last night. Group: Tab
First person: He knocked me down.
Group: Tab. First person: I got back up
Group: Tab. First person: And kicked his butt childhood.

The chant starts over again with the next person in the group and so on.

-Sonjala A. (African American female); 3/15/2008, collected by Azizi Powell
-snip-
The term "childhood, in this example, is probably a folk processed form of the exclamation “chile please”.

****
EXAMPLE #9
TELEPHONE
tele-phone, te-te-lephone
hey "bitsy"?
hey what?
your man is on the phone
girl, tell him i ain't home
he only want me for my hips, my lips, my booty and my this(and point to, well your "womanliness")

i know we were some fresh little girls
- bitsy196; http://www.greekchat.com/gcforums/showthread.php?t=4123&page=4; “remember when”; 6-25-2003
TEATHERBALL (Version #1)
I have been taken BACK!!!! But I remember one that surprisingly (sp?) has not been said.I grew up in LA and I am sure this made across the US (Don't laugh at how I spell this stuff:

****
EXAMPLE #10
TELL IT LIKE IT IS
tell it, tell it, tell it like it is
uh oh!
tell it, tell it, tell it like it is

me: my name is Goddess
homegirls: tell it, tell it

me: I'm on the line
homegirls: tell it, tell it

me: and I'm gon' do it
homegirls: tell it, tell it

me: with a Scorpio sign
homegirls: tell it, tell it

me: and you know what?
homegirls: what?

me: and you know what?
homegirls: what?

(alternate replies)

me: my man was rollin on the ocean, he was rollin on the sea, and the best part about it, he was rolling on me (insert fast azz 8 year old sexy move here)

me: I'm just gon' kick yo butt
-GODDESS!, http://www.lipstickalley.com/showthread.php/43158-Hood-Cheers/page2?s=c36b81842e44a5cd4a49678538954ac4

****
This concludes Part 3 of this multi-part pancocojams series on Values Expressed In Foot Stomping Cheers".

Thanks for visiting pancocojams.

Visitor comments are welcome.

Values Expressed In Foot Stomping Cheers- Part II: Physical Attractiveness (with editorial comments and examples)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This is Part II of five part pancocojams series of posts that explore the values that are expressed in particular foot stomping cheers.

This post provides my editorial comments about and showcases four examples of foot stomping cheers that refer to physical attractiveness.

Click the "values foot stomping cheers" tag for more posts in this pancocojams series.

The content of this post is presented for folkloric, socio-cultural, and recreational purposes.

All content remains with their owners.

Thanks to all those who contributed examples that are included in this post.
-snip-
Click https://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2013/05/an-overview-of-foot-stomping-cheers.html for Part I of a three part pancocojams series on foot stomping cheers.

Also, click https://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2016/09/foot-stomping-cheers-alphabetical-list.html for Part I of a five part alphabetical listing of foot stomping cheers.

****
GENERAL OVERVIEW ABOUT FOOT STOMPING CHEERS
Foot stomping cheers are recreational compositions that originated with African Americans girls pretending to be cheerleaders in front of pretend audiences. These foot stomping cheers were (are?) usually performed by girls, particularly by working class African American girls ages around 5-12 years. The earliest dated examples of foot stomping cheers that I've found are from the late 1970s (Washington D.C. and Atlantic City. New Jersey).

"Foot stomping cheers" are also called "cheers" or "steps".

Foot stomping cheer compositions have a distinctive call & response textual structure that I've termed "group/consecutive soloists". That term emphasizes the fact that these cheers traditionally begin with the group voice, and then the soloist's voice, and these cheers always immediately begin again from the beginning, repeating multiple times until every member of the group has had an equal length turn as the soloist. These chanted words are accompanied by a metronome type synchronized choreographed routine that is made up of bass sounding foot stomps alternating with (individual) hand claps (or sometimes body pats). The word "metronome" is purposely used because the cheer's movement routine is performed without stopping throughout each iteration of the cheer. If someone "messes up the beat" by forgetting a word of the cheer or missing the beat in the movement routine, the cheer must begin again from the beginning.

The values that I've identified in foot stomping cheers and showcased in separate posts in this series are "self-confidence", "physical attractiveness", "sexiness/romantic relationship", "toughness"/"confrontation", and dancing/stepping skills. Most of these values are interrelated, but are discussed separately to allow space to showcase selected cheer examples of each value.

As of the date of this publication, I've not found any examples of foot stomping cheers that include profanity. I also haven't found any examples of foot stomping cheers that refer to politics (including mention of any President's name), religion, race/ethnicity, skin color, national names or other geographical places except for city or neighborhood references, or historical events. Furthermore, early examples of foot stomping cheers don't appear to have included any references to sports (such as basketball or football) or any sports related activity such as making a basket or scoring a touchdown.

Furthermore, I haven't found any examples of foot stomping cheers that refer to politics (including mention of any President's name), historical events, religion, race/ethnicity, skin color, national names or other geographical places except for city or neighborhood names or nicknames. And I've found only one referent to illegal activities in these cheers ("smoking herb" in "Tell It Tell It" (Version #3) in Part 5 of pancocojams' alphabetized foot stomping cheer collection. That same cheer refers to walking the streets (prostitution?), and smoking cigarettes, and is the only children's rhyme or cheer that I've found references to those two things.

****
Part II: THE VALUE OF PHYSICAL ATTRACTIVENESS AS EXPRESSED IN FOOT STOMPING CHEERS
Most foot stomping cheers that mention physical attractiveness also mention "sexiness", and I've found many more examples of cheers that refer to sexiness than "physical attractiveness". I've divided these categories just to allow for the presentation of more selected examples. In most of these "physically attractive" cheers, the girl states that she is "fine" (She "looks good".)

As I noted above, as of the date of this publication, I haven't found any of these African American originated cheers that refer to skin color, or other physical features besides generally "looking good". I also haven't found any references to hair texture in these cheers. In fact, the only reference to "hair" that I've found in foot stomping cheers is one in which a girl threatens to pull out another girls "tracks" (weave) (cheer name "Gators" in Part II of pancocojams's alphabetized foot stomping cheers collection.

****
FOUR FOOT STOMPING CHEERS THAT REFER TO PHYSICAL ATTRACTIVENESS
(These cheers are given in alphabetical order).

EXAMPLE #1: AH RAH RAH AH BOOM TANG
Group: Ah Rah Rah Ah Boom Tang
Ah Rah Rah Ah Boom Tang
Ah Rah Rah Ah Boom Tang, baby
Ah Rah Rah Ah Boom Tang
Ah Rah Rah Ah Boom Tang
Soloist #1:My name is Tazi
Group: Ah Boom Tang
Soloist # 1:They call me Taz
Group: Ah Boom Tang
Soloist #1: And when they see me
Group: Ah Boom Tang
Soloist #1: They say “Ah Rah Rah
You look good, baby.”
Soloist #2:My name is Jennifer
Group: Ah Boom Tang
Soloist # 2:They call me Jenay
Group: Ah Boom Tang
Soloist #2: And when they see me
Group: Ah Boom Tang
Soloist #2: They say “Ah Rah Rah
Twist it, baby.”

(Repeat entire cheer with new soloist until everyone has had a turn).
-T.M.P. (African American female, from her memories of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the 1980s)
-snip--

****
EXAMPLE #2: ANGELS GO SWINGING
Group: Angels go swinging
angels go swinging!
angels go swinging,
Angels go Swinging!
Solo: My name is Katy
I'm number 1
my reputation has just begun
so if you see me just step aside
'cause me and my man
don't take no jive
Group: Uh, you thank (think) you bad
Solo: Bad enough to make you mad
Group, Uh, you thank you cool
Solo: Cool enough to go to high school
Group: Uh, you thank you fine
Solo: Fine enough to MO,
fine enough to Macho (not really sure what this line means or if we were even saying it right)
fine enough to hula hoop,
fine enough to kick yo' duke
Everyone: say what, say what
say what say what say what
-Joi;( Birmingham, Alabama; 1990s), cocojams.com
-snip-
"cocojams.com" was the name my no longer active cultural website. People visiting that site (including a large number of visitors who appeared to be children, pre-teens, and teenagars) contributed rhyme and cheer examples on an easy to fill out website form.

This contributor shared that "Angels" is the name of their sports teams at this Catholic school that is predominately African American in attendance.

"Fine" here is African American Vernacular English word that means "looking good" (physically attractive)

The word "thank" may not be a typo. Instead, it might be a purposefully spelled (present tense) intensifier of the word "think" which means “Really think”.

I'm no sure what "Mo" means.

***According to https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/macho, "macho" means "Masculine in an overly assertive or aggressive way."
‘the big macho tough guy’
-snip-
This Spanish word may be most widely known in the USA by the referent "macho man". In the context of this foot stomping cheer, fine enough to "macho" may mean "physically attractive (or sexy) enough to attract macho men.

****
EXAMPLE #3
CHECK
Soloist: My name is Shelly
Others: Check
Soloist: They call me Shell
Others: Check
My horoscope is Aquarius
Others: Aquarius
Soloist: If you don't like
Others: Check
Soloist: Without a dial*
Others: Check
Soloist: Just call my number
and check me out.
Others: Check her out
Soloist: Cause I am fine.
My number is 222-888
Others: Check
Soloist: That fellow is mine
Cause I know how to skate
Others: Well alright
Well alright
-Shelly H. (African American female, Cleveland, Ohio, mid 1980s), transcribed by Azizi Powell, May 2007

Repeat cheer from the beginning with the next soloist. That soloist says her name & nickname, and gives her astrological sun sign ("horoscope") and her phone number. In the " I like to ___" line, that soloist indicates what she is good at doing ("sing", "dance", "draw"). This pattern continues with the next soloist until everyone has had one turn as the soloist.

"Check" here means something like "Ok" or "That's Right".

"If you don't like without a dial" probably means "If you don't like it without a doubt"
"Mine" and "fine" were elongated and sung-"my -i-i-n" ;"fi-i-i-n"

The phone number was changed to protect privacy (although this was an old phone number from the contributor's childhood).

****
EXAMPLE #4:
MY NAME IS ___
SOLO: My name is Naomi on the Phone with my Daisy Dukes on
if you see me on the street boy you better speak to me.
GROUP:Oo she think she bad
SOLO: At least i use a wash rag
GROUP: Oo she think she cool
SOLO: Soap and water will do
GROUP:Oo she think she fine
SOLO: Fine Fine #9 take yo man anytime, he took me out he brought me back he besta have my cadillac. he brought you 1 he brought me 2, married me and divorced you.
he taught me Karate and taught me Kung Fu. mess wit me
and i'll do it on you
GROUP:Bang Bang choo choo train
wind her up she'll do her thang
SOLO: I can't
GROUP:Why not
SOLO: I said I can't
GROUP:WHY NOT?
SOLO: I said my back is aching and my bra's too tight. my
booty's shakin from the left to the right
GROUP:Left Right Left Right yo mama is a ugly sight
-Naomi; 1/17/2007, cocojams.com

****
This concludes Part 2 of this multi-part pancocojams series on Values Expressed In Foot Stomping Cheers".

Thanks for visiting pancocojams.

Visitor comments are welcome.

****

Values Expressed In Foot Stomping Cheers- Part I: Self-Confidence (with editorial comments and examples)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This is Part I of a five part pancocojams series that explore the values that are expressed in foot stomping cheers.

This post provides my editorial commentary about and showcases seven examples of the value of "self-confidence" in foot stomping cheers.

Click the "values foot stomping cheers" tag for more posts in this pancocojams series.

The content of this post is presented for folkloric, socio-cultural, and recreational purposes.

All content remains with their owners.

Thanks to all those who contributed examples that are included in this post.
-snip-
Click https://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2013/05/an-overview-of-foot-stomping-cheers.html for Part I of a three part pancocojams series on foot stomping cheers.

Also, click https://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2016/09/foot-stomping-cheers-alphabetical-list.html for Part I of a five part alphabetical listing of foot stomping cheers.

****
GENERAL OVERVIEW ABOUT FOOT STOMPING CHEERS
Foot stomping cheers are recreational compositions that originated with African Americans girls pretending to be cheerleaders in front of pretend audiences. These foot stomping cheers were (are?) usually performed by girls, particularly by working class African American girls ages around 5-12 years. The earliest dated examples of foot stomping cheers that I've found are from the late 1970s (Washington D.C. ), four examples from 1976 on the 1978 "Mother Hippletoe" record; and Atlantic City. New Jersey' "Introduce Yourself" cheer) and the "late 1970s-early 1980s", Elkhart, Indiana; ("Introduce Yourself" example, and "Tab".)

"Foot stomping cheers" are also called "cheers" or "steps".

Foot stomping cheer compositions have a distinctive call & response textual structure that I've termed "group/consecutive soloists". That term emphasizes the fact that these cheers traditionally begin with the group voice, and then the soloist's voice, and these cheers always immediately begin again from the beginning, repeating multiple times until every member of the group has had an equal length turn as the soloist. These chanted words are accompanied by a metronome type synchronized choreographed routine that is made up of bass sounding foot stomps alternating with (individual) hand claps (or sometimes body pats). The word "metronome" is purposely used because the cheer's movement routine is performed without stopping throughout each iteration of the cheer. If someone "messes up the beat" by forgetting a word of the cheer or missing the beat in the movement routine, the cheer must begin again from the beginning.

The values that I've identified in foot stomping cheers and showcased in separate posts in this series are "self-confidence", "physical attractiveness", "sexiness/romantic relationship", "toughness"/"confrontation", and dancing/stepping skills. Most of these values are interrelated, but are discussed separately to allow space to showcase selected cheer examples of each value.

As of the date of this publication, I've not found any examples of foot stomping cheers that include profanity except the word "sh&t" and the mild profanity word "ass". Also, despite their promotion of girls being sexy, most foot stomping cheers don't contain sexual content and (in the examples that I've found), the cheers that refer to girls having sexual relations, use euphemisms instead of sexually explicit words.

Also, from my collection and study of these cheers, with the exception of one example in the 1976 vinyl record "Mother Hippletoe", early examples of foot stomping cheers don't appear to refer to athletic sports (such as making a basket, scoring a touchdown, or winning the game.

Furthermore, I haven't found any examples of foot stomping cheers that refer to politics (including mention of any President's name), historical events, religion, race/ethnicity, skin color, national names or other geographical places except for city or neighborhood names or nicknames. And I've found only one referent to illegal activities in these cheers ("smoking herb" in "Tell It Tell It" (Version #3) in Part 5 of pancocojams' alphabetized foot stomping cheer collection. That same cheer refers to walking the streets (prostitution?), and smoking cigarettes, and is the only children's rhyme or cheer that I've found references to those two things.

****
Part I: THE VALUE OF SELF-CONFIDENCE EXPRESSED IN FOOT STOMPING CHEERS
It's my position that "self-confidence" is the overarching value for all foot stomping cheers.

In order to survive and flourish in often difficult and dangerous African American urban communities, girls (and boys) need to learn how to confidently assert and defend themselves. Excelling in such recreational activities as hand clap routines, performing cheers (steps) and also jumping double dutch (in communities where that recreational activity is still found) provide opportunities for girls in these neighborhoods to develop and reinforce self-esteem and, as a result, to gain status.

Girls performing foot stomping cheers need a certain degree of self-confidence in order to perform these cheers with their peers and in front of other people. The girls promote themselves in these cheers by introducing themselves to their pretend audiences by stating their name/nickname, astrological sign, and more. However, by their textual structure, performance structure, and by some of their words, these cheers also demonstrate the importance of the group (friends) in relationship to the individual. Consider, for instance, that traditionally these cheers always begin with the group voice, and the cheer never actually ends until each person in this informal group has one equal length turn in the starring role of the soloist.

Self-confidence is expressed not only by foot stomping cheers' words, but also by the tone and the "attitude" that these words are chanted. In some sub-group of cheers that I call "command/refusal", the importance of being a strong willed individual is dramatized by the soloist initially refusing to do what the group demands of her. In those types of cheers the soloist eventually consents to do what the group demands the second or third time she is "asked". Examples of these "command/refusal" foot stomping cheers are included in the "toughness"/"confrontation" posts in this series.

As an indication that girls who perform these cheers actually need to be self-confident, in my observations of cheers, if a girl didn't "know a cheer" (meaning she didn't know the words or that particular cheer pattern), rather than possibly make a mistake, causing the group to start the entire cheer again from the beginning, the girl would move away from the cheer line, and "sit out" that cheer until she felt she had fully learned it.

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SEVEN FOOT STOMPING CHEERS THAT REFLECT SELF-CONFIDENCE (given with my editorial comments)
(These cheers are given in alphabetical order).

EXAMPLE #1
1-2-3-4-5
All: 1-2-3-4-5
Soloist #1 My name is Alana
and I say “Hi!”
All: 6-7-8-9-10,
Soloist #1: I’m gonna step aside
and meet my friend
Soloist #2 My name is Jasmine
and I want to say “Hi!
All: 6-7-8-9-10,
Soloist #2: I’m gonna step aside
to meet my friend
Soloist #3 My name is Talia
and I’m here to say “Hi!”
All: 6-7-8-9-10,
Soloist #3: I’m gonna back it up
to meet my friend.

This cheer repeats from the beginning with each member of the squad or group having one turn as the soloist. When everyone has had a turn, the entire group chants the following lines in unison:

All: 1-2-3-4-5
We are Alafia and we say “Hi”
6-7-8-9-10
We’re gonna step together
cause that’s the end.
-African American girls (age 5-12 years) and African American boys (age 5-7) years; Alafia Children’s Ensemble, Braddock, Pennsylvania, 1997
-snip-
This is an adaptation of a very popular cheer (in Braddock and in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) that I learned from a member of this group. In that cheer, the group name that was chanted at the end was the name of the school or the school's mascot.

Up to and including the age of seven years*, boys had no problem performing this cheer along with girls. In this cheer, each child was in a vertical line. When the first stepper said some version of "I'm gonna step aside to meet my friend", she or he moved to form a vertical line to the right of that initial line. At the end of the second stepper's solo portion, she or he formed a vertical line to the left of that initial line. All subsequent steppers alternately stepped to the front of either the right or the left vertical line. When all of the steppers chanted "We're going to step together because that's the end", the two lines reformed in the middle as one vertical lines.

*The age differences noted above weren't requirements. My experience was that boys older than seven years old considered foot stomping cheers to be "girl stuff" that boys didn't do.

"Alafia" was the name of a children's game song group that I founded and co-led with my daughter in Braddock, Pennsylvania and in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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EXAMPLE #2
CHEERLEADER (Version #4)
All: Cheer.
Leader.
Roll.
Call.
Are you ready?
Soloist #1: Shayla.
They call me Rosa.
Soloist #2: Shana.
They call me Poo.
Soloist #3: Shana.
They call me Shay.
Soloist #4: Jamie.
They call me Jay Jay.
Soloist #5: Jackie.
They call me HaJack (HighJack?).
All: Cheer.
Leader.
Zodiac signs.
Soloist #1: Aquarius.
That’s a dog.
Soloist #2: Cancer.
That’s a crab.
Soloist #3: Leo.
That’s a lion.
Soloist #4:Scorpio.
That’s a spider.*
Soloist #5: Scorpio.
That’s a spider.
All: Cheer.
Leader.
Phone.
Numbers.
Are you ready?
Soloist #1: 348-5110.**
Group: Always busy.
Soloist #2: 348-4554.
Group: Always busy.
Soloist #3: 348-3322
Group: Always busy.
Soloist #4: 348-5679
Group: Always busy.
Soloist #5: 348-4285
Group: Always busy.
- Shayla, Shana, Shana, Jamie, and Jackie (African American females about 10 years-12 years old, Talbot Towers Housing after-school program, Braddock, PA; 1985); collected by Azizi Powell, 1985

*Notice that the symbol for Scorpio is wrong. Actually, Scorpio's symbol is a scorpion and not a spider.

**I made up this telephone number to protect this contributor's privacy.

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EXAMPLE #3
HOLLYWOOD ROCK SWINGING
Hollywood rock swinging.
Hollywood rock swinging.
My name is Aniesha
I'm number one
My reputation is having fun
So if you see my just step aside
"Cause mighty Aniesha don't take no jive.

Hollywood rock swinging.
Hollywood rock swinging.
My name is katrina
I'm number two
My reputation is me and you
So if you see me just step on back
'Cause mighty Katrina don't take no slack.

Hollywood rock swinging.
Hollywood rock swinging.
My name is Natasha
I'm number twelve
My reputation is ringing that bell
So if you see my just step aside
"Cause mighty Aniesha don't take no jive
-Apples On A Stick: The Folklore Of Black Children by Barbara Michels and Bettye White (1983; p. 14);
-snip-
That book's preface indicates that the source of all of the examples in that book were Black children from Houston, Texas.
-snip-
[Added August 23, 2017]
No performance directions are given in this book for any example. But, based on the example given in the "Mother Hippletoe" record as cited above (and other sources such as the "Recess Battles" book, this "Hollywood" example was probably performed as a foot stomping cheer. However, in my collection of rhymes in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, "Hollywood Swinging" was performed as a two person hand clap rhymes. Note that the words for almost all hand clap rhymes are chanted in unison while the words to "Hollywood" compositions have a soloist portion like foot stomping cheers.

Soloists don't have to recite a two lined number rhyme that corresponds to their soloist number*. They can recite any two lined number verse that they remember or that they make up "on the spot". However, soloist weren't suppose to repeat a soloist rhyme that was already chanted. Therefore, they had to have another (or more than one other) "back up rhyme" that they could immediately chant in case someone said the rhyme that they were going to chant. And, the girls had to "stay on beat" while thinking about which solo rhyme to say and then while saying it when their soloist occurred.* Notice that the third girl in the above example said that her number was twelve. That doesn't mean that she was the Twelfth soloist.

*In my experience, soloists turns were decided for a particular cheer session (one or more cheers that were done during the same period of time) at the beginning of the cheer session by which girls were the fastest to yell out "One", "Two", "Three" etc.

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EXAMPLE #4
INTRODUCE YOURSELF
Group except soloist: Hey, Shaquala!
Soloist #1: Yo! *
Group: Innn-TRO-duce yourself.
Soloist #1: No way.
Group: Innn-TRO-duce yourself.
Soloist #1: Okay.
My name’s Shaquala.
Group: Hey! Hey!
Soloist #1: They call me Quala.
Group: Hey! Hey!
Soloist #1: My sign is Aries
Group: Hey! Hey!
Soloist #1: I like to dance
Group: Hey! Hey!
Soloist #1: I wanna be a dancer for the rest of my life.

Repeat the entire cheer from the beginning with the next soloist. Each soloist substitutes her identifying information for the same categories (name, nickname, astrological sign, what she likes to do). The cheer continues from the beginning until every member of the group has had one turn as soloist.
-T.M.P.(African American female); Pittsburgh, PA mid 1980s; transcribed from an audio tape by Azizi Powell, 1996

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EXAMPLE #5
INTRODUCE YOURSELF ROLL CALL
All: Chick – boom Ah Ah chick a boom roll call
First Person: Hey Sonji
Second Person: Yeah baby
First Person: Hey sonjie
Second Person: Yeah baby
First Person: Introduce your self
Second Person: Right on
First Person: Introduce your self
Second Person: Right on my name is sonji
First Person: Check
Second Person: I like to sing
First Person: Check
Second Person: And when I sing
First Person: Check
Second Person: I do my thing
All: OOOOHHHH roll call Chick a boom, ah ah chick a boom roll call

Then each person is “called” one at a time. They make up a rhyme about what they like and the cheer repeats itself {African American girls; Late 70’s – early 80’s Elkhart, Indiana}
-Sonjala A. (African American female); collected by Azizi Powell, 3/15/2008

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EXAMPLE #6
STOP, LOOK, AND LISTEN
Group: Stop, Look, and Listen
Soloist #1: My name is Shana
Group: Stop, Look, and Listen
Soloist #1: My sign is Aries
Group: Stop, Look, and Listen
Soloist #1: Mighty, Mighty Aries
Group: Stop *
Look *
and Listen*

* recited slower than previously words; for “stop", use the hand gesture that was popularized by Diana Ross & The Supremes in their song Stop in the Name of Love: hand held waist high palm up facing forward, arm half extended
-TMP; remembered from the mid 1980s, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; transcribed by Azizi Powell in 1996

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EXAMPLE #7
WE ARE THE RIDGEWOOD GIRLS
We are the Ridgewood girls
We are the get-fresh crew
My name's "Sweety" (believe it or not that was the name I had chosen for myself)
My sign's Leo
This is how I show it off: (strike individual pose)
-Yasmin H., visual artist (New York City, New York), 2/25/04 (memories of East Brooklyn, New York, in the late 1980s.; email to me via cocojams.com
-snip-
This example and several others on this page are from an email that I received from Yasmin H. Here is an excerpt from her email:
"We would begin each performance session with this piece because every girl had to go through this process and so it became the "introduction" piece. I also want to point out with the above piece that the term "get-fresh crew" was something we had borrowed from the then popular "Get-Fresh crew" which was a hip-hop act consisting of Dough E. Fresh and Slick Rick. The beats in our cheers and even song-tunes usually mimicked popular hip-hop beats of the time."

"cocojams.com" is the name my no longer active cultural website. People visiting that site (including a large number of visitors who appeared to be children, pre-teens, and teenagars) contributed rhyme and cheer examples on an easy to fill out website form.

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This concludes Part 1 of this multi-part pancocojams series on Values Expressed In Foot Stomping Cheers".

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Visitor comments are welcome.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Similarities & Differences Between Ann R. Beresin's And My Description Of & Conclusions About The Cultural Meanings Of Foot Stomping Cheers (Steps)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This pancocojams post compares Anna R. Beresin's description of "steps" and her conclusions about the cultural meaning of that recreational activity from her 2010 book Recess Battle: Playing, Fighting, and Storytelling (University of Mississippi, Jackson)and my descriptions of and conclusions about this same recreational activity which I refer to as "foot stomping cheers".

The content of this post is presented for folkloric and socio-cultural purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to Anna R. Beresin for her research and writing about this subject, and thanks to the girls who shared examples of steps with her and thanks to those who shared examples of this recreational activity with me.
-snip-
This post is part of an ongoing pancocojams series on foot stomping cheers. Click that tag to find more pancocojams post in that series. Also, click the tag "values foot stomping cheer" for a series of posts that explore the values that are expressed in particular foot stomping cheers.

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Part I: Excerpt from Anna R. Beresin's book Recess Battles....
Anna R. Beresin's 2010 book Recess Battle: Playing, Fighting, and Storytelling (University of Mississippi, Jackson) provides commentary about and examples of children's recreational rhymes from African American girls in Mills School (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) in 1991, 1992, 1999, and 2004, particularly girls' double dutch rhymes, hand clap rhymes, and steps.

Anna R. Beresin's description of and statements about "steps" are found in Chapter 6 (pages 104-106) of Recess Battles.... Most of that sub-section is quoted in this pancocojams post: https://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2017/08/excerpt-about-steps-foot-stomping.html. Here's the portion of that sub-section that I respond to in this post:

[page] 105
“Stepping is the African American polyrhythmic hand clapping and foot stomping that is a circle or line game, often with call-and-response singing and turn taking. A proud tradition at many predominately African American schools and among African American groups at predominately white institutions, steps are akin to cheerleading and a cousin to both hand clapping and marching. [13] The steps performed in the Mill School yard exclusively concerned the body, skill, and the complex role of being an attractive young woman. They involved singing, clapping, stamping feet, and improvising with other steppers. Although professional or competitive steppers are both male and female, only girls engaged in stepping on the playground. The rhythms are complex and syncopated, and the formation is typically a small circle. In most cases, each stepper is introduced by name and given a chance to perform a solo move.

Unlike rope rhymes, step lyrics tend to be overtly sexual. Steps were taken much more seriously than hand-clapping games, which usually ended in laughter. [14]. Some traditional step themes involve ritual insults: poverty, physical ugliness, stupidity, and promiscuity. [15]. Rarely recorded

[page] 106
among females, especially young females, ritual insults are a way of practicing coolheadedness about the body in an insulting world. [16]. Originally expurgated from collections of children’s lore, taboo rhymes such as these have been recorded for what they are: honest reflections of the issues with which real children wrestle.

The girls who did double-dutch jump rope also did steps, which were exclusively the domain of African American working-class girls at the Mill School, those who traveled by bus from less affluent neighborhoods. It was a secret repertoire of the body, sometimes labeled “nasty” by the girls themselves. But when they were assured they would not get in trouble for singing to me, they sang louder than they did for “Big Mac” or any rope rhyme. Stepping offered the girls a chance to improvise and “show your motions”.

...the Mill School children considered steps special and rare...”
-snip-
Ms. Beresin included these description of the basic movements for "steps": "step, step clap, rock, clap"; "scissor feet, clap"; and "in pairs, in two lines, retreating, right rocks back, left in place, right in place, pause, clap
repeat until the end".

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Part II- Comparisons between her description of steps and my observations/conclusions about "foot stomping cheers"

A. My background "credentials" on this subject
"Steps" is a name for the girls' recreational activity that I call "foot stomping cheers".In addition to reading published books of and about African American children's rhymes and cheers such as Kyra D. Gaunt's The Games Black Girls Play:Learning The Ropes From Double-Dutch To Hip-Hop, I have been studying and collecting examples of foot stomping cheers ("steps") since 1985. I have done so as a voluntary self-described community folklorist who is an African American woman and mother of a daughter who performed some of these cheers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the mid 1980s. I have also directly collected some examples of cheers since 1985, but particularly since 1999, from African American girls in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania from African American girls and women who attended my cultural programming (African storytelling; children's game song groups) in a number of mostly African American neighborhoods of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and surrounding communities. In addition to those direct collection activities, in the 1990s I collected several cheer examples via an informal written survey of children's rhymes and cheers from employees of the health care/social service agency where I worked. My daughter also helped me collect some cheers during her work at a Pittsburgh area summer camp in the 1990s and in her role as a Pitsburgh elementary school teacher and in her role of co-leader of an after-school cultural group ("Alafia Children's Ensemble) that I founded in 1999 and co-lead until 2006. And since 2000s, I collected examples of foot stomping cheers from people who submitted examples of those cheers to my no longer active cultural website "cocojams.com", and from other online websites, including YouTube.

In 2013 I published https://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2013/05/an-overview-of-foot-stomping-cheers.html. That post is Part I of a two part series on foot stomping cheers. Part I dates the earliest examples of that cheer that I've found to 1976 and provides a general overview of the textual structure and performance of foot stomping cheers. Part I also includes my theories about the sources of this children's recreational activity. Part II of that series - http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2014/11/an-overview-of-foot-stomping-cheers.html provides examples of foot stomping cheers from four different categories of those cheers.

I've also published a five part alphabetical listing of foot stomping cheers on this pancocojams blog and have updated that compilation to include the examples of "steps" from Ann R. Beresin's Recess Battles... book. https://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2016/09/foot-stomping-cheers-alphabetical-list.html "Foot Stomping Cheers Alphabetical List (Numbers - C)" is the first post in that series. The links for the other posts in that series are given in that post and in all other posts in that series.

I've provided this information to document that I have more than a casual interest in the subject of "steps" (foot stomping cheers) and also to explain why I was (and still am) excited to find descriptions, opinions, and examples of this recreational activity in Ann R. Beresin's 2010 book Recess Battle: Playing, Fighting, and Storytelling. The fact that these examples are from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania during the same time period as some of the examples of cheers that I collected is a bonus as that it enables me (and others) to compare this recreational activity in two major cities in Pennsylvania (which are 4 1/2 hours apart by car).

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Part B
I've numbered these comments as a means of presenting them in a more reader friendly format than sentences:

1. I agree with Ann R. Beresin that steps (foot stomping cheers) are an "African American polyrhythmic hand clapping and foot stomping [activity].

Beresin also wrote that "Although professional or competitive steppers are both male and female, only girls engaged in stepping on the playground".

I agree that foot stomping cheers are almost always performed by girls, but I believe that Beresin conflates what she calls "steps" and I call "foot stomping cheers" with historically Black Greek letter fraternity and sorority stepping. I'm not sure which step groups are professional, but I agree that step shows are usually competitive, and those competitions have evolved to often include substantial monetary awards. Unlike other activities, Greek letter fraternities and sororities that receive monetary awards for step show competitions (or for the closely related movement art of "strolling") do not become "professionals" and can still compete in other step shows/stroll events.

My position is that fraternity and sorority stepping is one of the main sources of foot stomping cheers (what Beresin calls "steps"). However, the performance movement fraternity and sorority stepping is not the same as the performance movement girls' foot stomping cheers. While some fraternity and sorority chants have a call and response structure, foot stomping cheers have a distinctively different group voice, consecutive soloists call & response textual structure. I describe foot stomping cheers' textual structure in some detail in the "Overview of foot stomping cheers" post whose link is given above. To contrast that textual structure and read more about historically Black Greek letter fraternity and sorority chants, click https://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2013/05/an-overview-of-black-greek-letter.html for Part I of a three part series.

2. I agree with Beresin that steps (foot stomping cheers) are largely an African American working class girls' activity.

3. I agree with Beresin that steps (foot stomping cheers) are favored by the girls who perform them over hand clap rhymes or jump roping. The Pittsburgh area girls that I spoke to about their preferences, indicated that hand clapping was a younger girls' activity while "doing cheers" was something for older girls (the oldest girls that I observed doing cheers were around 12 years old), because you needed more skill to do these than to do hand clap rhymes.)

4. Beresin writes that "The rhythms [of steps, meaning what I call "foot stomping cheers"] are complex and syncopated, and the formation is typically a small circle. In most cases, each stepper is introduced by name and given a chance to perform a solo move.

I agree that the girls doing these cheers give their names or nicknames and that these cheers continue until everyone in the group has had one equal length chance of being the soloist.

Although I have learned that cheers were/are performed in circle formation in Beresin's book and via some examples that I collected online from people submitting cheers to my no longer active cocojams.com website and otherwise, neither my daughter or I ever observed any foot stomping cheers in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area that were performed in a circle formation. The most often formation that we observed for most foot stomping cheers was girls standing in a horizontal line or semi-circle. However, certain cheers were always performed in a vertical line or in two or more horizontal lines. In the case of the horizontal line or semi-circle, girls stood in these lines in random order, not in numerical order (1- 5, for example, according of their turns as soloist.)

Later in my direct collection- around 2004- I noticed that as cheers began to be performed in programs on stages and elsewhere, that girls most often stood in a semi-circle (for the cheers which they had previously done while standing in a horizontal line). I believe that this change was made so that the performers could be seen by their audience (It should be noted that "traditionally" foot stomping cheers" were performed by girls who had "pretend audiences".) My observation is that during these later (around 2004 +) performances of foot stomping cheers (on a stage on off of a stage) girls still stood in random soloist order but would move in front of their space in line to do their solo portion. When their solo portion ended, the girls would (still facing forward) step back to their place in line.

5. All of the basic movements that Anna R. Beresin gave for "steps"* (foot stomping cheers) are very similar if not the same as the basic patterns that I've observed and gathered from other sources. Beresin also writes or implies that these movements are repeated until the end of the "step". I emphasize the fact that foot stomping cheers are syncopated choreographed routines that alternate bass sounding foot stomps with hand claps (or less often, body pats). These synchronized patterns continue without any stopping (and usually without any pattern changes) thoughout the entire foot stomping cheer. If anyone "messes up the beat", the cheer has to begin again from the beginning.

*from Beresin's sub-chapter on step, the basic movements for "steps" were: "step, step clap, rock, clap"; "scissor feet, clap"; and "in pairs, in two lines, retreating, right rocks back, left in place, right in place, pause, clap
repeat until the end".

According to my observations, the standard beat patterns for foot stomping cheers are "stomp clap, stomp stomp clap" or "stomp stomp clap, stomp stomp clap".

6. I agree with Beresin that "Stepping [doing foot stomping cheers] offered the girls a chance to improvise and “show your motions”. For some cheers, girls are expected to improvise, within a relatively limited cluster of set (such as names of popular dances) or within a relatively fixed set of rhyming verses (such as using a word that rhyme with a particular word- as in the rhyme "Hollywood"- "my name is [give name or nickname], I'm number one/ my reputation is having fun"... "my name is [give name or nickname], I'm number two/ kickin it with Scooby Doo".) "Kickin it means relaxing with". Note that these two numbers don't need to be given in order, but the soloist is supposed to recite a rhyme for a number that hasn't already been recited.

In contrast, the text of some of these cheers is relatively set and allows for little improvising except for the substitution of personalized information such as the girl's name or nickname, her astrological sign, and her favorite activity.

7. I take friendly exception to Beresin's phrasing of the traditional themes of steps (foot stomping cheers) as "involving ritual insults: poverty, physical ugliness, stupidity, and promiscuity" and her sentence that honest reflections of the issues with which real children wrestle". I agree that some of these cheers are "nasty", but some hand clap rhymes and other children's rhymes are also "nasty".

I also agree that these reflect the world around the girls and are parts of the girls' socialization for their roles as women. As such, these examples express the twin high values in urban poor and working class communities of self-confidence/toughness and physical attractiveness/sexiness/"being fly' (hip, cool, up to date with the latest street culture/styles). As such, these cheers echo many Black song/chant traditions of self-bragging and insult (dissing) opponents or competitors.

However, some foot stomping cheers ("steps") have no sexual, or insulting, or confrontational/threatening, or insults. Instead these cheers are just an excuse for girls to show of their ability to "step" (do foot stomping routines) and do still popular or old school popular dances.

It's my position that "self-confidence" is the overarching value for all foot stomping cheers. In order to survive and flourish in often difficult and dangerous African American urban communities, girls (and boys) need to learn how to confidently assert and defend themselves. Excelling in such recreational activities as hand clap routines, performing cheers (steps) and also jumping double dutch (in communities where that recreational activity is still found) provide opportunities for girls in these neighborhoods to develop and reinforce self-esteem and, as a result, to gain status.

While I believe that these cheers reflect life around the girls, I also believe that these cheers are dramatizations, meaning (for instance) that the girls aren't really feeling confrontation when they chant the confrontational lines for these cheers. They are role playing. Yet, I believe that it's important to document, study, and reflect on the way these cheers echo certain topics, for instance, the way these cheers refer to romantic love.

Subsequent pancocojams posts on foot stomping cheers ("steps") will further explore values that are expressed in these cheers. Click the "values foot stomping cheers" for posts in that series.

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