Thursday, November 20, 2014

Two Examples Of The Foot Stomping Cheer "Really" (continuity & change in rhymes and cheers series)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post showcases two examples of the foot stomping cheer entitled "Really". My daughter facilited the collection of the first example in 1992 and the second example in 2006.

This is the first of an ongoing cocojams2 series that showcases examples of continuity & change in English language rhymes & cheers.

These examples documentate a cheer that remained alive and with quite consist words over a period of time. However, I'm not sure if this cheer is still known now, or if it is known, if its performance had changed.

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

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all those who contributed to this post.

Example #1: REALLY [1992]
All: Really ah hah!
Really ah hah!
Soloist #1: Really my name is Lisa.
Really my sign is Aries.
Group except for soloist: Say what?
Soloist #1: Ah Aries.
Group except for soloist: Say what?
Soloist #1: Cause I’m F-I-N-E fine.
Like a D-I-M-E. dime.
Don’t waste my T-I-M-E. time.
I'll blow your M-I-N-D mind.
Cause I’m a pro.
Group: Say what?
Soloist #1: A P-R-O.
Group: Say what?
Soloist #1: Cause I’m a triple P.
Triple R.
Triple O.
Sexy pro.
-African American girls ages 7-12 years attending Lillian Taylor summer camp, Pittsburgh, PA 1991-1992, collected by T.M.P., camp counselor/step coach, 1992

*Subsitute soloist's name or nickname and her astrological sun sign.

Repeat entire cheer from the beginning with the next soloist. The soloist says her name or nickname, and gives her astrological sign. Continue in this pattern until every member of the informal group has had one [equal] turn as the soloist.

The beat pattern for this cheer was "stomp clap stomp stomp stomp clap." The girls performed this cheer standing in a horizontal line.

In 1992 my daughter, T.M.P., was a camp counselor for two years at Kingsley Association's Lillian Taylor summer [week day] camp. Lillian Taylor was a coed day camp with one overnight session every two weeks. The attendees of this camp were all African American. The camp was located outside of the city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The campers were from various Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania neighborhoods, but most of them came from the East Liberty neighborhood of Pittsburgh where Kingsley Association was (and still is) located. Kingsley is in a new building in that large neighborhood of Pittsburgh, and unfortunately hasn't sponsored a camp for a number of years.

One of my daughter's responsibilities at that camp was as the step coach. This segment of the camp came about as a substitution for the swiming component. The swiming session was for campers who already knew how to swim and a number of the campers either didn't know how to swim, and/or were afraid to learn. My daughter loved to step as a member of a little sister group to the historically Black Greek letter fraternity, Omega Psi Phi.) So she suggested the idea of a step component to the camp, and the camp administration enthusiastically accepted that idea. My daughter remembers both girls and boys attended these sessions. Because people who weren't members of a specific Greek letter fratrnity or sorority aren't supposed to do step routines or say step chants that belong to those organizations, my daughter would help the campers improvise new steps and chants that were similar to but not the same as those step chants.

Because my daughter was aware of my interest in what I call "foot stomping cheers", she asked girls* who were members of her "stepping sessons" if they would mind helping me collect cheer examples. The girls were enthusiastic about this. On one occassion she audio taped a number of cheers, and on another occassion I came to the camp and watched some girls perform foot stomping cheers for me. The "Really" cheer is included on that audio-tape and was also performed for me during that session.

It's important to note that my daughter didn't know this cheer before she heard it in that camp. The cheers she knew were from the mid to late 1980s and many of those cheers were unknown to the campers.

One other "aspect" of this cheer may be of interest to readers: My daughter didn't like the "sexy pro" words to that cheer. Neither she nor I think that most of the girls -particularly the younger girls- considered the implications of what a "sexy pro" meant (a prostitute). We think that the girls believed that "sexy pro" meant a girl who was very good at looking attractive, and "attractive" to them meant "sexy".

However, my daughter strongly suggested that the girls change those words to that cheer. Here are her alternative words:

"Cause I'm a star And S. T. AR.
[You have to say the "ar" together fast in order to maintain the beat.]

I have no idea whether after that session those girls continued to say "Really" their way or my daughter's way.

*Notice that although boys participated in stepping, the related performance activity of foot stomping cheers was considered something that only girls did.

Example #2: REALLY [2006]
Really uh huh really uh huh
really my name is (say your name)
really my sign is (say your sign)
say what
a (say your sign)
say what
cause Im f i n e fine
like an d i m e dime
dont waste my t i me time
Ill blow your m i n d mind
-Deajaih; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Garfield neighborhood),, 2/21/06

I didn't document Deajaih's age. However, she was under the age of 13 years old because she was a student at Fort Pitt elementary school when this cheer was collected. Notes:
My daughter was a teacher at Fort Pitt elementary school. She also taught in that school's after school program. When the students in her after-school clas finished their homework, my daughter allowed them to play on the computer. I asked her if any of her students would visit my cultural website and share a rhyme or example. At that time, that site had a form that allowed a person to submit examples without having an email address. That is how Deajaih's example of "Really" came to be posted on cocojams. This was Deajaih's independent contribution to that site. My daughter didn't teach that cheer to her or to any other Fort Pitt student. Although my daughter and I conducted a game song group for 1 1/2 hour a week at Fort Pitt school (between 2004-2006), the "Really" cheer wasn't part of that group's repertoire. Nor was that example shared by any student during our volunteer "show and tell" segments when students could share a rhyme or cheer that they knew with the group.

I believe that it's significant that Deajaih lives in the same East Liberty/Garfield neighborhood near where Kingsley is located -although its location has changed. ["Garfield" is a predominately African American neighborhood of Pittsburgh that is adjacent to one part of a rather large section of Pittsburgh that is known as "East Liberty". [My children were raised in that East Liberty community that is very near Garfield, and I still live there.] Some parts of East Liberty are currently undergoing gentrification. But most of East Liberty, in the late 1970s when I moved there and 1991-1992 and 2006 when these examples were collected, remains predominately African American.

It may not be significant, but it is curious that Deajaih's version of that cheer ends before the "sexy pro" portion that my daughter [and I] thought was problematic. Perhaps that was a coincidence.

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