Sunday, January 17, 2016

Black Girls Performing Various Hand Clap Games (with videos & rhyme transcriptions)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post showcases a video of two Black girls demonstrating how to perform six hand clap games. This post also showcases a video of a Black girl teaching her baby sister another hand clap games.

My transcription of these rhymes is also included in this post. Additions and corrections are welcome for these transcriptions.

Each of these rhymes are probably of African American origin, judging from the words of the rhymes and the fact that versions of these rhymes are widely known among African American girls throughout the United States.

In addition to focusing on the performance of hand clap rhymes, I'm also interested in these videos documentation of how children self-censor the words of rhymes in accordance with their socialized values. At least two examples of self-censoring words of rhymes are show in the first featured video in this post. That video also provides an example of how girls (almost) create a new hand clap rhyme.

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

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to the girls featured in these videos for sharing these rhymes with us. Thanks also to the publishers of these videos on YouTube.

Video #1: Fun hand clapping games part 1

beautyalways .xoxo, Published on Jul 31, 2013
The girls introduce themselves as Zoe and Kalyse.*
*I've corrected the spelling of this name. I apologize for my mistake.

Zoe and Kalyse mention in this video that they plan to publish Part II of this video and indicate that they would explain how they perform these rhymes in Part II. Unfortunately, I can't find that video.

Video #2: Down Down Baby

Dionne Sincire, Uploaded on Aug 24, 2010

I remember playing this hand game when I was in grade school. Some of the hand gestures have changed, but the lyrics remain the same. It's great to see such a time honored tradition being passed on to my children.

This transcription includes selected comments the girls made or my summation of those comments. I've also included editorial comments about those rhymes. My editorial comments include explanations of two African American Vernacular English words.

In addition, I've included description of the pantomime motions the girls make during these hand clap games and hyperlinks to pancocojams posts about each of these rhymes. Other posts about these rhymes can be found at my companion blog on children's rhymes and cheers (Enter the rhyme title or key words into that blog's search engine to find examples of specific rhymes.)

Hand Game #1: Girls' title: "Elevator"
Mama’s having a baby. (pantomime rocking a baby in your arms)
Daddy’s going crazy. (twirl finger on the side of your head, symbolizing “crazy”)
If it's a boy, I'll give it a toy. {holds arms out like you are handing someone a toy)
If it's a girl, I'll give it a curl. (point to hair)
If it's a twin, wrap it up in toilet paper.
Kick it down the elevator (do kicking motion)
First hand says STOP.
Second hand says STOP.
Till your hands get hot.
[Girls clap partner’s hand very fast repeatedly until the hand gets "hot" (burns from the hand clapping motions). The object is to be the person who doesn't stop clapping first. That person is the "winner" of this lightly competitive hand clap game.]
This hand clap rhyme is usually entitled "Mama's Having A Baby" or "Fudge Fudge Call The Judge". Click for a pancocojams post about this rhyme.

Hand Game #2: Girls' title: "Uno Dos Sierra"
Uno Dos Sierra
Uno dos sierra
I love coffee
I love tea
I love a Black boy and he loves me
So step back White boy
you don't shine
I'mma get a Black boy to beat your behind
I met my boyfriend at the candy store.
He bought me ice-cream, he bought me cake,
He brought me home with a belly-ache.
Says Mamma, Mamma, I feel sick.
Call the doctor - quick, quick, quick.
Doctor, Doctor, will I die?
Count to five and you'll be alive.
Say 1, 2, 345
I’m alive till the 4th of July.
See that house on top of the hill.
That's where me and my baby live.
Say ooh ah I wanna piece of pie.
Pie too sweet, I wanna piece of meat.
Meat too tough, I wanna ride a bus.
Bus too full, I wanna ride a bull.
Bull too fat, I want my money back.
Money back too green, I want some collard greens
Collard greens too hot, I wanna a pot
Pot too big, I wanna pig
Pig too muddy, I wanna puppy
Puppy too scary, I wanna get married.
This rhyme combines at least two independent hand clap rhymes (rhymes that can be chanted separately). One commonly used title for the first rhyme is "I Love Coffee I Love Tea". One commonly used title for the second rhyme is "Ooh Ahh I Wanna Piece Of Pie". The girls' title "Uno Dos Sierra" is a folk processed form of Spanish numbers that are sometimes chanted at the beginning of this rhyme. (The Spanish words "uno (one), "dos" (two), "tres" (three) (with a form of the Spanish word "siete" (seven) and/or the Spanish word "sierra" (which also has been used as a female name in the USA) probably substituted for the word "tres".)

Click and for pancocojams posts about these rhymes.
An example of self-censoring occurs in the girls' introduction to this rhyme. The girls said something like they left out some words because they weren't good, or they weren't supposed to say them. At the end of this hand clap game demonstration, the girls also said "There’s more to this rhyme. You can add more too it."

Hand Game #3: Girls' title: "Pebbles"
When Pebbles was a baby, a baby, a baby
When Pebbles was a baby she went this:
"Wah! Wah!" (act like you’re crying)

When Pebbles was a toddler, a toddler, a toddler
When Pebbles was a toddler, a toddler, a toddler
When Pebbles was a toddler, she went like this:
"Wah! Wah!"
"Give me a sucker" (acts like she’s licking a lollipop)

When Pebbles was a child, a child, a child
When Pebbles was a child, she went like this :
"Wah! Wah!"
"Give me a sucker"
"I know the answer!" (waves hands in the air like she's trying to get the school teacher's attention.)

When Pebbles was a teenager, a teenager, a teenager
When Pebbles was a teenager she went like this:
"Wah! Wah!"
"Give me a sucker"
"I know the answer"
"Call me at eight” (imitates holding a phone near their ear)

When Pebbles was a mother, a mother, a mother
When Pebbles was a mother she went like this:
"Wah! Wah!"
"Give me a sucker"
"I know the answer"
"Call me at eight”
“Kids, pick up your toys” (imitates mother pointing at children)

When Pebbles was a grandma, a grandma, a grandma
When Pebbles was a grandma she went like this:
"Wah! Wah!"
"Give me a sucker"
"I know the answer"
"Call me at eight”
“Kids, Pick up your toys”
"Oh! my aching back!" (imitates grandmother bending over holding the small of her back)

When Pebbles was a angel, ah angel, ah angel
When Pebbles was a angel, she went to like this:
"Wah! Wah!"
"Give me a sucker"
"I know the answer"
"Call me at eight”
“Kids, Pick up your toys”
"Oh! my aching back!"
"Oohooo!” (imitates angel singing with both arms outstretched arms)
Before starting this rhyme Zoe shares that they had just learned it and Carise said "We're gonna leave one [verse] out [of this hand clap game demonstration] 'cause we are Christians". What they left out was the last verse "When I was a devil".

This rhyme is commonly titled "When I Was A Baby" and "When Pebbles Was A Baby". "The name "Pebbles" is probably lifted from the character in the American cartoon series "The Flintstones".

Click for a pancocojams post about this rhyme.

Hand Game #4: Girls' title: "Hollywood"
Hollywood [clap clap].
Hollywood goes swingin.
Hollywood goes swingin
My name is [I'm unable to decipher this word. It's usually a girl's name or nickname]
I’m on the phone
With my baby I’m all alone
If you see me on the street
Ooh, you better talk to me.
ooh, she thinks she’s cute.
Cute enough to steal your boo.
Ooh, she thinks she bad
B. A. D. I know I’m bad.
Ooh, he thinks he’s cute
Cute enough to be my boo.
Said Hollywood.
The girls may be saying “swimming" instead of "swinging".

Notice that this is a dialogue between two people. For instance, one person says "Ooh, she thinks she's cute." And the person who is being addressed says "Cute enough to steal your boo".

In the context of this rhyme, "bad" means "very good".
When girls say it "boo" can mean your boyfriend" (or, when boys say it "your girlfriend".

This hand clap rhyme is commonly known as "Hollywood" and "Hollywood Swinging".

Click for a pancocojams post about this rhyme.

Hand Game #5: Girls' title: "Shame"
Shame Shame Shame
Hit it!
That's the way.
uh huh uh huh.
i like it.
Uh huh uh huh.
That's the way.
uh huh uh huh.
I like it.
Uh huh uh huh.
Criss cross
Apple sauce.
Girl, you think you all of that.
You not. I am.
So boom with your attitude.
Boom with your attitude.
Welcome to McDonalds.
May I take your order?
See my pinky.
See my thumb.
See my fist.
You better run.
These girls make a number of side comments that indicate that this rhyme is very well known (Paraphrasing: "You already know this one. We don't have to tell you about this one".)

This rhyme appears to be rather well known (among African American girls I think since at least the 1990s). It is commonly known as "Shame"- from its first line "Shame Shame Shame". It's also known as "That's the way I like it" (from another introductory line), and various other titles. Notice that lines from several stand alone rhymes are combined in this version of this hand clap game.

Click and for examples of these rhymes.

Hand Game #6: The girls didn't have a title for this hand game.
No words were while the girls performed this game.

The game is usually known as "Slide". Sometimes the two people playing the game count out the number of times they do the beginning hand clap exchange. Those are the only words I've ever heard or seen for this game.

In this video Zoe tried to make up words for this hand game. She started out saying the often used introductory line "Shame, Shame Shame. Carise joined her in saying that line. Zoe then chanted "Zoe and Carise are best of friends". But she then gave up the attempt to make up words for that hand game.

Click for a pancocojams post on this hand game.

This rhyme is a version of "Down Down Baby I Can Do Karate".
The words that the older sister chants are:
Down Down baby
I can do karate
Down Down baby
I can call my mommy.
Oops, I'm sorry...
"Down Down Baby (I Can Do Karate)" is a newer form of the hand clap rhyme "Down Down Baby (Down By The Roller Coaster). That older rhyme is often called "Shimmy Shimmy Coco Pa" or some similar spelled title.

The "Down Down Baby I Can Do Karate" was popularized by its inclusion in an episode of Sesame Street's "Elmo's World" series. is a video of a baby listening to that rhyme. Unfortunately, I've not been able to find the actual clip of that Elmo's World episode.

Also, enter the line "down down baby I can do karate" in Google search for a number of pancocojams posts that include rhyme examples that include that line.

Thanks for visiting pancocojams.

Visitor comments are welcome.

1 comment:

  1. Has a guy ever given you mixed signals?

    One minute he’s crazy about you and the next minute you have no clue if he ever wants to see you again?

    And it’s especially hard when there’s something special between you and you have no idea what went wrong.

    I assure you it’s nothing that you did.

    In fact, he may even care about you a great deal and still not be able to stop himself from acting this way.

    But why does this happen?

    There’s one BIG reason why men do this...

    And I discovered this eye opening video that will shed some light on this bizarre behaviour.

    Insert subject line here and link it to: <=========> Your ex won’t be able to resist?

    It all comes down to a missing “secret ingredient” that not one in a thousand women knows about...

    And it’s the biggest factor that determines whether a man just “likes” you...

    ...or if he sees you as “The One.”

    You see, this “secret ingredient” is so important to a man that no matter how attracted to you he is, or how strong your chemistry is...

    If it’s missing, he’ll never be able to truly give his heart to you...

    And he will always have an unshakeable urge to seek out a woman who has this one “secret ingredient.”

    Here’s what I’m talking about: <=========> The difference between “like” and “love” (most women miss this)

    On the other hand, when you know this powerful “secret ingredient”... won’t believe how effortless, passionate and bulletproof your relationship can be.

    Trust me, this is going to blow you away.

    Discover it here: ==> Men fall in love with women who have this “secret ingredient”

    Thanks again.