Edited by Azizi Powell
I woke up to the news that Muhammad Ali had died last night, June 3, 2016.
Muhammad Ali was a symbol of Black pride throughout the world not just because of his world championship boxing titles, but also because of his intelligence and wit. One of the bragging lines that Mohammad Ali was known for was "I am the greatest." Another bragging line that he was known for was his response to the question "How will you fight George Forman?" Muhammad Ali said "I'm gonna float like a butterfly. Sting like a bee..."
Muhammed ali - Float like a butterfly, Sting like a bee.wmv
Uploaded by misterals on Apr 14, 2010
Poem by Muhammed ali
FLOAT LIKE A BUTTERFLY
(Muhammad Ali, 1974)
Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.
George’s hands can't hit what his eyes can't see.
Now you see me, now you don't.
He thinks he will, but I know he won't.
They tell me George is good.
But I’m twice as nice.
And I’m gonna stick to his butt
like white on rice.
This rap was composed by Muhammad Ali before his fight with George Foreman, 1974.
Transcription by Azizi Powell from the above video.
Click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2012/10/two-muhammad-ali-raps-this-is-legend-of.html for a pancocojams post that includes this video and another video of this rap for Muhammad Ali's even more iconic bragging statement "I am the greatest."
What isn't widely known is that as early as 1985 Muhammad Ali's "float like a butterfly, sting like a bee" line had found its way into the lyrics of a foot stomping cheer called "Fly Girl". The "Fly Girl" cheer is largely inspired by the 1985 record "Fly Girl" by the Boogie Boys https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BaNA7cbCHEc
That song's beat perfectly fit the usual stomp stomp clap/stomp stomp clap choreography of foot stomping cheers.
Here's an example of "Fly Girl" that I collected in the mid 1980s from my daughter and her friends:
All: Fly girl
Fly girl One
Fly girl Two
Pump it up Teresa
See what you do.
Soloist #1:(Oh) my name is Teresa
and I’m a fly girl.
It takes a lot of men
to rock my world.
‘cause I can fly like a butterfly
sting like a bee
and that’s way they call me
The next soloist repeats the exact words of this cheer (except her name or nickname). Continue this pattern until every girl in the group has had a turn as the soloist.
-Tazi M. Powell, (African American female, memories of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, mid 1980s)
Note that I posted an incorrect version of this cheer in 2004 on this Mudcat folk music forum thread:
WHAT "FLY GIRL" MEANS IN AFRICAN AMERICAN VERNACULAR ENGLISH
In African American Vernacular English a "fly girl" is a hip, street wise, self-confident young female. Here's a definition from http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=fly%20girl
A flygirl is a sexy chic with a swag all her own. She is confident and just exudes hawtness! Her outfit fits right in with her personality and she is always the shutter of all things down!
She shut that club DOWN last night. Thats what I call a FLYGIRL!
#fly #confident #sexy #swagged #hot stuff"
by Flygirl617 August 09, 2010
This definition of the slang term "fly girl" isn't the same meaning of that term that is used in mainstream cheerleading.
From http://cheerleading.about.com/od/wheretolearn/l/bltips_flying.htm To Fly or Not to Fly What exactly is a flyer in Cheerleading? Do you have what it takes to be one? Learn more and read these tips about flying.
"The position of flyer in Cheerleading goes by many names; flier, mounter, top, climber, or floater, but regardless of what you call it, it is the person (yes, men fly too) at the top of a stunt, the one that gets lifted or thrown in the air. It is probably the most sought-after position in Cheerleading in that it offers the thrill and exhilaration of gracefully flying through the air and becoming the center of attention"...
Here's another example of that cheer from the state of Virginia:
Well my name is VACHICK and I'm and fly girl
It takes 100 boys to rock my world ( I should not have been cheering about this!)
I fly like butterfly, sting like a Bee
And that's why they call me SE-XY!!:
- Virginia_chick, http://www.lipstickalley.com/showthread.php/43158-Hood-Cheers
And here's a YouTube video from 2010 of a practice performance of an adapted form of that Fly Girl cheer:
our cheer super fly girl
LABELmeCUTE, Uploaded on Jul 31, 2010
ok so heres another video from vegas i never got to upload i know its later but here it is,there were just cheering in the hall way in the circus circus hotel(excuse all of the popping lol)
I think the Westside Jaguars are a cheer squad that is associated with the Westside Jaguars (Los Angeles, California; Google Search, Facebook)
Here's my transcription of that cheer: (Additions and corrections are very welcome.)
Lead- Jaguars, attention
Group- West side
Lead- Give it to me one time
Give it to me two times
Lead- Break it on down.
West side Jaguars.
Lead- Who wants to be a super fly girl
Group- Who wants to be a superfly girl
Soloist 1 (Hakiyah) - I do I do I do
My name is Hakiyah. I’m a super fly girl
I roll with the Jaguars all around the world
Cause I can float like a butterfly
Sting like a bee
That’s why they call me Kiyah.
[Girl does a dance or acrobatic movement like a split]
Hakiyah - Go Kiyah. Go Kiyah go.
Group- Go Kiyah. Go Kiyah go.
[The rest of the group does the same movements that Kiyah just did. Kiyah stands and watches them.
The cheer begins from the beginning with the same words except that the new soloist says her name and her nickname and does another dance and/or acrobatic movements. This pattern continues until everyone has one equal turn as the soloist.]
The tune and tempo that is used for the part of this cheer that begins with "My name is Hakiyah. I’m a super fly girl" and that ends with "That’s why they call me Kiyah" is the same tune and tempo that I recall seeing and hearing in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the mid 1980s.
UPDATE: June 7, 2016
Here's another cheer example that includes "fly like a butterfly/sting like a bee". I found it while reading an archived copy of the foot stomping cheer pages from my no longer active cocojams.com website:
MY NAME IS ___
I learned this from my girl sara My name is (enter your name)
and as u can see i the finest chick in Albany
im rough and though cant touch my stuff m
fly like a butterflie i sting like a bee thats why all the boys
tell me break it down shawty
-Samantha; cocojams.com, 11/25/2008
"Albany" probably refers to Albany, New York.
GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATIONS FOR THE EXAMPLES OF "FLY GIRL" THAT ARE FEATURED IN THIS POST [Added June 7, 2016]
The geographical locations for these examples are Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Los Angeles, California; and Albany, New York.
Note [added June 7, 2016] - The line "fly (or "float") like a butterfly/sting like a bee" isn't found in every example of "Fly Girl". Additional examples of that cheer will be included in an upcoming pancocojams post on foot stomping cheers that mention the names of dances. The link for that post will be added to this post.
Do you know this example of any other versions of "Fly Girl"? If so, please share it with pancocojams and remember to include demographic information, particularly the geographical location (city and state) and when you learned this cheer (year or decade). Thanks!
An Overview Of Foot Stomping Cheers
What "Fly", "Fly Girl" & "Fly Guy" Mean In African American Slang
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All copyrights remain with their owners.
Thanks to Muhammad Ali for his life's legacy. RIP. Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post and thanks to those who are featured in this video. Thanks also to the publisher of this video on YouTube.
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