Monday, January 23, 2012

Stomp & Shake Cheerleading - Who Cheers The Best?

Edited by Azizi Powell

Latest Revision -November 29, 2020

This pancocojams post DOES NOT attempt to determine which cheerleading squad actually cheers the best.

Instead, this post showcases six YouTube videos with the word for those examples of stomp & shake cheers.  

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

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all those who are featured in these videos and thanks to all those who are quoted in this post. Thanks also to the publishers of these videos on YouTube.

by Azizi Powell, [Latest revision Nov. 29, 2020
Cheerleading started in the United States in the late 19th century as a male activity whose goal was to organize crowds cheering at football games. In 1923, women joined cheerleading squads and have increasingly dominated this sport. Cheerleading traditionally features chanting, gymnastics and tumbling. The dominant image of cheerleading is a perky, always smiling female cheerleader who fits a particular body shape.

In the early 1970s a new style of cheerleading emerged in North Carolina and Virginia. This African American originated style of cheerleading is called “stomp and shake". Here's information about the 1970s dates for stomp and shake cheerleading:

Dr. Paulette Johnson began coaching for Virginia State University's Woo Woos cheerleaders in 1974, and coached that squad for 35 1/2 years.

Debra [Deborah] L. Rivers initiated the stomp & shake style of cheerleading at Winston Salem State University when she began coaching that cheerleading squad in 1976. She was WSSU's cheerleading coach for 17 years.

In some discussion threads for WSSU cheerleading videos, I've seen the year 1983 or the year 1984 given as the year/s that WSSU stomp and shake cheerleading began. Perhaps that was when WSSU's stomp and shake cheerleading style (which differs from VSU's style) really emerged. Please share information that you know about these early dates for stomp and shake cheerleading. Thanks      

I believe that it's significant that the early to mid 1970s and the early 1980 in the Washington D.C. area which is geographically continuous with Virginia, is documented as the time period and geographical location for the beginning development of or the increased popularization of historically Black university's Greek letter fraternity and sorority stepping, as well as the earliest time period and one of the earliest documented geographical places where the African American originated  sub-set of cheerleading that I refer to as "foot stomping cheers" occurred.

Stomp & shake cheerleaders have some of the same goals as "mainstream" cheerleaders" - to motivate their sports team, to raise the enthusiasm of that team's fans about the action occurring in the game itself, and to motivate fans' enthusiasm for the university, school, or community that sport team represents.

Some stomp & shake cheers focus on the athletic team and the action that is occurring in the game. But, in marked contrast to mainstream cheerleading cheers, a large number of stomp & shake cheers focus on the cheerleading squad itself and not the sports team or the action in the sports game being played. In those types of cheers, the stomp & cheer squads draws attention to themselves by bragging about how well they move (dance, shake), and also bragging about how others attempt to imitate them (by copying their moves or cheers), but those other squads can never succeed in duplicating them.

Also, in marked contrast to mainstream cheers, but very similar in spirit to a specific type of Black Greek lettered sorority and fraternity step chants, a number of stomp & shake cheers insult (diss) their competitor's cheerleading squad. The term "battle cheers" is used to refer to these insult (put down) confrontational cheers. When done well, those cheers succeed in raising the enthusiasm of the fans attending the game, but contrary the original purpose of cheerleaders, the fans' enthusiasm is for the cheerleading squad itself, and not for the members or actions of the sport team that they represent.
This is just one of a number of  posts that I've published on this blog about stomp and shake cheerleading.

Click the stomp and shake cheerleading tag for more pancocojams posts on this subject.

These videos are given in no particular order. Numbers are added for referencing purpose only. 

Video #1: VSU Woo Woo's 2008 "Who Shakes The Best"

BlaWaiian2008, Published on Mar 17, 2013

VSU Cheerleaders (Virginia State University)
Here's the words to that cheer:
Shake it to the east.
Shake it to the west.
It really doesn't matter who shakes the best.
Shake it to the east.
Shake it to the west.
It really doesn't matter who shakes the best.
Shake it to the east.
Shake it to the west.
Cause everybody knows that we shake the best.
-Virginia State University Woo Woos, transcribed by Azizi Powell from the video.
UPDATE- July 19, 2016.
This Virginia State Woo Woos' performance of "Who Shakes The Best" is from 2008. In a 2011 video of the Woo Woos the words are slightly changed and the routine is slightly different.

The earliest example of this cheer that I've found is a 2007 video of a Virginia high school cheerleading squad (Prince Edward High School's Sassys) performing "We Shake The Best" SASSY (We Shake The Best). The words to that cheer are the same as the words to "Who Shakes The Best".

Several commenters writing in the Sassy's discussion thread noted that that squad learned that cheer from the Virginia Woo Woos at cheer camp & because their cheerleader was a member of the Woo Woo squad.

Here's that video: Prince Edward High School, Virginia - "We Shake The Best"

Uploaded by woowooworkit on Feb 17, 2007
Prince Edward High School, Virginia (Sassy cheerleaders, 2007 (This is a Virginia State University cheer that this squad learned by attending the cheer camp conducted by the VSU Woo Woo cheerleaders).

Notice that the name of the publisher of that video refers to the "Woo Woos".

Video #2 - Olympic High (Charlotte, North Carolina) -"We Are The Trojans"

Olympic high cheerleaders (Charlotte, North Carolina); 9-2010

Uploaded by batay1978 on Feb 17, 2010

We are the trojans and we are h-o-t- hot
we keep it goin and we just dont stop.
We are so fresh, So Smooth,
You can't catch these moves.
Cause were just to hot.
Cause were bad,
and watch us as we "ROCK"!
(rock, rock, rock, rock) "ROCK"!
Trojans Stay Hot. So Hot!"
- transcription by Charlottefashionicon; July 2011

Video #3: Winston-Salem State University Cheer Phi Cheerleaders - "Fight The Power" (2nd cheer in the video)

Uploaded by ORIGINALCHEERPHI on Feb 22, 2008
Winston-Salem State University WSSU Cheer Phi Cheerleaders (North Carolina), 2007

FIGHT THE POWER (2nd cheer in the video)
Fight fight the power,
Hey go head go head.
Hey fight fight he power.
Go head go head.
Hey fight the power.
We are the Rams
And we stay on your case.
If you have something to say
Say it to our face. Haw!
Hey fight the power
Hey fight the power,
Say what**
Say what**
We are the Rams
And we get on your case.
If you have something to say
Say it in our face.
Say it in our face.
Say it
-Winston-Salem State University WSSU Cheer Phi Cheerleaders, 2007; as posted by SAC010 along with transcription by Azizi Powell; February 2011

The third cheer on that video "You Gets No Respect In Here" is also an example of an insult cheer. Click for the words to that now classic cheer.
Update: June 26, 2017
I had previously given this cheer's title as "You Get No Respect In Here". The correct cheer title is "You Gets No Respect In Here", but this VERY widely used stomp & shake cheer is probably chanted as "You Get No Respect In Here".

Video #4: Howard University Cheerleaders, Washington D.C. - "Sit Back Down"

Howard University Bison Cheerleaders 2

CoachSpence, Uploaded on Oct 19, 2006

Howard University Battle Cheer

(One cheerleader)
Step to us
You betta

(Entire squad)
Some of ya'll think
that HU aint got no style
But when it comes to us,
you better sit back down.
So sit back, and relax,
cause we came to show you that [rival's name]
ain't got nothin on HU.
You shake like this, *
You move like this.*
But in the end
your squad aint SHHHHH"
-Howard University [Washington D.C.] Battle Cheer, October 19, 2006

[The first line of this very widely used Stomp & Shake cheer may be given as "come to us" -as per a transcription in that video's discussion thread by Keana Mayberry, 2013 and exeria poole, 2013. However, Derein Rogers, 2014 writes that the first line is "step to us".]

[The formatting of exeria poole's transcription is changed from sentences to lines for this post to enhance readability]

*Howard Cheerleaders mimic the way their opponent cheerleader squad shakes and moves (i.e. not doing moves very well)

Video #5: Virgina State University Woo Woos - "Work It"

Uploaded by GoTrojans on Sep 11, 2008

VSU vs. NSU Labor Day Classic August 30, 2008

Lyrics: *
V-S-U let's work it
ayeee yee yee
work it
ayyeee yee yee
trojans [you] know how we do
get out ya seats and work big blue
ahhhhh work it
ayeeee yee yee
-Virginia State University Cheerleaders (Woo Woos)

*transcription by Azizi Powell from this video.

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    Do you know the words to this cheer. The second one

  2. Hello, Keonna Burgess. Thanks for your request.

    I'm unable to get all of the words to that 2nd cheer that's found at

    I'm pretty sure that that cheer starts with the words
    "Get out of your seats and move to the beat".
    I also hear the words "The red team can't be beat".

    I look forward to someone sharing all the lyrics to that WSSU cheer as well as the lyrics for the first cheer that is found in that same video.

    By the way, I think that the squad chants these words as they enter the performance space and before they start their first cheer:

    "Take notes, take notes
    We are here".

    I'm also not sure whether that is a correct transcription of that chant.

    1. Here's a comment which was posted to that YouTube discussion thread byjcbutterfly95 one day ago:
      "We've got the Power. We got the power house...repeatedly. add some "hey heys" you get the point.

      Get Up out your seats and movee to the beat we're the SSU rams from Winston NC. Get Up. And Move, We're from Winston. NC Get up out your seats and move to the beat We're the SSU rams from winston NC. Get up. And Move. We're from Winston, NC. GET UP!"

  3. hello. thank you of this. I'm a photographer interested in photographing stomp and shake cheerleading squads for a magazine article. I'd love to talk with you further. I can be reached at

    1. You're welcome, Ali.

      However, I don't have any first hand information about stomp and shake cheerleading squads.

      Unless you indicate otherwise, I won't delete your comment with your contact information in case someone who does know any squads wants to contact you.

      I wish you much success with your project.

  4. My school cheerleaders need to use these cheers

  5. Thank you so much for your article and the cheers. I'm the new pep squad coach and I'm looking to kick the squad up this year. Do you happen to know the words to that cheer that starts off: when we think of the best, we don't think of you.....?

    1. Hello, Lakisha.

      I appreciate your comment. I'm sorry, but I don't know the words to that cheer. Hopefully someone will add it to the stomp and shake cheer compilation that I'm collecting. Here's a link for one page of that collection: All the links for the other pages are included there.

  6. Cool cheers virginia

  7. More than eight years after I published this post, I happened upon a YouTube video of a United States military cadence called "Four Winds" which I've since learned is also known as "Let Em Blow" and "Let The Four Winds Blow".

    After researching cadences with those titles, I've surmised that they are based on the New Orleans Rhythm & Blues song "Let The Four Winds Blow" (composed by Fats Domino and Dave Bartholomew, and first recorded in 1955).

    A verse that is found several times in that song is
    "Let the four winds blow
    Let 'em blow let 'em blow
    From the east to the west
    I'll love you the best"


    1. The "Four Winds" military cadences have this very similar verse:

      "From the east to the west US Army* is the best"

      *substitute the name of the branch of the military service the people chanting are/or were in or substitute the name of more than on branch of the military service in the same cadence.

      The 1955 "Let The Four Winds Blow" R&B song (or-more likely- the "Four Winds" military cadence which is still chanted in the 2000s is also the source for the Virginia State University stomp and shake cheer "Who Shakes The Best" that is showcased as #1 in this post:

      "Shake it to the east.
      Shake it to the west.
      It really doesn't matter who shakes the best.
      Shake it to the east.
      Shake it to the west.
      It really doesn't matter who shakes the best.
      Shake it to the east.
      Shake it to the west.
      Cause everybody knows that we shake the best."