Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Confrontational Words & Body Stances In Stomp & Shake Cheerleading

Edited by Azizi Powell

VSU Woo Woos - "Work It"

Uploaded by GoTrojans on Sep 11, 2008

[The lyrics to this cheer can be found at the bottom of this post]

This post is largely a re-print of three selected comments that I made to a SocImages post that I wrote on the subject of stomp & shake cheerleading

I've corrected typos found in those comments and I have also included a small amount of additional material in this post, including the video on the top of this page which was a part of the original SocImages post.

This post is presented for folkloric and sociological consideration.

..."the point that I was trying to make was that the image of the bubbly, perky, always smiling cheerleader is the exact opposite of the image of stomp n shake cheerleaders.

In contrast to that image of mainstream cheerleaders, stomp n shake cheerleaders want to be viewed as "hard" (tough) and intimidating in their words and actions. This image is supposed to be conveyed in the words of their chants & in their routines. Some key examples in the routines are the use of the "don't go there" /stop hand gesture, the leaning forward (as though you're getting in someone's face in an argument) the moving forward aggressive stances, and the cheerleaders' balled up fists. Furthermore, Stomp n Shake cheerleaders often put on (I say “put on” because a lot of this is a dramatic act) either an expressionless (stone face) look or a scowling look that African Americans refer to as "grittin". The cheerleader's facial expression, their body language, movements, and the words of the chants are supposed to clearly convey the message that these cheerleaders are all about "serious business". That doesn't mean that they don't really enjoy what they do. But I imagine that mainstream cheerleaders also enjoy what they do, even though the expectation for them is to be always smiling. That said, I agree with you that the always smiling decree for mainstream cheerleaders can come across as fake.

Probably the video example and words to the cheer in this post & comment thread which best conveys the image of the tough/we mean business stomp n shake cheerleaders is Winston-Salem State University's cheer "You Get No Respect In Here".

Editor's note: This is the third cheer in the following video

[Cheer title corrected- June 26, 2017 I had previously written "get" instead of "gets"

WSSU Cheerleaders Gettin Crunk*

Uploaded by ORIGINALCHEERPHI on Feb 22, 2008


-Winston-Salem State University WSSU Cheer Phi Cheerleaders; 2007 (Cheer #3 in this video)

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". That said, it's likely that this VERY widely used stomp & shake cheer is probably chanted as "You Get No Respect In Here".

I corrected my earlier transcription of this cheer using the lyrics that are found on this video discussion thread: WSSU CHEERLEADERS GETTIN' CRUNK,Published by ORIGINALCHEERPHI on Feb 22, 2008 [performed at The Ultimate Cheere & Dance Experience Triad High School Cheerleading Competition 2007; Since WSSU's Cheer Phi is a university cheerleading squad, my guess is that they were the guest performers for this event.]
-posted by Jalise Cobia,2012
"you gets no respect in here (No Respect Hey Hey) (No Respect Hey Heyy)
we see our moves in all your cheers (In All Your Cheers) (In All Your Cheers)
we know you think you are the best ( You Think You Are) (You Think You Are)
Su will Put You To The Test ( Put You To The Test) (Put You To The Test)
So Dont Start No Stuff Wont Be No Stuff
Dont Start No Stuff Wont Be No Stuff
Cause When You Messing With The Rams You Bound To Get ( Ahhh Say What) CRUSHED"

-end of Update-

"Crunk" is an African American slang term which may have been derived from the two words "crazy and drunk". In some contexts, "getting crunk" may just mean to be very energetic, to be "pumped up", " to be hyped". However, I believe that in the context of this stomp & shake cheer, "get crunk" also means "to be 'hard"; "gangsta"; "street" - meaning to use African American stances, gestures, and words to emphasize the confrontational nature of that particular cheer routine.

Click for information about "crunk".

Also, "don't start no stuff/ won't be no stuff" is a familiar saying among certain populations of African Americans. It serves as a warning that people shouldn't try to start trouble unless they are prepared to deal with the consequences of their words and actions.


Another video example of that street tough image is

(North Carolina Central University) -You Ain't Bad

Uploaded by MrFierce06 on Nov 20, 2008

The words to that cheer are a good example of the aggressively bragging spirit of many stomp n shake cheers:"You ain't bad, you ain't tough, the eagles will rock your stuff".

Another NCCU video on YouTube is titled "Thug Passion"

In that video, that cheerleading squad doesn't chant, or perform any cheer routines. Instead, they do cheer dancing (performing dance-like movements to the accompaniment of the university's band). It's unlikely that any mainstream cheerleader squad would perform such a routine, let alone title it "Thug Passion".
-Azizi Powell (writing under the facebook name "cocojams jambalayah", with additional comments), July 2011

..."Re my statement that stomp n shake cheerleaders rarely smile, the "We Are The Trojans" cheer is an example of stomp n shake cheerleaders smiling.

Olympic high cheerleaders 09-10

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


It seems to me that if the cheer is one in which the squad is bragging on themselves, then it would fit the spirit of the cheer if some of the cheerleaders if all of the cheerleaders smile. But if it’s a "battle cheer" (a confrontational cheer in which the squad may "brag on" their team or their squad, but mostly confront/put down their opponent squad and/or team), then smiling wouldn't fit.

Also, it seems to me that "bragging on their squad" and, chanting about how other squads steal their cheers, are two other ways that stomp n shake cheerleading is different from mainstream cheerleading where the focus is on the athlete team, and/or the university (school) and not the cheerleading squad itself."
-Azizi Powell (writing under the facebook name "cocojams jambalayah"), August 2011

[This comment was made in response to a commenter on that SocImages comment thread]

"Here's my response to your question "doesn't anybody else see this as a perhaps subtle but still persistent way of categorizing and stereotyping black culture as being aggressive (oh, and thus even contributing to the classic stereotype of black people possessing a sexualized aggression/aggressive sexuality)?" :

Stomp & shake cheerleading is a performance art that includes dramatic role playing. It isn't meant to convey how those cheerleaders always express themselves every moment of every day, in any & all contexts.

Instead of attempting to understand the roles & meanings of a particular cultural element within the context of a particular culture, and the values given to that particular cultural element by that particular culture, people who are ignorant about that culture, including people who have ulterior motives such racists and/or sexists, attach their own roles & meanings to those cultural elements that they pinpoint.

People from a particular culture aren't responsible for how people outside of their culture define, interpret, or evaluate what they value, or what they say or do. Furthermore, people from a particular culture not only don't have to accept but shouldn't accept without questions or consideration the definitions, interpretations, or evaluations that have been given to their culture as a whole, and/or to specific elements of that culture from persons outside of their culture (or, for that matter, from individuals or groups within their own culture).

Even if that culture also defines those words and/or behaviors as "aggressive" and/or "sexualized", and even if there are multiple elements within that particular culture of "aggressive" and/or "sexualized" words and behaviors, those elements may not mean the same things and/or may not have the same values within that culture as they have outside of that culture. Also, identifying elements of aggressive performances or sexualized performances within a particular Black culture or within several or all Black culure, doesn't mean that the stereotypes about Black people as hyper aggressive and/or hyper sexualized are true for all Black people in all contexts.
-Azizi Powell (writing under the facebook name "cocojams jambalayah"), March 2012

Here are the words to the VSU Woo Woos - "Work It" video which is posted at the top of this page:

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
-GoTrojans on Sep 11, 2008

Click for another post from this blog on stomp & shake cheerleading.

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