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Saturday, July 1, 2017

Are Black Fraternity & Sorority Calls And Stomp & Shake Cheerleading Yelps Remnants Of Plantation Field Hollers And/Or African Ululation?

Edited by Azizi Powell

This pancocojams post points out the very close similarities between certain historically Black sorority calls and certain stomp & shake cheerleading yelps.

This post also asks interested persons to consider whether historically Black fraternity & sorority calls, and stomp & shake cheerleading yelps might be remnants of 29th century and earlier African American field hollers (arhoolie) and/or remnants of or examples of the African (and elsewhere) vocalization custom of ululation.

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

All copyrights remain with their owners.

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

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INFORMATION ABOUT THE TYPES OF VOCALIZATIONS THAT ARE REFERRED TO IN THIS POST

FIELD HOLLERS (ARHOOLIES)
From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Field_holler
"The field holler or field call is a mostly historical type of vocal music sung by southern labourers to accompany their work, to communicate usefully or to vent feelings.[1] It differs from the collective work song in that it was sung solo, though early observers noted that a holler, or ‘cry’, might be echoed by other workers. Though commonly associated with cotton cultivation, the field holler was also sung by levee workers, and field hands in rice and sugar plantations. Field hollers are also known as corn-field hollers, water calls, and whoops. An early description is from 1853 and the first recordings are from the 1930s. The holler is closely related to the call and response of work songs, and arhoolies, to Afro-American and ultimately influenced strands of African American music, such as the blues, rhythm and blues, and spirituals.[2]

It had prevalence among whites in the southern United States too."...

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From http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=99525
Subject: Etymology: ARHOOLIE
From: Vixen
Date: 02 Mar 07

"I did a search of the Forum, and all the references to "arhoolie" refer to the record label or the non-profit organization. I'm looking for an etymology and a definition.

What follows is the only definition I found, by googling "arhoolies", at
The Bluehighway Website

Field Hollers And Arhoolies

I'll tell you where the blues began. Back there working on them cotton farms, working hard and the man won't pay 'em, so the started singin', "Ohhh, I'm leavin' he one of these days and it won't be long." See, what's happenin' is givin' them the blues. "You gonna look for me one of these mornings and I'll be gone, ohhh yeah!" -- Sonny Terry (3, p. 18)

Field hollers and arhoolies began in the fields as musical exclamations that expressed the mood of the singer, and they eventually grew into longer phrases and verse. Few recordings of these exist, so we have to accept the testimony of the old bluesmen, such as Sonny Terry and Son House, as to their nature:

All I can say is that when I was boy we was always singing in the fields. Not real singing, you know, just hollering. But we made up our songs about things that were happening to us at the time, and I think that's where the blues started. -- Son House (3, p. 18)

The vocal techniques of these were very unique and they formed the basis for early blues vocals."...

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[Added July 1, 2017 3:15 PM]
From Google Books edition of The Music of Black Americans: A History By Eileen Southern (page 157)
..."Sometimes the songs were merely cries in the fields- "cornfield hollers", "cottonfield hollers", "whoops" or "water calls". A slave's cry could mean any one of a number of things: a call for water, food, or help, a call to let others know where he or she was working, or simply a cry of loneliness, sorrow, or happiness. One cry might be answered by another from a place far distant. In 1853, a traveler in South Carolina described such a cry:

Suddenly one [a slave] raised such a sound as I had never heard before, a long and loud musical shout, rising, and falling, and breaking into falsetto, his voice ringing through the woods in the clear frosty night air like a bugle call. As he finished, the melody was caught up by another, and then, another, and then, by several in chorus."

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ULULATION
From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ululation
Ululation... is a long, wavering, high-pitched vocal sound resembling a howl with a trilling quality. It is produced by emitting a high pitched loud voice accompanied with a rapid back and forth movement of the tongue and the uvula.

Around the world

Ululation is practiced either alone or as part of certain styles of singing, on various occasions of communal ritual events (like for example weddings) used to express strong emotion.

Ululation is commonly practised in most of Africa, the Middle East and Central-to-South Asia. It occurs a few places in Europe, like Serbia, Cyprus, Malta and parts of Spain. It likewise takes place among the diaspora community originating from these areas....

In Ethiopia and Eritrea, ululation (called ililta) is part of a religious ritual performed by worshippers as a feature of Sunday or other services in the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church[11] and Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church. And it is also randomly (spontaneously) uttered during secular celebrations such as parties or concerts. Elsewhere in Africa ululation is used as a cheer, mourn or attention seeking sound by women. In Hausa ululation is called guda, , sigalagala and in Zulu lilizela in Tsonga nkulungwani and in Shona kupururudza. Ululation is incorporated into African musical styles such as Shona music, where it is a form of audience participation, along with clapping and call-and-response.

In Tanzania ululation is a celebratory cheer sound when good news has been shared or during weddings, welcoming of a newborn home, graduations and other festivals even in church when sermons are going on. In Swahili it is known as vigelele and in Luo dialect it is known as udhalili. Generally women exuberantly yell lililili in a high-pitched voices. Female children are usually proud of being able to ululate like their mothers and aunts...

Ululation is rooted in the culture of Eastern Africa as well as Southern Africa and is widely practiced in Tanzania, Kenya, Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Ethiopia, Somalia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. It is used by women to give praises at weddings and all other celebrations. It is a general sound of good cheer and celebration, when good news has been delivered in a place of gathering, even in church. It is also an integral part of most African weddings where women gather around the bride and groom, dancing and ululating exuberantly. During graduation ceremonies ululation shows pride and joy in scholastic achievement. The women ululating usually stand and make their way to the front to dance and ululate around the graduate."...
-snip-
Italics were added by me to highlight these sentences.

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HISTORICALLY BLACK FRATERNITY AND SORORITY CALLS
Here's my definition of Historically Black fraternity and sorority calls. This definition is also found on this previous pancocojams post: https://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2013/09/black-fraternity-sorority-calls.html Latest revision: July 1, 2017 7:50 PM.

Historically Black [university based] Greek letter fraternity & sorority calls are signature vocalizations that members of a specific organization make to alert a member or members of that organization in the distance to his or her presence, and/or to greet another member or members of that specific organization. Historically Black fraternity & sorority cheers also are voiced to foster organizational unity and to "represent" (promote, "big up") their organization during their own chanting and/or celebratory gatherings and during public events.

A fraternity and sorority might have more than one signature call. These calls are usually informal (i.e. not recognized as an official part of that organization by that organization's governing body.) Non-members of a specific organization are strictly prohibited from verbally or in writing using that organization's call in public or in private.

Fraternity & Sorority "Roll calls"

When used by historically Black [university based] Fraternity & sororities (BGLOs) - and particularly by those BGLOs that are known as "The Divine Nine"*, "roll calls" refer to the consecutive vocalization of their signature call/s by multiple BGLOs during a public event. A host or moderator of that event formally announces each organization, usually in the order of their founding, beginning with the earliest founded fraternity and then, after the fraternities are recognized, beginning with the earliest founded sorority. Representatives of "sister" or "brother" organizations may respond to a call with their own call. Also, as an expression of admiration and/or unity, a member of a Divine Nine organization might combine their own signature call with part of the signature call of another member "Divine Nine" organization (either fraternity or sorority).* That said, I've read that some BGLO members disagree with that practice.

*Here's an example of combining two sorority calls:
t goodwill, 2011, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5n4A1mf_fr0
"Even though imma ZETA, i was jamming to SGRho's Roll call..LOL get it ladies!

ZZZZZZ-Yip!!"
-snip-
Refer to the list of calls given below.

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A STATEMENT ABOUT CALLS & HAND SIGNS BY NATIONAL PAN-HELLENIC COUNCIL
From http://www.afa1976.org/Portals/0/Membership_Intake_Guide_NPHC.pdf NPHC National Membership Intake Guide
Hand Signs & Calls
"Hand signs and calls have evolved into another historical facet of Black fraternal organization life. According to Kimbrough (2003), the concept of calls is embedded in both African and African-American tradition. These sounds were a form of yodeling known as whooping in the Congo and Angola tribes. Additionally, these audible sounds, also known as cries and arhoolies, could he heard being sung by slaves. It is not clear when calls were first used, however, it seems possible that calls used by NPHC organizations became prevalent during the mid-1970’s.

Much like calls, the exact origin of hand signs cannot be pinpointed. According to Kimbrough (2003), pictures from college campuses of Black fraternities and sororities indicate that hand signs became a part of the Black fraternal experience during the 1970’s. Although it is not clear how calls and hand signs evolved, these traditions are long standing.

These universal symbols can be seen as exclusive outward expressions of pride and of strong organizational identification."

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LIST OF NINE HISTORICALLY BLACK GREEK LETTER ORGANIZATION CALLS THAT ARE REFERRED TO AS "THE DIVINE NINE"
These organizations are given in categories (Fraternities/Sororities) and in chronological order with the earliest founded organizations in that category listed first.

Letters [or numbers] in these calls are often repeated to show enthusiasm and/or to stretch out the call.

Additions and corrections are welcome.
Fraternities:
Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. (1906)
call: "O6"

Response [from a member or members of Alpha Phi Alpha] - "You know"

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Kappa Alpha Psi, Fraternity Inc. (1911)
Yo Yo

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Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. (1911)
Roo or Roo Roo

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Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. (1914)
Blue Phi

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Iota Phi Theta, Fraternity, Inc. (1963)
Ow Ow

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Sororities
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. (1908)
Skee Wee

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Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Oo-Oop

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Zeta Phi Beta Sorority,Inc. (1920)
Z-Phi

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Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. (1922)
Eee-Yip

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Examples of these calls are given in the videos that are showcased in Part II of this series http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2013/09/seven-videos-of-black-greek-fraternity.html

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VIDEO OF BLACK FRATERNITY AND SORORITY CALLS
Greek Speak Roll Call



UABStudentLife, Published on Sep 19, 2008

Check out the eight organizations of UAB's NPHC.
-snip-
Selected comments:
1. ninjapoodle22, 2009
"I see my soRHOrs! EEEEE-YIP!"
-snip-
soRHOrs = Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.

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2. t goodwill, 2011
Even though imma ZETA, i was jamming to SGRho's Roll call..LOL get it ladies!

ZZZZZZ-Yip!!
-snip-
"Zeta" - a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority,Inc.

Notice that "ZZZZZZ-Yip"!! is a combination of the Zeta's signature call and Sigma Gamma Rho's signature call.

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3. BUTLERU, 2011
"EEEEEEEEEEEEEE-YIP SIGMA SORORS!"

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4. MonaJalisa90, 2013
"I agree 100%! Luckily, Sigma Gamma Rho doesn't have to deal with such drama lol
EEE-YIP!"
-snip-
That video and three other videos of historically Black fraternity and sorority calls are embedded in the pancocojams post whose link is given above as http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2013/09/seven-videos-of-black-greek-fraternity.html.

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STOMP AND SHAKE CHEERLEADER YELPS [Latest revision: July 4, 2017]
"Stomp & shake cheerleading" is a referent for a relatively new form of African American originated style of cheerleading which is particularly known among African Americans from middle school through university levels in Virginia and North Carolina. The earliest documentation that I've found for stomp & shake cheerleading is the early to mid 1970s at Virginia State University's cheerleading squad (the "Woo Woos) and in the late 1970s at Winston-Salem State University cheerleading squads (known as "Cheer Phi" and later as "the Red Team" and the "White Team")(as cited in https://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2013/05/overview-of-stomp-shake-cheerleading.html).

Like mainstream cheerleading, the purpose of the cheer squad is to increase the enthusiasm of event attendees. However, the focus of stomp and shake cheer squads' performances and their textual (word) cheers are on the cheer squad itself, and not nearly as much as mainstream cheerleading on the football (or basketball) athletic team.

Stomp & shake cheers are self-bragging cheers and/or insult/taunting cheers that are directed toward the opposite cheerleading squad and not the opposing football or basketball team. self-bragging and/confrontational "battle cheers" are performed in alternating turns by two squads who face off before the beginning of their team's football game.

Although most stomp & shake cheerleaders are female, some (mostly) university squads include a few males. This particularly appears to be the case among university cheerleading squads that perform both stomp & shake cheerleading and mainstream ("traditional") cheerleading.

Some, but not all university based stomp & shake cheerleaders include vocalizations of yelps (also informally referred to as "calls", "cries", and yells as part of their cheers. The vocalization of yelps (cries, yells) while cheering particularly appears to be a characteristic of Winston-Salem State University's (WSSU's) cheerleading style. WSSU's yelp is usually written as "Eeee-yiiip!" or similar spellings. It should be noted that all WSSU cheers don't include this yelp or any other yelp. Rightly or wrongly, fans of WSSU indicate that other cheerleading squads from other Historically Black Colleges and Universities' cheerleading squads that use this yelp "stole it" from WSSU.

Because Winston-Salem State University's cheerleading squad continues to greatly influence American high school and younger stomp & shake cheerleading squads, their "yelp" vocalization is also found among those squads.

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VIDEO OF WSSU CHEERS WITH YELP (Call) AT THE END OF THE CHEER [added July 1, 2017]

WssU Red Team CHEERLEADERS (Homecoming 2012)



Gotcha wssu Published on Oct 21, 2012
-snip-
I can't decipher what the squad is saying.

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EXAMPLE OF A WSSU STOMP & SHAKE CHEER THAT INCLUDES A YELP (CALL) IN THE BEGINNING AND ANOTHER YELP AT THE END

SAY IT IN OUR FACE
Eeeyep!
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
in
our
face.
HAWHHHHH!
-Winston-Salem State University WSSU Cheer Phi Cheerleaders,
transcription posted by SAC010 in that video's discussion thread by secalong, February 2011 (along with some transcription by Azizi Powell)

*This is the second cheer in that video. I previously (erroneously?) gave the title for that cheer as "Fight The Power".

Here's that video:

WSSU CHEERLEADERS GETTIN' CRUNK



ORIGINALCHEERPHI, Published on Feb 22, 2008

WSSU CHEERLEADERS SHOWING U HOW IT SHOULD BE DONE AT THE ULTIMATE CHEER & DANCE EXPERIENCE TRIAD HIGH SCHOOL CHEERLEADING COMPETITION 2007
-snip-
Here's a link to another WSSU cheer video in which the yelp is given in the beginning of the cheer (2nd cheer at .33) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kJLZSACcaQE WSSU Cheerleaders/ 08-09 Published on Feb 12, 2009
The RED SQUAD cheering at the pep rally for our game against A&T

I can't decipher that cheer, but maliklik95 wrote in 2011 that the words were "We are the Best, Don't take no mess, Get mad in a minute, Stomp you in yo chest''

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EXAMPLE OF A WSSU CHEER WITH "YELPS" THROUGHOUT CHEER [added July 4, 2017]
2014 WSSU Homecoming Cheerleaders,We Got the Power



Artistry Photography, Published on Oct 20, 2014

-snip-
The title for this cheer is probably "We got the power". However, I can't understand the other words to that cheer.

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THREE ADDITIONAL VIDEOS WITH SELECTED COMMENTS

Video #1: WSSU CHEERLEADERS FOR MTV



Flow Child Entertainment Published on Sep 24, 2008

WSSU Cheerleaders tryout for MTV Show
-snip-
Selected comments:
1. Tez Parker, 2011
"Ayyyy dey betta do it!! Eeeoooppp!"

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3.Asha Broo, 2012
"is that that guy going '' yyyyeepp'' lmaoo"

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3. AORaines, 2013
"Love the originality, the loudness, and the enthusiasm but cheerleaders don't woo nor eyyyupp....not sorority cheerleaders
-snip-
This comment indicates that stomp & shake cheerleading isn't really cheerleading because of the way that they perform. The commenter is also disparages WSSU's squad by referring to them as "sorority cheerleaders".

"Woo" here probably refers to Virginia State University's cheerleading squad that is known as "the Woo Woos". Unlike WSSU, it doesn't appear that the squad vocalizes "woo woo". Instead, "woo woo" is a vocalization of admiration and support is vocalized by that squad's fans. Click https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=blDqcHBu-Cs for a 2008 video of VSU's Woo Woos peforming their popular and often imitated cheer "Work It". At the end of that video, a male fan yells "Woo! Woo!".

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4. pdga9205,2013
"Y'all remind me of FSU (Fayetteville state) cheerleaders especially with the eeeyyyooppp thing!"
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Reply
5. RJRDEMONS, 2013
"WSSU its there original song they made in 2002"

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6. dstgirl9of9, 2014
"FSU got thier eeyyooppp from WSSU! "
-snip-
"FSU" here refers to Fayetteville State University (North Carolina)

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Video #2: NC A&T Cheerleaders (Aggie Cheer) / Powerhouse National Competition (Stomp and Shake)



Kevin Crawford Published on Mar 17, 2017
-snip-
""NC A&T" = North Carolina Agriculture & Technical University

Selected comments:
1. Midget Catfish, 2017
"Why are they making the sghro call?"

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2. Ashley Monique Styles, 2017
"They killed it! How come the make the same noise that WSSU cheerleaders make? (Eee-yup) or it just sounds similar?"

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Reply
3. nevano, 2017
"Ashley Monique Styles If I'm not mistaken, I believe that's the call for Cheerleaders that are apart of the cheer world. I won't say too much cause I don't wanna stomp on any toes."

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Reply
4. Ashley Monique Styles, 2017
"nevano hmm I wonder if it's certain Colleges. When I cheered, we had our own call."

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5. Lilly, 2017
"They sound like cheering AKA's"
-snip-
"AKA's" = members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
The signature AKA call is a high pitched, usually extended "Skeeeee- weeee!"

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6. Takiya Eiland, 2017
"I know they are not eee-yip in"
-snip-
This comment probably is a put-down of North Carolina's A&T cheerleaders for doing the yelp (call, cry) that is associated with WSSU's cheerleaders.

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7. OrbiT BabE, 2017
"The squeak gave me life"

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Example #3: 2013 WSSU Cheerleaders, Rams Are # 1. 11-23-13 [Added July 3, 2017]



Artistry Photography, Published on Nov 23, 2013

WSSU Cheerleaders don't play, Work it out team!
-snip-
Here are two comments from that video's discussion thread:

Jabre Jones, 2015
Gave me my entire life iiiiiyeop
-snip-
"gave me my entire life" means that something was so awesome that it gives lots of energy to anyone experiencing it.

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ken babers, 2016
I'm dying laughing at how that boy said Ayee while they was cheering lmao!!!

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ADDITIONAL VIDEO: YELPING THROUGHOUT THE ROUTINE: Added July 6, 2017
FSU Cheer Phi Smoov & SAU Blue Chips



FSU2Smoov Published on Oct 22, 2016
-snip-
This is Fayetteville University Cheer Phi Smoovs and Saint Augustine University's Blue Chips. Both of these universities are located in North Carolina. I'm not sure which cheerleader squad did the yelps, but I believe both of them are known to "yelp".

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2 comments:

  1. I agree with those commenters who wrote that the Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc."eee-yip!" call and WSSU's cheerleaders "eee-yip!" call are the same or very similar.

    I don't know which call came first. If the Sigma Gamma Rho call came first, perhaps some WSSU cheerleaders were members of that organization.

    A number of commenters have compared WSSU's signature "eee-yip" (or similar spelling) cheerleader yelp not to Sigma Gamma Rho Sororit, Inc.'s call, but Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc's call. That historically Black sorority's call is known for its high register.

    That said, the main difference between these sorority calls and the stomp & shake calls is that male cheerleaders are often the ones that voice the cheerleader calls.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I should note that WSSU's cheerleader squad used be named "Cheer Phi", but that name is no longer used.

      "Phi" is a Greek letter. (note the fraternity names "Phi Beta Sigma" and Omega Psi Phi") and "Cheer Phi" is a cheerleader sorority/fraternity:
      http://www.ucdecheerphi.com/cheer-phi

      Here's an excerpt from that page:
      "Come Join Our Team!

      "Official Team Cheer Phi"-​” Our corporate marketing branch which provides opportunities for members of our team to act as brand ambassadors at events and represent our corporate clients as spokes models for generous compensation.
      (currently only open to alumni cheerleaders, or current cheerleaders not in season)​
      
      ​"Official Cheer Phi Inc. Sorority/Fraternity"- Global Incorporated cheerleading organization that connects all college cheerleaders under one umbrella with different chapters(Cheer Phi Cities) at every institution! Contact us for more information. (currently only available for professional and college cheerleading programs)

      "Official Cheer Phi Club" - Encompasses our All-Star, High School, Junior High, and Recreational Cheerleaders all around the world".
      -snip-
      Also, note that Fayetteville State University (North Carolina)'s cheerleaders are named "Cheer Phi Smoov".

      I also don't know whether WSSU, and FSU ever considered or still consider themselves to be a sorority/fraternity. And, even if they did/or still do, I don't know whether the calls that WSSU and FSU (and other university stomp & shake cheerleading squads) have anything to do with whether they are sororities/fraternities or not.

      Delete