Mudcat Café message #3135727 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #106157   Message #3135727
Posted By: Azizi
15-Apr-11 - 10:20 AM
Thread Name: Cheerleader Cheers
Subject: RE: Cheerleader Cheers
Three and one half years later I want to correct a mis-statment I made on this threads about the cheer "Like Totally For Sure". That cheer DOES NOT come from the still very popular and very influential Bring It On movie series. That series started in 2000. But the "Like Totally For Sure" chant probably was inspired by the 1982 Frank Zappa's and Moon Unit Zappa's(Frank's then 14 year old daughter) song "Valley Girl". See a post above in which I quote excerpts of that song.

There's a least one cheer from the Bring It On movies that includes the phrase "like totally". That cheer (from the first Bring It On movie in 2000 which was a surprise hit) is

Awesome, oh wow
Like totally freak me out
I mean right on
Toros sure are number one

"Like Totally For Sure" characterizes cheerleaders as dumb bimbos who are much more concerned about their looks than the athletic game for which they are cheering. "Like Totally For Sure" isn't a "real cheer" (meaning one that serious cheerleaders would chant in any competition). Cheerleaders are athletes who work hard to perfect their skills. I really respect that. However, some cheerleading squads might playfully chant "Like Totally For Sure" during some xommunnity athletic games.

For the sake of the folkloric record, I believe that it's important to research & document the sources of cheerleader cheers, and the semantic meanings of some words & phrases in those cheers. In the three years since I started this thread, I've found that African American culture has exerted a much more significant influence on contemporary English language cheerleader cheers and playground rhymes than the influence of Valley Girl culture. A number of contemporary American cheerleader cheers for children & teens include African American (vernacular) English words, phrases, sayings, as well as African American English grammar & spelling. In addition, the values expressed by those particular sub-set of contemporary cheers-such as the importance of being "for real", and the confrontatative, in your face warnings about "don't mess with me or I'll mess you up"- are from African American culture. This isn't surprising because African American creativity has always been a huge part of American creativity.

But it seems to me that there's a common approach to creating that African Americans and those who create or who look for cheerleader cheers have (I say this recognizing that some people who are on the look out for cheerleader cheers or who create cheerleader cheers may also be African American). The common approach is that both "populations" are always on the look out for material that they can use from any pre-existing sources. That pre-exisiting material is then re-worked, re-shaped,and refined for their own purposes. Or that pre-existing material (folk saying, song, commercial jingle, line from tv or movie, lines from books etc) might be used exactly "as is" with a change in context and a change in semantic meaning (and also perhaps a change in spelling and/or intonation). All of this is also a form of innovation/creativity.

This is not to say that some cultural products from African Americans and from cheerleaders aren't "brand new". But it is meant to take note of the significant amount of cultural products from African Americans and from cheerleaders that are "remixes" of something that was already in existence. (By the way, these characteristics can also be applied to other types of contemporary English language playground rhymes.)

I continue to be interested in helping to collect, preserve & study, cheerleader cheers & other contemporary English playground rhymes. I do so partly because I find some of these cheers/rhymes & their performances to be aesthetically pleasing. I also do so because I like the "detective work" of "sussing" out sources and meanings. In addition, because I believe that many of these cheers and rhymes are Black influenced (if not Black originated), I believe that it's incumbent on some Black people to document our influence on these compositions. I also believe that if we (Black people) don't do this, it's likely won't be done.

Azizi Powell