Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Examples Of The Negative Adjective Use Of "Ghetto" In Discussion Threads Of Certain YouTube Stomp & Shake Cheerleading Videos

Edited by Azizi Powell

This pancocojams post provides selected examples of the almost always negative adjectival use of the word "ghetto" to describe almost entirely Black female members of Winston-Salem State University's (WSSU)'s cheerleading squads. These selected comments are from various YouTube video discussion threads of WSSU's cheerleading squads (published in 2008-2015) as well as from a (Historically Black College & University sports) discussion thread about that 2008 video of WSSU's cheerleading squad video that is featured in this post. These selected comments document the use of the word "ghetto" as a usually negative descriptions of the almost entirely Black female members of WSSU's cheerleading squad.

In contrast to the disparaging use of the word "ghetto" to describe these cheerleaders, this post documents some comments from those same YouTube discussion threads that express positive opinions about WSSU's cheerleading squads, and in particular about the female members of those squads.

One video of a Winston-Salem State University's cheerleading squad is showcased in this post to provide one visual example of this university's Stomp & Shake cheerleading styles and the football stadium's crowds' reactions to that cheering.

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

This post helps document information about and perceptions of Stomp & Shake cheerleading among Black and non-Black Americans from 2008-2015 (the years that these comments were published).

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to Winston-Salem State University's cheerleading squads and all those who are featured in these videos and quoted in this post. Thanks also to all those who have published these YouTube videos.

This post is part of pancocojams' ongoing series on Stomp & Shake cheerleading.

"Stomp & Shake" cheerleading is a referent for a relatively new form of African American originated style of cheerleading for football games or for basketball games. The earliest date that I've found for stomp & shake cheerleading is the early to mid 1970s.

Stomp & shake cheerleading focuses on the group performance of choreographed percussive, rhythmic foot stomping, (individual) hand clapping, leg lifts, and African American/Caribbean originated dance moves. These body movements are often but not always accompanied by the cheer squad's performance of self-bragging and/or competitor insulting unison chanting. Although most stomp & shake cheerleaders are female, a few males also are members of some (usually university) stomp & shake squads. This appears to particularly be the case among university cheerleading squads that perform stomp & shake cheerleading and mainstream ("traditional") cheerleading.

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 on the football (or basketball) athletic team. Stomp & Shake is a relatively new form of cheerleading. 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 Winston-Salem State University cheerleading squads (known as Cheer Phi or Rams, or Red Team and White Team).

Stomp & Shake cheerleading has vehement supporters who love the creativity, innovation, skill, showmanship, "hardness" and "for realness" (according to Black cultural criteria) of this type of cheerleading. However, stomp & shake cheerleading also has vehement detractors who don't consider it to be "real cheerleading", but a form of fraternity/sorority stepping and/or cheer dancing. Stomp & cheer detractors also routinely negatively label stomp & shake cheerleading and its (almost exclusively) Black female squad members as being "ghetto" (behaving and dressing in ways that are highly inappropriate by middle class standards, particularly to behave and dress in sexually provocative ("slutty) ways, and behaving in loud and overly aggressive confrontational ways.

Click for an earlier pancocojams post on stomp & shake cheerling. Additional pancocojams posts on this subject can be found by clicking the "stomp and shake cheerleading tag" below.

Winston-Salem State University's (WSSU)'s cheerleaders were selected as the focus for this post partly because it appears that that university's cheerleading squads -along with Virginia State University's (VSU's) Woo Woo cheerleaders were the founders or among the first originators and performers of Stomp & Shake styles of cheerleading (in the mid to late 1970s/early 1980s). Furthermore, it also appears that WSSU and VSU continue to be widely acknowledged as Stomp & Shake leaders and innovators (with regard to performance styles and textual cheers) by some other universities, high schools, middle schools, and community based Stomp & Shake cheerleading community - using the criteria of the number of YouTube videos, video hits, positive YouTube discussion thread viewer comments, and particularly using the criteria of the number of non-university cheerleading squads "copy" WSSU's and/or VSU's cheers and/or performance styles.

A closely related pancocojams post on YouTube viewer's comments about Virginia State University's Woo Woo cheerleaders will be published ASAP and its link will be added to this post.


As of this date (2017), most Stomp & Shake cheerleading squads are located in the southern region of the United States. That isn't surprising as (it appears from my online research) that Stomp & Shake cheerleading originated in the mid to late 1970s and 1980s in the Southern states of Virginia and North Carolina. Significantly, Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCU) based majorette dance teams (J-Setting) also appears to have originated in North Carolina and Virginia during that same time period. Also, historically African American fraternity and sorority Greek letter stepping appears to have become more prominent in the late 1960s, 1970s, and early 1980s, and Howard University, located near Virginia in Washington D.C., is the epicenter for early historical information about "stepping". In the early to late 1970s Washington, D.C. became known for percussive, uptempo, call & response "Go Go" music, and Washington D. C. is one of the location of the earliest documented text examples of what I refer to as "foot stomping cheers" (in the mid to late 1970s). I believe that none of this is a coincidence.

A number of commenters on YouTube discussion threads about Winston-Salem State University's cheerleading squads used the word "ghetto" not as a noun to refer to poor and lower income working class, crime ridden, mostly urban, and mostly African American neighborhoods, but as an adjective that disparaged the (almost entirely Black) female members of those cheerleading squads mostly because of their body movements, the styles of their cheerleader uniforms, and their aggressive chanting and body mannerisms.
, among other elements.

My sense is that most of the people making those comments in those featured videos' discussion threads were Black, based on the text of those comments, including the commenters' racial self-identification, and based on the photos that accompanied many of those comments. There were also some racists comments in these discussion threads, mostly from people who self-identified as White in those comments or by those comments' accompanying photograph. However, this post doesn't provide examples of those types of comments.

It's my guess that these selected comments which document the use of the word "ghetto" as a usually negative adjective that was used to describe the almost always Black female members of WSSU's cheerleading squad also by extension, describe the almost always Black female members of other historically African American university Stomp & Shake cheerleading squads. In addition, by extension, these usually negative adjectival use of the word "ghetto" describe the (almost always) female members of (predominately or exclusively) Black middle school, high school, and/or community based Stomp & Shake cheerleading squads.

Note that Winston-Salem State University's cheerleading squads usually include a few males. However, it's rare for anyone on the discussion threads of these YouTube videos to make any comment either positive or negative about these squad's male cheerleaders.

Here's an entry for the vernacular term "ghetto" that fits the way that "ghetto" was often used in these featured discussion thread:
A description that non-black people use for black people who are, at the time, doing anything gross, undesirable, obnoxious, loud, dressing trashy or giving unnecessary attitude - a description inherent to black people from the ghetto.

Jennifer usually looks really classy but tonight she just looked straight up ghetto.
by campnewyork July 05, 2011
"straight up" = undeniably, definitely, totally

As a reminder, it appears to me that most of the comments that use "ghetto" to disparage the stomp & shake discussion threads that are featured below seem to have been written by Black people.

There are other vernacular adjective definitions for the word "ghetto" than the ones that are mentioned in this post. Among those definitions is the positive meaning of being resourceful, improvising, inventive, and otherwise doing things that help a person survive in difficult economic situations. However, I don't believe that that definition applies to the comments in these online discussion threads about Stomp & Shake cheerleading.

SHOWCASE VIDEO: 2015 WSSU Cheerleaders, Hey Everybody

Artistry Photography, Published on Oct 23, 2015

These comments are presented in chronological order, according to the title of that video or the title of their blog posting. I've assigned numbers to these comments based on its publishing date, with the oldest dated comments within those titles given first, except for responses. However, some comments within each titles are grouped according to subject matter, regardless of the year that they were posted.

When the word "ghetto" is used as a positive descriptor of Stomp & Shake cheerleaders or that cheerleading style, I've added an editorial comment below that comment indicating that.


ORIGINALCHEERPHI Published on Feb 22, 2008


1. Jair, [The remaining portion of this name omitted because of this blog's policy about inapporpriate language], 2015
"What's great about this is how it calls on the cultural significance of South African Boot and indigenous Tribal dance. Clearly it's been adapted to entertain. People can call this ghetto or low class but if you put it in the history of dance from African and other indigenous cultures it's what people had to do to maintain ties to their history. I'm glad these cheerleaders and others at HBCU's keep this style and don't assimilate. It's fun to watch and creates excitement for their fans, which is what cheerleading is supposed to do.

This particular team seems to have great synchronicity and original routines. Even ones I've seen them do in compteition or exhibition uses popular music but they find unique moves and ways to dance to it as well as using music like, "O Fortuna" by Carl Orff and music from the band Kraftwerk..."
This is the entire text of this comment.


cavettaj, Published on Jun 11, 2011
RAMS BACK IN THE CIAA... taking names!
:::: finishing off Livingstone in a friendly battle::::
WSSU vs Livingstone 2010-11
Selected comments
Conscious, 2012
"That was awesome, I watched it about 30 times now, the red bone on the end was hot too so I think that helped some of the effect of the video, but it was good competition, especially when the game is that's a hood cheerleading competition right there"
"Hood" here is a synonym for "ghetto" and that word is used in a positive sense in this video as a referent for populations of Black people who are creative, innovative perhaps because they aren't restricted by mainstream (White) middle class rules and values.

Kiara Holley, 2012
"omg i just love this it go to hard"
"to" = very
"hard" = aggressive and/ or "telling something without sugar coating itmodoing something to the fullest extent", both positive descriptors in 'the hood.

"it go" = it is

kimmie6209, 2013
"This IS NOT collegiate cheerleading, this is some backyard teach yourself low-rent mess. Being in college is about being learned &scholarly. U are also to show sportsmanship as a cheerleader. But the chant starts off with "you get no respect" & god knows what else crap they said. Also cheerleading moves are very structured, not doing moves like cabbage patching & flailing arms all over the place. But leave it to black people to mess cheerleading with just like they messed up their names.
percabethcool, 3013
"@kimmie6209 that waz so rude and races its good 2 speak d truth but wat u said waz raw"
"races" = probably a typo for "racist"
'raw" = probably means "unfiltered" in a negative sense
Logan Anon, 2013
"Im white myself, and go to a white school. But i think these girls killed it and bring a different type of cheerleading style just like A LOT of other people. And to be honest i think they do better then our all white girl team.."

Rebecca Babosh, 2013
"Wow. Bellies. That's so inappropriate. They should be arrested."

Gabby Stull, 2013
"Im sorry but the outfits are showing to much.I mean I know your a cheerleader but you are repesenting Your school"

datgirlflirt, 2013
"Y are their uniforms a problem do y'all complain about other squads uniforms

Jeanรฉ Beauty, 2013
"They are grown women in COLLEGE! they can show what they want"

Hannah Loring, 2013
Ghetto Style! I LOVE IT!!!!
I believe that "ghetto" here is used to compliment someone or something “raw”, "for real"; i.e. something "ghetto" is original, innovative, unfiltered, not homogenized, expressing the essence of something or someone

"This called ratchet leading"
"Ratchet" is a negative African American Vernacular English term that means "uncouth", "nasty"; perhaps from the word "wretched"

Mazda6boy, 2015
"True life:I'm a ghetto cheerleader"
This appears to be a positive use of the term "ghetto".

GScott7, 2015
"Nah., True Life im an HBCU cheerleader.
"HBCU" = Historically Black Colleges & Universities

Brandi Gordon, 2016
"they raw my daughter is a cheerleader and she loves this cheer๐Ÿ’ฏ๐Ÿ’ฏ๐Ÿ’ฏ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘"
I believe that "raw" here is meant as a positive descriptor means "unfiltered" (by mainstream society's rules and expectations.

III. WSSU Rams Cheerleaders

Published on Dec 6, 2011
2011-12 Winston-Salem Rams Cheerleaders during basketball game

1. shalocka larrison, 2013
"They look stank"
"Stank" is an African American Vernacular English adjective and not a past tense verb of "stink"). "Stank" means someone who stinks but also someone who is a slut.

2. Cedric Perkins, 2013
"I thought yall was ratchet at first but not now.. yall crunk af.. girl in the frnt killed it"
"rachet" = an insult meaning "a mess" ("messed up'), "slutty"

crunk = usually a complimentary term meaning "hyped, wild, behaving with little or no inhibitions

af= as + four letter profanity beginning with the letter "f".

3. Briana Glossy, 2014
"They look good, just because you're not used to seeing other types of Cheer/Dance doesn't mean you can judge them."

4. Jamika Adkins, 2014
"Yo they sassyas"
"sassyas" here may be the word "sassy" with the added word "ass". This may be a complimentary comment or it may be an insult.

2013 WSSU Red Sea Of Sound
Artistry Photography

Taya alberto2 years ago
You saying the ghetto but they in college boo they not dancing in the street
Annaa Idekijustloveyoutube1 year ago

toolcrib751 year ago
They're smart lil ladies so they can wear anything thing and maybe the ones talking mad because they're r not in college

Mimi Mariee2 years ago
Smh why are they wearing net stalkings that's so Unlady like ๐Ÿ˜’ they should be wearing the leggings that the other dancers got on
Reply 1
Jaidarius Titus
Jaidarius Titus2 years ago
Everybody has a different style.. Let them live.

Shatara DeVane1 year ago
Peep the girl with the whole in her tights .. Just ratchet lol
+Shatara DeVane Sometimes tights rip after you put them on... IJS. Not too much you can do if you ripped them while performing.
IJS+ I’m just sayin

superGJ243 years ago
this look like some shyt straight out the ghetto
neva jones2 years ago
yea they look but there not
Kourtnie ross2 years ago
+neva jones shut up
neva jones2 years ago
+Kourtnie ross i don't have to shut up. shut up for what? all i said was yea they look but there not so why do't u shut up talkin to me

DearestMe1 year ago
Beautiful girls and the most realistic fake hair of ALL the HBCU dance groups.

michael wright1 year ago
Dancing dolls of WSSU look like prostitutes.
Darrell Emerson1 year ago
Fyi, they're called Scarlet Lace; and they don't look like prostitutes you asshole..
dperfect286 months ago
That's so disrespectful to our sisters ๐Ÿ˜ก๐Ÿ˜ก (in college to)

Jae Shuler1 month ago
look at those beautiful black queens ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜ they look like sexy black panthers...

Patrice Dobson8 months ago
NEVER have I seen so many beautiful people!

Seth Williams2 months ago
Gorgeous young women and a great band. High class!!! That's why there are haters.

Joe Kelly1 year ago
Sweet Baby Jesus. I fell in love 8 know your gorgeous, ignore the haters.

V. 2014 WSSU Cheerleaders, Show The World

Artistry Photography

music&mars00, 2016
"ratchet ghetto cheerleaders"

From Southern-Jackson State YOU GETS NO RESPECT IN HERE!!
Discussion in 'The Smack Board' started by getuprams, Sep 11, 2014.

[Pancocojams Editor: is a probably unofficial sports discussion forum for members of guests. "HBCU" = Historically Black Colleges & Universities. This particular forum featured comments about the video of Winston-Salem State University's cheerleading video that was featured as video/comments #I above.

The word "smack" in "Smack board" is an African American Vernacular English term that means "trash talking", "talking about, insulting, dissing other people or groups, and/or bragging about yourself and/or your group

1. getuprams, Sep 11, 2014 #11
DallasCowboyGirl said:
“So where were they at a non-Greek Step Show because that was not cheerleading!
Yes It's Cheerleading! It has a name it's called Stomp-n-Shake and WSSU is one of the originators of the style, It's VERY popular in NC\VA\DC\MD\TN"
-end of quote-

"The CIAA is famous for its Cheerleading which is SnS as oppsed to "White Girl Go Fight Win"!!

The CIAA Cheerleading Exhibition last cheer drew over 8,000 people!

cheerleaders is a perky, always smiling, female who fits a particular body mold.

However, in the late 1970s, a new style of cheerleading emerged in North Carolina and Virginia. This African American originated style of cheerleading is called “Stomp n Shake”. Stomp n Shake cheerleaders have the same goals as “traditional cheerleaders” — to motivate their sports team and raise the enthusiasm of fans. However, Stomp n Shake uses African American dance/stepping aesthetics”
The portion that begins with the word "...cheerleaders is a perky..." is a (unattributed) quote from me. That portion is either from my (now retired) website or from a previous pancocojams post that I wrote about stomp & shake cheerleading.

**onhe line cheerleader is a perky…[from my cocojams also quoted on pancoocjams [give link]

2. DallasCowboyGirl, Sep 11, 2014#12
"Country Ghetto!"

3. getuprams, Sep 11, 2014 #13
"Regardless of your denial, Go Fight WIN DOES NOT excite a black crowd. I don't know why SWAC squads continue to use there imitation NCA style of cheerleading. It's just not INTERESTING to black people!

Cheerleading battles are a major factor in CIAA sporting events, much like Dance Lines are in the SWAC!

I guarantee you WSSU fans react more to WSSU's cheers than Southern's does when they stunt"

4. icey23, Sep 11, 2014 #15
"still ghetto in my book. Ghetto phi Stomp n Shake"
"Ghetto Phi" is a negative adaptation of one of the names that Winston-Salem State University cheerleaders have used for their squads.

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Visitor comments are welcome.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Compilation "Video" Of Ten African American Music Soundies (clips of the Delta Rhythm Boys, Fats Waller, the Jubalaires, The Cabin Kids, & Six Other Artists)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This pancocojams post showcases a YouTube video compilation of ten "soundies" of vintage African American music.

"Soundies" are short films that were produced in the United States between 1940-1947.

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

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all those who are featured in these soundies. Thanks also to the publisher of this compilation of 1940s soundies.

Some of the artists and/or some of the songs that are featured in this soundie are also showcased on separate pancocojams posts such as this one: The Jubailaire's Noah - 1940s Gospel Rap.

To identify those posts use Google search or enter the artist name or the title of the song in pancoocjams's internal search engine.

"Soundies were three-minute American musical 16mm films, produced in New York City, Chicago, and Hollywood, between 1940 and 1946, each containing a song, dance and/or band or orchestral number. The completed Soundies were generally made available for rental within a few weeks of their filming, in film collections of eight to a reel, primarily by the Soundies Distributing Corporation of America, from which the name "Soundies" was generalized to any similar film, including later, single pieces shot as "filler" for early television. The last true Soundies group was released in March 1947. The films were displayed on the Panoram, a coin-operated film jukebox or machine music, in nightclubs, bars, restaurants, factory lounges, and amusement centers.

Musical genres
Soundies covered all genres of music, from classical to big-band swing, and from hillbilly novelties to patriotic songs."...

SHOWCASE VIDEO: Soundies: Black Music from the 1940s

The Riverbends Channel, Published on Oct 22, 2012

From Internet Archives:
0:12:13 Delta Rhythm Boys in "Take the 'A' Train" (1941).
0:14:46 Fats Waller in "Your Feet's Too Big (1941).
0:17:45 Count Basie Orchestra in "Take Me Back, Baby" (with vocal by Jimmy Rushing) (1941).
0:20:19 "Preacher and the Bear" featuring The Jubalaires (vocal quartet)
0:23:23 "Ring Those Bells" (Black children vocal quintet, unidentified; Possibly The Cabin Kids.)
0:24:22 The Ali Baba Trio in "Patience and Fortitude" (1946) (featuring Valaida Snow singing and playing jazz trumpet - with trio of guitar, bass and accordion!)
0:27:06 "Rocco Blues" featuring Maurice Rocco (piano and vocal)
0:30:00 Gloria Grey sings "Oh By Jingo" (looks later, circa 1950 or so)
0:32:42 "I Want A Man", sung by Annisteen Allen and accompanied by Lucky Millinder and his Orchestra (huge big band)(1943).
0:35:36 Woman jazz harpist (LaVilla Tulos) playing "Swanee River" (a title list of Soundies has this entry as "Swanee Swing").
Selected comments from this video compilation's discussion thread:
Neil Soulman Hagan, 2013
"Classic. From hollywoods golden era. Very rare! Impeccable talent. Thanks for posting, I have much respect for these artists who shined even in the face of all the burdens and predjudace that prevailed in that day. Love the cabin kids. Thanks so much for posting."

pbrgma1, 2013
"The Cabin Kids clip is not from a Soundie. It is actually from their very first film appearance from a 20 minute comedy short from Educational Pictures titled "She my Lilly (I'm Her Willie)" from 1934.At the time of this film they were originally called THE 5 SPIRITS OF HARMONY and this was the way they were billed in this film.From their 2nd film on they were known as The Cabin Kids.The other songs they sang in this film were:"This Train" and 'Honey." 

George Sperry, 2014
"great music and a super entertaining snippet of music of the past!"

Brandon Lee Kirby, 2024
"I think it's more that that's what the white people in charge wanted and allowed. The novel Invisible Man touches up on the idea well.
The guy who wrote it was a huge fan of this music, Ralph Ellison."

Zillous Grom, 2014
NO ink spots!!??!

Thanks for visiting pancocojams.

Visitor comments are welcome.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Nimbaya! (formerly known as the Amazones) Guinea, West Africa's First Female Djembe (Drum) Group

Edited by Azizi Powell

This pancocojams post was first published in 2011. This version includes additional text and three additional videos.

Click to read comments that were posted to that 2011 post.

This is the first post of an ongoing pancocojams series on Black female drummers. This post focuses on Nimbaya! female djembe drummers of Guinea, West Africa. [revised June 24, 2017]

Click for the second post in this series.

Click for the third post in this series.

Also, click for a 2011 pancocojams post entitled "How Djembes Became The African Drum To Beat In The United States"

This post is presented for folkloric, cultural, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to Nimbaya! for their musical legacy. Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post and thanks to the publishers of these YouTube videos.
If you know the language and the meaning of the word "Nimbaya", please add that information to the comment section of this post. Thanks!

"A djembe ... also known as jembe, jenbe, djbobimbe, jymbe, yembe, or jimbay, or sanbanyi in Susu; is a skin-covered drum meant to be played with bare hands...

It is a member of the membranophone family of musical instruments: a frame or shell (in the djembe's case it is a wood shell) covered by a membrane or drumhead made of rawhide or some other material...The primary notes are generally referred to as "bass", "tone", and "slap", though a variety of other tones can also be produced by advanced players. The slap has a high and sharp sound, the tone is more round and full, and the bass is low and deep...

There is general agreement that the origin of the djembe is associated with a class of Mandinka blacksmiths known as Numu. The wide dispersion of the djembe drums throughout West Africa may be due to Numu migrations."

"Nimbaya!, previously Amazones Women Master Drummers, welcomes in the new age, presenting West Africa’s traditional musical arts in a graceful proficiency that clearly differs from the masculine drumming style...

Before this group formed, no females in Guinea were permitted to learn the art of djembe drumming. In 1988, with the support of the Department of Culture of Guinea, group founder Mamoudou Conde brought together 15 women from the four different regions of Guinea. Some of these women faced disownment from their families by pushing the boundaries of tradition, but after training for years to become master drummers, the women began to tour the world…playing instruments that have traditionally been denied them."

"...From The creation and realization of “NIMBAYA!” aims to address three objectives, all of which are both diachronic and synchronic.

From the point of view of rehabilitating musical culture through the djembe, “NIMBAYA!” constitutes a response of sorts to the age-old traditions, which have demeaned the Djembe vis-ร -vis other instruments such as the princely Cora or the ancient mythical Bala. “NIMBAYA!” is also daring considering the <> imposed on women concerning the practice of the djembe. Never before has a woman played this instrument in Guinea.

From the point of view of the economic liberation, which took place in Guinea following the change of political regime in 1984, the women are engaged in a fight for survival through the development of a lucrative art-form, capable of supporting its members. Each ‘NIMBAYA!’ has chosen to break with the uncertainty and the precarious lifestyle imposed on her by her individual social situation - woman without education; woman with an ‘undesired pregnancy’, sent away from the family home; woman-victim of the duplicity of a ‘bad-man’; young woman from a family struck by poverty... In choosing to become a djembe-player, each of these categories of women shows her desire to dignify herself by dignifying her instrument.

But it is with NIMBAYA! That a brave new adventure is beginning - a socio-cultural and economic departure from tradition, which is fired by a fervent determination to attain the level of the great djembefola and to live by the sweat of their own brows. Hence the name ‘NIMBAYA’, recalling the bravura and courage of the intrepid warrior-women of the ancient kingdom of Dahomey (now called Benin). Equally daring is their goal to ‘demystify’ the djembe, an instrument historically reserved for male players and for many years, an instrument without nobility or notoriety. With ‘NIMBAYA!’ all these preconceptions melt away and what is left is a powerful, energetic and grandiose spectacle, which sends to the world, its message of peace, optimism and serenity.
-Saidou Dioubate, National Director of Culture of the Republic of Guinea, Conakry and edited by Nathalie Roy & Mamoudou Conde".
Note: "Djembefola" means "djembe player. "Bala" is a traditional name for "balafon".

Nimbaya! The Women's Drum & Dance Company of Guinea

"It’s the drumbeat that pulls you in… These women are in demand around the world, as much for their prodigious choreographies as for their fiery djembe rhythms. Their unique concept and their energy drive the crowds wild!

NIMBAYA! is a daring response to taboos stretching back thousands of years. Never before had women played the djembe in West Africa, the instrument being historically reserved for male players. In 1998, while managing the world-renowned ensemble “Les Percussions de Guinรฉe”, Mamoudou Conde realized the world was ripe for change and decided to create an all-women percussion and dance ensemble.

Chosen from among those living in the most difficult conditions - jobless and often with children to support - the women artists participate in the development of a lucrative art-form, one that has facilitated a change in their economic independence. Each artist strives to break free of the financially precarious lifestyle imposed upon her by society. In choosing to become a percussion player, these women have demonstrated their desire to control their destiny."...

Example #1: African Women Djembefola

Uploaded by chicagodjembeproject on Oct 11, 2006

African women playing djembe in Guinea, West Africa

Example #2: Amazones - Women Drummers of Guinea @ CCC 092007

Uploaded by rpmime on Sep 20, 2007

The Amazing "Amazones - Women Drummers of Guinea" performed at the 'One World Under One Roof', part of the World Music Festival (2007) last day here in Chicago.

Example #3: NIMBAYA!

Uploaded by Nathalie Roy on Jan 18, 2010

THIS IS STUDIO RECORDING - Formerly named Amazones Women Master Drummers, NIMBAYA! Drum & Dance Company is the first professional all-female ensemble on traditional drums. they have toured USA, Canada, UAE, Brazil, Europe, South Korea...


Example #4: Archives: Amazones Master Women Drummers in Philadelphia

GRIOTWORKS Published on Jul 23, 2009

Presented by the African Diaspora Arts Collective, Amazones women drummers of Guinea come to Philadelphia to bring hope and inspiration to youth, particularly young girls. Video by Jos Duncan [2007]

Example #5: NIMBAYA! EDUCATIONAL video

Sekou Conde, Published on Oct 23, 2011

Example #6: NIMBAYA!'s Auditions, Charleston SC - Im in Heaven!!!

BRENDA J. PEART, Published on Oct 29, 2012

Im lost in the drums, nearly forgot it was auditions.. They're JAMMIN'!!!
NIMBAYA! is an ALL Female Percussion group from Guinea, the first to tour the world!!!!
This is part of the auditions held in Charleston SC, even drawing in dancers from Charlotte, North Carolina!!!

Sitting in with them from Charleston by way of Buffalo NY, JAMES HARRIS, by way of Columbia SC, Thomas OLA Mosley....


Example #7: Beating the Odds: The Women of Nimbaya!

colacollkoalas, Published on Apr 9, 2015

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Friday, June 23, 2017

Double Negatives In The Children's Rhyme "Bazooka Bubble Gum" & Additional Comments About Double Negatives In English & In Other Languages

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post provides excerpts from a 2007 -2009 online discussion that I and other Mudcat folk music forum members and guests participated in. The discussion was about the use of double negatives in the children's rhyme "Bazooka Bubble Gum" and in other examples of English written and verbal communication.

The Addendum to this post presents excerpts from two other online sources about the use of double negatives in English and in other languages.

The content of this post is presented for linguistic and cultural purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post. Thanks also to Tha Heights for their performance of the official Bazooka Bubble Gum ad song, and thanks to the publisher of that YouTube video.
Click for a 2013 post on "The Chewin Gum Song & Rhyme (My Mother Gave Me A Nickel)".


"My mom gave me a penny
She said to buy a henny
But I didn't buy no henny
Instead, I bought BUBBLE GUM

My mom gave me a nickel
She said to buy a pickle
But I didn't buy no pickle
Instead, I bought BUBBLE GUM

My mom gave me a dime
She said to buy a lime
But I didn't buy no lime
Instead , I bought BUBBLE GUM

My mom gave me a quarter
She said to buy some water
But I didn't buy no water
Instead, I bought BUBBLE GUM

My mom gave me a dollar
She said to buy a collar
But I didn't buy no collar
Instead, I bought BUBBLE GUM

My mom gave me a five
She said to stay alive
But I didn't stay alive
Instead, I choked on BUBBLE GUM

i learned that one in elementary school... not sure how i remembered it! have fun... whoever needs this
- i know hand games! ; December 22, 2005 [From - This website is no longer available.]


Bazooka Bubble Gum Song Official Music Video

Ana Lages Published on Apr 15, 2011
(as sung by Tha Heights)

Awwww yeah!

Yo, my Moms!
She gave me a dollar
She told me to buy a collar
but i aint buy no collar
Instead I bought some

Bubble Gum
Bazooka-zooka BubbleGum
Bazooka-zooka BubbleGum

My Moms!
She gave me a quarter
She told me to take the porter
But I aint take no porter
I bought some


Yo, my Moms!
She gave me a dime
She told me to buy a lime
But I aint buy no lime
Instead I bought some


my Moms!
She gave me a nickel
she told me to buy a pickle
But I aint buy no pickle
Instead I bought some

-Tha Heights
This song was transcribed by Azizi Powell from the video given above. Corrections & additions are welcome.
Here's an excerpt of a article about the Bazooka Bubblegum Company's ad campaign
From "Bazooka Relaunches With Bubblegum Song" By Sandra O'Loughlin, August 15, 2006 [The link that was given no longer leads to that article.]
"NEW YORK -- Topps' Bazooka Bubble Gum this week launched a global ad campaign that it hopes will stick in everyone's head. The campaign, via Duval Guillaume, New York, includes TV, online and a viral marketing effort that plays up a song and music video by Brooklyn-based music group Tha Heights.

The Bazooka Bubblegum Song and Dance is the center of five 15-second commercials in which people indicate their strong desire for the gum. One spot takes place on a baseball diamond where an umpire calls out, "Strike three!" After the batter argues with the call, the ump begins the rhyme, "Listen Kid, I said it was a strike, why don't you take a hike!" The batter responds with, "But I don't want no strike. All I want is bubblegum. Bazooka-Zooka Bubblegum."

"We want kids to make their own rhymes," said Helen Jackers, account director, which they can do by visiting to download the ads, play the music video, learn the dance and send in their own versions of the song...

"The Bazooka Bubblegum song has been sung at summer camps for years and years and was never really picked up by a big audience," said Tom Van Daele, creative director, in a statement. "Ever since we started to work on this catchy tune, it's been stuck in our heads."

The ads are set to run on Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, Nick at Nite and ABC Family for the next six weeks"."...

Pancocojams Editor's Note: These comments are numbered for referencing purposes only without any spelling corrections. Examples of "Bazooka Bubble Gum"/Chewing Gum" rhymes are also included in that discussion thread.


1. Subject: Bazooka Zooka Bubble Gum
From: Azizi
Date: 18 Jun 07 - 11:46 AM

"The children's rhyme "Bazooka Zooka Bubble Gum" serves as an interesting case study of a children's camp song or rhyme that has its source in a pop song that may or may come from an earlier folk song.

What makes this rhyme so interesting to me is that it appears that an earlier kid's version of this song was appropriated by a corporate entity {Bazooka Bubble Gum} and used as a marketing tool for its brand name bubble gum. However, the kids' version {learned at summer camps, school yards, and elsewhere} appears to have prevailed or at least be fondly remembered by adults of certain ages.

Enter the same corporate entity in 2006 with a new marketing campaign to revive the brand name "Bazooka Bubble Gum". Will kids use the official version of this rhyme with its sappy, bland ending?
Or will they choose to sing the song their own way with its quirky somewhat counter-culture ending of choking on Bazooka Zooka Bubble Gum? Inquiring minds want to know.

Inquiring minds {or my mind anyway} would also love to know who remembers this rhyme and when they remember it. I'd also like to know when [what year or decade] the rhyme changed from "I'm crazy about chewing gum" {or "bubble gum" or "choo'n gum"} to focus on the brand name "Bazooka Bubble Gum". Furthermore, I'm wondering why the corporate powers that be lashed on to a children's rhyme that uses AAVE {African American Vernacular English, otherwise known as "Black English" and "Ebonics" to market their product. I'm specifically referring to the line "I don't want no ____. I want Bazooka Zooka Bubblegum". For instance, one of the company's tv commercials had these lines "We don't want no Kumbaya. We want Bazooka Zooka Bubble Gum"."

And finally {yeah, right} I'm interested in identifying other children's songs or children's rhymes {or adult songs?} in addition to "Bazooka Zooka Bubble Gum" that include the line "my mother gave me a nickel/to buy a pickle".

Why? Well, why not? Being song & rhyme detectives can be an enjoyable pastime. And information gleaned from this type of research can shed light on the lifestyles, values, hopes, and concerns of populations of children, youth, and adults."...

2. Subject: RE: Bazooka Zooka Bubble Gum
From: Roger in Baltimore
Date: 10 Jul 08 - 02:50 PM


I'm not sure the "double negative" "I didn't buy no ____" is only part of AAVE. I was raised in a predominantly white area (less than 4% African-Americans) and educated in segregated schools (I was born in 1946) until the ninth grade of high school. Yet, I remember being drilled in avoiding double negatives. I believe I and my classmates were quite apt to use double negatives like "I didn't buy no...".

I remember Bazooka Bubble Gum, but I do not remember the song or the manufacturer's advertising.

Roger in Baltimore (which is not where I grew up).
"AAVE" = African American Vernacular English

3. Subject: RE: Bazooka Zooka Bubble Gum
From: Azizi
Date: 18 Sep 08 - 09:59 AM

Roger in Baltimore,

I've just read your post from July 2008 about double negatives {as in this example posted above "my mom gave me some gold, she said im pretty old but i didnt want no gold"...

I agree with you that this grammatical construct is not just used by African Americans. While "negative concords" {more commonly known as "double negation" are often cited as a characteristic of African American Vernacular English {AAVE}, it is also a feature of nonstandard [non-African] American English.

However, I want to point out the possibility that at least one source for using double negatives could come from African languages where that usage isn't grammatically incorrect. To quote one sentence of this article on African American Vernacular English:

"It has been suggested that AAVE has grammatical structures in common with West African languages or even that AAVE is best described as an African based language with English words".

While, I don't know enough about the subject of African American vernacular English, it is interesting to read about the possibility of West African sources for not just various words that have entered the English language, but also for various grammatical features.
The words "this article" is a hyperlink to the Wikipedia page

4. Subject: RE: Bazooka Zooka Bubble Gum
From: Piers Plowman
Date: 18 Sep 08 - 10:35 AM

I am fairly certain, though I'm not sure that this can be proved, that the interpretation of a double negative as the negation of the negative is a feature of standardized languages and "educated" speech and is not part of colloquial speech in most if not all languages. I must admit that I don't know much about non-Indo-European languages.

Whereas conventional wisdom has it that standardized language is "real" language and colloquial speech and dialects are somehow suspect, it is very nearly the other way around: "real" language is what people actually speak, which is not to say that standardized language isn't useful.

Wherever I have run across it, it is always meant as intensifying the negation rather than negating it. In some languages it is even the standard form of negation. For example, "nit keyn" ("not no") is a normal kind of negation in Yiddish. This may be from the influence of Slavic languages, where, I believe, the double negative is also used for negation. However, it was a long time ago when I took a class in Russian, so I might be wrong about this.

5. Subject: RE: Bazooka Zooka Bubble Gum
From: Manitas_at_home
Date: 18 Sep 08 - 10:53 AM

Both Chaucer and Shakespeare used the double negative as an intensifier so while grammarians and educators may discourage such usage we can contend that it's long been a part of colloqial English. The construction didn't have to be brought in from other languages as it was already there from the start.

6. Subject: RE: Bazooka Zooka Bubble Gum
From: Azizi
Date: 18 Sep 08 - 01:24 PM


I appreciate the information about double negatives.

It's interesting to learn that double negatives were an accepted grammatically feature and may still be a grammatically, correct feature of Indo-European languages and other languages, including some African languages.

Still, I think that most people would agree that it's best not to use double negatives in academic and other formal English communication.

In the same token, it shouldn't be acceptable to chew Bazooka Zooka Bubble Gum during formal occassions, such as weddings. But that doesn't stop some people from doing it.

7. Subject: RE: Bazooka Zooka Bubble Gum
From: Piers Plowman
Date: 19 Sep 08 - 03:15 AM

Azizi wrote:
"It's interesting to learn that double negatives were an accepted grammatically feature and may still be a grammatically, correct feature of Indo-European languages and other languages, including some African languages."

"Correct" is a problem when talking about language. Who gets to decide? The main object of the study of language is language as its really spoken, not standardized language, though there are people who study other aspects of language, including the latter. For medieval languages, which is what I specialized lo these many years ago, there was no spoken language to study, of course.

One distinguishes between "descriptive" and "prescriptive" grammar. It's relatively easy to make prescriptive rules for a standard version of a language, but it is impossible to make up a set of rules that completely describes a real spoken language. For one thing, one would have to account for regional dialects and even idiolects, i.e., the versions of a language spoken by individual people.

I could go on about this (and on and on), but I need to start work.

I remember Bazooka bubble gum, which I mostly bought for the sake of the little Bazooka Joe comics. I grew up in a northern suburb of Chicago and was born in 1963. I never heard of the song before and don't remember ever seeing or hearing and radio or TV advertising for Bazooka bubble gum. I don't remember if there were billboards, newspaper ads, or anything like that.

8. Subject: RE: Bazooka Zooka Bubble Gum
From: Manitas_at_home
Date: 19 Sep 08 - 05:49 AM

I think Azizi is right to decry the use in formal language. It can be ambiguous and the idea of formal language is clarity.

9. Subject: RE: Bazooka Zooka Bubble Gum
From: Piers Plowman
Date: 19 Sep 08 - 06:46 AM

I'm not by any means suggesting that schoolteachers start accepting "not no", "ain't no", etc., in pupils' homework or denying that standardized language has its rightful place in the scheme of things. In fact, I think the standardizers have become a little too lax and also trendy in recent years, viz. the debacle of the so-called "orthographical reform" in Germany, where I live (don't get me started).

However (and this is a big however), language as it's really spoken by real people is the real thing and standardized language is an artificial construct. There is the additional problem of people speaking in an "unnatural" way for reasons of fashion, but that's another kettle of fish. Dialect speakers are still looked down upon and standard language is still generally considered to be "superior" in some way. From the point of linguistics, it is not.

10. Subject: RE: Bazooka Zooka Bubble Gum
From: Azizi
Date: 19 Sep 08 - 09:28 AM

Who would have thought that a thread about bubblegum would spark such interesting comments about linguistics. This goes to show that just about anything is possible on Mudcat threads.

I'm just sayin...
[Which is a colloquial expression which means I'm implying more than I'm saying-or writing].

But-to use a hip-hop saying-it's all good.

In reference to my first sentence in this post, the hip hop saying "It's all good" means that I'm not going to "get on a set" {get annoyed or get angry} because folks have gone on off on a tangent and aren't providing examples from this family of children's rhymes or from related families of children's rhymes.

Not that it matters a hill of beans {or a pack of Bazooka Zooka Bubble Gum} what I think about what comments other people post on this Mudcat thread or any other Mudcat thread...


11. Subject: RE: Bazooka Zooka Bubble Gum
From: Azizi
Date: 19 Sep 08 - 09:53 AM

I just read this entire thread again and realized that I had mentioned African American Vernacular English and double negatives and mainstream English in my first post. So I guess posts about linguistics really aren't that tangental or aren't tangental at all.

I now formally apologize to Piers Plowman [I love your name btw] and others for implying that your interesting comments about linguistics were off topic.

The sad thing is that because these comments are posted to [in?] a children's rhyme thread, folks who might want to read about and/or discuss these linguistic features won't be able to find them.

Does anyone want to start a thread on this subject?

I'd do it but I've little energy to post on threads nowadays let along start threads. But if someone did start a thread on the aspects of linguistics that have been discussed so far in this thread, I would participate in that discussion.

12. Subject: RE: Bazooka Zooka Bubble Gum
From: Piers Plowman
Date: 19 Sep 08 - 11:31 AM

Azizi wrote:

"I now formally apologize to Piers Plowman [I love your name btw] and others for implying that your interesting comments about linguistics were off topic."

Don't worry, I'm not that sensitive. I've never been that bothered about threads going off-topic, here or elsewhere.

I chose the name "Piers Plowman" over on a message board for the British radio soap opera "The Archers", where something vaguely agricultural would be suitable. Since I was shamelessly plugging some things I posted over there when I first came here (having found out about Mudcat from other posters over there when I asked something about the song "English Country Gardens"), I thought I might as well keep the name.

I've never actually read "Piers Plowman", although I discovered I have it paperback, when I was going through my cartons of books some months ago.

For what it's worth, I don't think folklore can be separated from language and perhaps it serves some useful purpose to clear up misconceptions about language, though what one considers a misconception depends on one's point of view, of course.

Children's rhymes are hardly my area of expertise and I'd never heard of this family of rhymes. I would have just assumed that the brand of bubble gum had been there first.

13. Subject: RE: Bazooka Zooka Bubble Gum
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 10:36 PM

"I think Azizi is right to decry the use in formal language. It can be ambiguous and the idea of formal language is clarity. "

I disagree firmly. Very few people, when confronted with a statement like "I didn't buy no bubblegum", are honestly confused about what that statement means.

Furthermore, your premise is entirely flawed. Formal can be - and frequently *is* - used in a deliberate attempt to confuse others. Think of bureaucratic doubletalk! There is nothing inherent to standard English that makes it more or less confusing than other registers and dialects of the language. Some parts of AAVE are even clearer or simpler than their equivalents in Standard American English, in fact, such as the habitual use of the verb "be", much decried though it is among prescriptivists.

The only reason the standard is the standard is because it's spoken by the people who, well, make the standards - the people in power. Nothing more, nothing less. It's a good idea to know the standard so you can speak it when necessary, but there's no reason to call it more correct than other forms of English, any more than my version of Barbara Allen is "more correct" than your version. You use the right tool (or dialect, or song) for the right moment, and your life is richer for it in the end, of course.

14. Subject: RE: Bazooka Zooka Bubble Gum
From: Azizi
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 11:14 PM

GUEST Date: 10 Mar 09 - 10:36 PM, first let me say that I hope that your post isn't deleted because Mudcat has a relatively new policy of deleting comments of Guest posters who don't add another name with that Guest title.

Guest, I appreciate your comments, but I still don't think this thread is the appropriate one for an indepth discussion about linguistics. That said, let me note for the record that I agree with these points that you made:

1. Some parts of AAVE [African American Vernacular English] are even clearer or simpler than their equivalents in Standard American English.

2. The only reason the standard is the standard is because it's spoken by the people who, well, make the standards - the people in power. Nothing more, nothing less.

3. It's a good idea to know the standard so you can speak it when necessary, but there's no reason to call it more correct than other forms of English...

4. You use the right tool (or dialect, or song) for the right moment, and your life is richer for it in the end, of course.


With regard to point 4, I still believe that a double negative should not be used in formal conversations/writings."...
This was the end of that linguistic discussion in that thread. To my knowledge, no thread on double negatives was started on Mudcat.

These excerpts are given in no particular order.

Excerpt #1:
What is a double negative?
Is there a specific grammatical slip that’s guaranteed to make you wince? I bet there is! While it’s hard to say why certain linguistic errors cause our hackles to rise rather than others, everyone has their own bรชte noire. You could split your infinitives till kingdom come and I wouldn’t bat an eyelid, but whenever I hear something like:
I don’t know nothing about computers.
It won’t do you no good.

I cringe and have to restrain a nitpicking urge to say, ‘two negatives make a positive: do you really mean that you know something about computers?’. However, as a Rolling Stones fan, I don’t come over all grammatically correct about ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’. It’s completely illogical, I admit.


The perspective from the past and elsewhere on the double negative

Any linguists out there will be aware that in some languages (for example, Spanish, Portuguese, and French), double negatives are grammatically acceptable: rather than cancel each other out, they serve to strengthen the negative idea. Students of English language and literature will also know that, had you lived in England up to the 17th century, you’d also have been doubling your negatives with gay abandon and not incurring the wrath of the grammar police. The works of Chaucer and Shakespeare contain many examples of double and even multiple negatives:
Ther nas no man nowher so vertuous. (Chaucer, ‘The Friar’s Tale’)

I never was nor never will be. (Shakespeare, Richard III)

After the 17th century, certain writers attempted to make English spelling and grammar more systematic, and relate the rules of language to those of logic. The Oxford English Dictionary records that in 1775, Lowth’s A Short Introduction to English Grammar stated:
Two Negatives in English destroy one another, or are equivalent to an Affirmative.

This edict had an impressive staying power and remains the case today. Double negatives, when used to express a negative idea, aren’t acceptable in standard English and you should avoid them in all but very informal situations (or when singing along to pop songs).

It’s not unusual….singing the praises of some double negatives

Here’s where things are less clear cut: there’s a second type of double negative that’s considered correct. In this category, two negatives are used in the same sentence or clause to express a positive idea rather than a negative one. For instance, in the sentence:
Blake was not unaware of his appearance.

Other rhetorically positive and grammatically acceptable examples are:
When I look back I don’t regret not going to school.
[meaning: I’m glad that I didn’t go to school]

We can’t just do nothing in the face of this mounting threat.
[meaning: we must take some action to combat this threat]

I couldn’t not help him.
[meaning: I strongly felt I should help him]

If you really fret about linguistic issues, this means that in some cases you can sing along to pop songs containing double negatives and stay on the grammatically acceptable side of the tracks, as in the 1965 hit ‘It’s Not Unusual‘, recorded by the Welsh singer, Tom Jones. It’s a not inelegant way of expressing the fact that being in love is very usual indeed. Yay!"

Excerpt #2:

"Learning standard English negation is difficult because many languages and some English dialects use double negatives conventionally.

Though it’s easy to assume that double negatives are simply unnatural aberrations, this assumption is wrong. In many languages worldwide, it is grammatically incorrect to use anything but the double negative! (This is called negative concord.)

No hay ningun problema. (Spanish) “There isn’t no problem.” meaning “There isn’t a problem.”

ะฏ ะฝะต ั…ะพั‡ัƒ ะฝั–ั‡ะพะณะพ ั—ัั‚ะธ. (Ya ne hochu nichogo yisty.) (Ukrainian) “I don’t want nothing to eat.” meaning “I don’t want to eat anything.”

To make it more complicated, it’s not just foreign languages that conventionally employ double negatives but some dialects of English do as well! African American Vernacular English (AAVE), Southern American English, and some British regional forms use negative concord constructions. Negative concord is even used several times in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. (For example, a line about the Friar, “Ther nas no man no wher so vertuous,” literally means “there wasn’t no man nowhere as virtuous.”)

So, while double negatives are not correct in standard English, that doesn’t make them any less useful in other dialects. We encourage writers to learn how to negate sentences using the standard grammar — especially for professional settings — but we love the diversity of English (and language in general) and think that use of dialectal grammar is fine in open, less formal environments."

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