Little Sally Walker Sitting in her Saucer Rise Sally Rise Wipe your Blinking Eyes Put your Hands on your hip and let your backbone slip Oh, shake it to the very one you love the best
I remember playing Little Sally Walker with the neighborhood girls. Each one of us had an authentic way of rising and letting our backbone slip. Some put hands on hips. Some went handless and allowed their pre-puberty bodies to sway to the rhythm of the chanting. Now, that I look back on it, in some very fundamental ways we learned about our bodies . . . how to shake them . . . how to shimmy them . . . how to whirl them . . . ultimately in pursuit of the “one you love the best.” We did all of this within the safe space of a girl circle.
Yes, boys would come and tease us and some very brave, but yet foolish souls would attempt to break the circle up only to be met with fire pink nails scratched into their boyish faces. Our dance circle and girlhood chanting was for us and not for them. Mind you, the same boy we scratched in the face was usually the same boy we made out with behind the garage later in the day, but that was later in the day not while we were playing Ms. Mary Mac, Twee Lee Lee, and Mama Lama.
Well, I wanted to begin this blog with this memory because it shows that sometimes we, women and girls, dance for ourselves and for the company of our sisters. Yes, black girlhood songs as Kyra Gaunt points out teach particular scripts about heterosexuality and race, but I would also venture to say that they teach girls about the fun and empowerment of dancing for the “gaze” of their girlfriends that extends into adulthood. If you don’t believe ask any black woman in the club who she’s dancing with when “Single Ladies” or “Get Me Bodied” comes on? I know for damn sure she ain’t grinding with Tyrone with the bad breath, bad credit, and two baby mommas. Nope. She is skipping, twirking, gyrating, and booty popping in a circle with her girls she came with and with other women who are also dancing to the song.
Yet again, what is extraordinary to watch is when random dudes think they can interrupt this time at the club. They walk over are cool like behind a woman and attempts to dance with her only to be met with a Sistah girl stare like, “Don’t you see me dancing with my girls, fool? Plus, your breath smells like straight corn chips and butt.” Brother walks away all emasculated fuming female expletives. Perhaps, he will be approached by the same girl later or perhaps not. All that needs to be said is that when it is time to dance with your girls it is time to dance with your girls.
And given all of this, I am often disturbed by the dominant belief that every time I or my girls shakes our booty . . . our dunk . . . our tush . . . it is for the entertainment and delight of heterosexual men. All I want to scream sometimes is, “Negro, it ain’t all about you, shit, can I dance with my girls.” And, don’t get me wrong, I understand how patriarchy makes everything about men so even my dancing is about them, but sometimes we roll our bodies . . . twist and shout because we want to entertain women and girls. Honesty, sometimes we don’t want men around.
Sometimes, we pull an Erykah Badu in Window Seat and walk around town naked for the sheer entertainment and consciousness of ourselves. Sometimes we cringe when we see 7 year old girls dancing to “Single Ladies” to gain the attention of perverted men who love to see little girls look like older women when they are only 7 years old. Sometimes we wonder why (my girl) Nicki Minaj who is a grown ass woman appears on Vibe Magazine dressed as if she was 7 years old.
(Warning: I am about to get off topic slightly and rant)
Honestly, it bothers me how we want little girls to be seen as women and women to be seen as little girls. I can’t count on my hand the number of men who have asked me, a twenty-something year old woman, if I get Brazilian waxes. And I always look at them like seriously I am not a four year old I am supposed to have hair on my vagina. Okay, so perhaps the last sentence was TMI (To much information), but the fact remains we want girls to be older before their time and women to be girl-like all for the male gaze and entertainment. Eventually, I am going to write a longer blog just about this topic.
Well, back on topic, sometimes we wish we could go back to the days where girlhood games was seen as sacred ground in the sense that boys usually thought twice before disrupting the circle.
Honestly, I really miss playing black girlhood games. Do you?