The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #6600   Message #3149329
Posted By: GUEST,Bell Gardens High School Alumnus
06-May-11 - 02:16 PM
Thread Name: ADD: Shimmy Shimmy Ko-Ko-Bop/Down Down Baby
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Shimmy Shimmy Ko-Ko-Bop (Little Anthony)
OMG, found your site by a search for a chant we did at high school games: the "ungawa" one. It made me laugh, because I realize how much more our parents could have been shocked than they were at the first winning football game our school had in a decade.

When I was in high school, our football team had not won for years--against anybody. When I was a junior, it looked pretty god for us to win that season's first game of the season.

BGHS at that time was about half-half hispanic and poor whites. "Racial diversity" was a struggling concept in many places, even in California, back then. It was really having a struggle in Bell Gardens. The Watts Riots was only a few years behind us and was still only about a 9-mile drive from BG. I remember seeing the smoke at night and the glow of the flames on the horizon.

I think our parents, especially, needed a sensitivity training and about two decades to make them more acceptable to racial diversity.

The majority of the folks who attended the football games were white.

An unfortunate cosmic connection occurred when our cheerleading squad attended a cheerleading camp over the summer, and returned to preview their new chants at the football game we were actually, finally, going to win.

To understand how big this game was, the LATimes had a reporter there for a few days before the game, and published, as their dominant story, The Game, with background about BGHS and the community.

On the night of the game, the stands were packed.

Our (white) cheerleaders came out and, the first chant they did was:

"ungawa, ungawa, yeah we got the powah!" but we didn't get into the full verses, but just chanted that over and over. The students in the stands ROCKED that chant! We stood up and SCREAMED it!

They did the "Ah-beep-beep!" chant after that, and the students enthusiastically joined in.

Well, to say that our parents pitched a bloody fit to the principle the next Monday, about sitting in the stands, being surrounded by their children screaming "UNGWA! UNGAWA! YEAH WE GOT THE POWAH!," is an understatement. It represented every one of their fears about the safety of ourselves, them, the country, and what the future held for all of us.

I'm just glad the cheerleaders didn't bring back the full version of Ungawa-Ugawa.