By Samantha McKenzie
You may remember the Shabooya Roll Call chant from back in the days. Or perhaps you caught a glimpse of the rhythmic cheer when it became popular in the movie “Get on the Bus” or “Bring It On.” If you haven’t heard of it at all, go ahead and YouTube it.
Steeped in African-American culture, this common call and response game used to captivate groups of children who were eager to sound off. We were creative and sassy and full of enthusiasm in those days. We took pride in cheering each other on, waiting our turn and trying to get the most cheers for being original. It was frowned upon if you copied someone else’s line. But we were all too happy to get our few seconds of fame. We routinely filled the air with the sounds of our innocence and were proud to puff out our chest – right into our futures. During these pre-hip hop sessions, we could become whoever we wanted to be. Muhammad Ali did it. Why shouldn’t we?
I practiced the Shabooya Roll Call chant and many similar cheers growing up. I was shy back then and rhythm didn’t come to me naturally. I worked hard for it. But I had something to show off just like everyone else and I was determined to have me moment of shine.
It sorta went like this:
Everyone: Sha-booya, Sha-sha shabooya roll call. (repeat)
Me: “My name’s Samantha”
Me: “And I’m from Brooklyn”
Me: “I like to skate”
Me: “You best appreciate”
I was all of 10 years old but I delivered. Our chants would change each time we played, but the enthusiasm for this old tradition remained steadfast. I finished the 5th grade with the Most Improved Award and was reading at a 12th grade level. I’d like to say, these childhood games and my watchful parents helped to keep me motivated.
So I decided to welcome this new year with the same Shabooya Roll Call fervor. Why not get back to the times when we practiced being creative? Why not boast about what we can do (even before you did it) and use it to guide our pathway? Why not have tons of fun chasing after our dreams? Because, at the end of the day, who’s really stopping us anyway?
If this chant is a little out of your comfort zone, look for another way to cheer yourself on. Find a theme song to play each morning that will get your mind prepared to tackle the day. Find a spirit partner to check in with you often and monitor your motivation. Michael Jackson had the Moonwalk, so why can’t you have your own celebratory dance or step? Memorize a line from a movie, or an inspirational poem and say it out loud in the mirror. Whatever it is that will ignite you, incorporate it into daily routine.
Be your best cheerleader and put the fun back into every task. Shabooya, sha-sha shabooya roll call your way into your goals this year.
Happy New Year! Let’s take 2017 by storm.