Iffy song lyrics spark controversy at practice
Some parents are seeking permission for the cheerleaders to use the song.
By JOHN W. GOODWIN JR.
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
McDONALD -- A song slated to be used at halftime shows by youth football cheerleaders here has been pulled after some parents objected to its lyrics.
Girls on the McDonald Midget Football League cheerleading squad spend every afternoon preparing for sideline cheers and halftime dance shows, but when Marie Burton, mother of one of the girls, heard the lyrics to "Holla Back Girl," one of the songs being used by the cheerleaders, she was outraged.
Now the issue has ballooned into a controversy involving angry parents, the mayor, league officials and possibly council.
Burton was sitting in on one of the practice sessions a week ago when she took notice of the song being used. Burton decided to look into the meaning of the song title and its lyrics.
"I went to my teen sons separately to ask what is a 'holla back girl' because I'm old, almost 39. I was told it is a booty call and if it is good you 'holla back' for another one," she said.
What's it mean?
The Web site urbandictionary.com lists several definitions for "holla back girl" ranging from a cheerleader who hollers back commands to a cheerleading captain to a promiscuous female who waits on calls from past dates.
While Burton says the cheerleaders use the clean version of the song, which eliminates all explicit language, a search of the actual lyrics at metrolyrics.com shows a four-letter word in the first line and throughout the rest of the song.
The chorus to the song says "A few times I've been around that track so it's not just gonna happen like that 'Cause I ain't no holla back girl, I ain't no holla back girl." Burton is convinced that the around the track reference is not related to track and field, football or cheerleading.
The cheerleaders were to dance to the song at each half-time show during the football season, Burton said.
Armed with the lyrics and meaning of the song, Burton rallied parents and others who might be in opposition to the song. She eventually reached Mayor Jim Borden.
'Not the place'
Borden said he read the lyrics and did not like the words. Next, he put a call in to Hud Gillespie, head of the McDonald Midget Football League, and requested a different song be used for the half-time shows.
"I have three boys, but if I had a daughter I would have to go to them and ask if we can find something better to dance to. You are going to have all types of people there, and this might shock some of them," Borden said. "There is a time and place for everything. This is just not the place."
Borden said he would consider taking the matter before the school board and council if the girls continued to use the song. Games are played on school board property.
Gillespie said the song was pulled from use after Borden's call.
Gillespie said all parents were given a copy of the clean version lyrics to the song and only two parents out of 24 objected to the song's use.
Gillespie said he believes the children wanted the song simply because the word bananas is spelled in the lyrics. He also said some parents made the point that the artist says she is not a 'holla back girl,' putting a positive meaning on the song.
Some parents are seeking written permission from village leaders to continue use of the song.
Tracie Dzurinda, assistant cheerleading coach and mother of one of the cheerleaders, has spoken to the mayor and wants to bring the matter before council for permission to use the song. She said most parents and the children want the song used.
Hard work waste
Dzurinda said the cheerleaders have learned most of the steps to the song and should not be forced to waste the hard work associated with learning the song. She also said the cheerleaders should be allowed to use a song they like.
"The girls love the song, absolutely love the song and they want to dance to this song," she said.
Burton said the issue for her is not censorship, nor is this an attempt to make others live by her Christian views.
She said it's an attempt to set an example for the girls on the cheerleading squad.
"I'm not pulling the Christian card saying that dancing and cheerleading are evil, but there has to be a song that just isn't nasty," she said. "Why can't we as adults say I don't want my daughter dancing to a song that refers to a girl as a whore?"
Burton said if the song is used, her daughter will not be participating in half-time shows.