Poms-poms waving in the air to middle-school age girls asking “Is that a Cheer Mermaid?” were the sights and sounds heard along the hallways at the inaugural Black Mermaid Cheer Clinic (BMCC), hosted by Royalty is Black, as part of the CIAA Tournament in Baltimore, MD. BMCC was the first drop of The Black Mermaid League self-esteem project for Black girls using the arts intertwined with education.
The BMCC, alongside the Bowie State University Cheerleading Team, opened the CIAA Youth Sports Clinic dancing to the children’s song “Flow Those ABC’s”, produced by Baltimore’s own Grammy award winning Mighty Mark and written by singer/songwriter Kendra Banks, cheer camp director and creator. In the audience was CIAA’s first female commissioner Jacquie McWilliams.
Another highlight of the day included a panel discussion featuring past and present Black cheerleaders from the Baltimore Ravens Cheerleading Team and Morgan State University. Topics ranged from cheering and competing on a collegiate and professional level to coping with body image issues. New Town High School Cheerleaders were practice captains for the clinic throughout the day.
The next drop in the Black Mermaid League will introduce its first book called The Black Mermaid: Topaz’s First Integration. The story shows how a person can “integrate” into a new situation. The book is based on the real-life experiences of co-author and BMCC consultant, Dr. Jaky B., who in 1967 transitioned from attending an all-Black elementary school on the Eastern Shore of Maryland to experiencing being the only Black student in all her college preparatory classes from 5th grade through 12th grade in response to the 1955 Brown vs the Board of Education Supreme Court ruling.
Lastly, Royalty is Black is encouraging everyone to use the hashtag #theblackmermaid during the opening weekend of The Little Mermaid movie featuring Halle Bailey to showcase the love of afro-futurism. “I hope The Black Mermaid League will help young girls appreciate themselves in the world using fantasy and all magical possibilities” says Kendra Banks president of Royalty is Black, LLC. For more information visit www.theBlackmermaids.com.