Second Black majorette team coming to SIUC

Cheyenne Lillard and Lexi Smith, both juniors at Southern Illinois University (SIU), are captains of the new Black majorette team, the Enchanting Diamonds.

Majorette dancing is often seen at parades and different sporting events such as football or basketball. Majorette dancing is more widely known at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The HBCU style of majorette dancing focuses more on hip hop, jazz, and other historically Black music.

The Georgia State Signal stated in a 2020 article that Georgia State University has their first majorette team in The Crown Jewels. In the article, the founder of The Crown Jewels Danielle Holmes, said it was a great time to bring in a majorette team because Georgia State University is growing more diverse.

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The openness of Predominantly White institutions (PWI) like Georgia State University to having Black majorette teams inspire Black students at other PWIs are working to follow their lead to make their schools more welcoming.

The Enchanting Diamonds has joined Dynasty Dance as the two Black majorette teams at SIU.

Lillard said the Enchanting Diamonds are a place for Black women to feel inclusive and bring a sort of flare to SIU. The dance style they will focus more on is slow dancing and bucking, she said. Bucking incorporates jazz and hip hop and is characterized by its signature hip movements

“We realized it’s really not a lot of black girls out there on the field or on the court dancing and stuff, so we wanted to make it for everybody to join as far as being more diverse on the field,” Lillard said.

Lillard said she hopes the group will allow for Black women to get more representation on the fields.

The clinic they hosted on Feb. 28 allowed for anyone interested in the team to see if majorette dancing is for them.

“The purpose of the clinics is for people who aren’t sure they want to join the team. It’s for them to see what type of dances we are doing, to see if they’re comfortable doing it [and if] they can catch on,” Smith said.

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Lillard said the team will not just focus on dancing, but uplifting each other and creating a sense of community.

“It’s not just going to be us dancing and it’s going to be uplifting each other on bad days. Lexi might have a bad day, or I might have a bad day, but just letting it be known that your body type [and] everything about you matters and counts,” Lillard said.

No matter what anyone is going through they can feel at home on the team and not feel judged, Lillard said.

Smith said she wants the team to inspire all Black women to embrace themselves and feel like they belong.

“I want our team to inspire everybody regardless of body types, regardless of skin tone, regardless of all these other different standards that everybody else keeps up,” Smith said. “Regardless of where you think you fall into that you are important and that you can do it.”

Assistant to the Editor Janiyah Gaston can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @DEJaniyah. To stay up to date with all your Southern Illinois news follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.

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