The jump rope may be a simple object but for countless generations it has served as a powerful symbol of culture and identity for African American girls and women. The skipping rope is a steady timeline upon which girls add rhymes, rhythms and chants, creating a space that is uniquely their own. It is a word of mouth and word of body treasure passed down from one generation to the next, with influences on hip hop and other music that span the globe.


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  • Deborah

    Remembering the time skipping in the school yard and jumping double dutch!

  • Barbara

    Memories flooding back of 'borrowing' mum's washing line and playing with all the kids in the street. If we tied one end to the lamp post then only one person was needed to 'turn-up'. Some great skipping rhymes too. Yes, skipping was definitely for the girls - it brought us together, it was fun and we were good. xx

  • Erica Eden

    It brought back memories from school days when the girls in my class jumped rope at recess.

  • Tru

    Simplicity. Play. Connection. The reminder it is available to all of us. Have you played today? I recently got a new jump rope and have been practicing. Some days I can do 35 jumps without missing. It's a jump in progress. And feels so darn good. Reminds me of the Adult Recess I initiated many years ago. People bursting with joy in the midst of daily life. I'll be 71 in a few weeks. Wouldn't it be something if I could do 71 jumps in a row?

  • Kristin Pedemonti

    Thank you! I love kinetic-orality! what a wonderful term and capture! I know jump rope and rhymes were super important in my own childhood, I love how they still continue! Thank you so much for the added historical context!

  • Shari

    I'm 68 - this just made me smile remembering the hours spent jumping rope with friends, passing on the rhymes that my mother and her friends jumped to. I was so envious of the girls who did double-dutch. I teach middle school - how can I get the girls to turn off the computer and connect with the jump rope? I'm going to show this video in class.

  • Nancy

    Beautiful expression of truth!Thank you. Felt so happy watching this. Reminded me of the freedom as a tiny child - I could rise! Lifted by the wind! My body was LIGHT. Needed two friends to hold the rope so I could JUMP! Women power. The rope - the Weave. Glad black women identify -it is cross culture. Kinetic orality - a symbol of memory

  • Barb

    I started teaching in the 70s and jumping rope was what my girls did! Fast forward to now -- there's still a locally famous elementary Montessori school known for its jump roping team. A graduate of that school, HS, and MIT is Stewart Isaacs. You can find him -- still jumping, but now as he travels in Africa -- on Facebook.

  • Ruth Ann

    I taught Physical Education in a senior high school. In the 1990s we would do a few days of co-ed "Jump Rope for Your Heart." I wish we could have shared this with the students. We had great fun with jumping. The wrestlers were the best.

  • Page 1

  • Learn about the studies of the film's narrator, Professor Kyra Gaunt
  • Read more about the jump rope as a symbol of community identity and empowerment.
  • Enjoy a short jump rope/hip hop dance break with friends and loved ones. 

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