"Fusing academic prose with vividly rendered memories, Gaunt's journey is refreshing.... Gaunt successfully lifts ignored girls from obscurity to center stage.... WithThe Games Black Girls Play, Gaunt has created a necessary space for translating black girls' joy in a society that typically overlooks it. Hopefully, others will take their turn and jump in to keep the games going. - Bitch Magazine "In thoughtful and affectionate prose, Gaunt makes plain how the schoolyard syncopations of body and voice are both oral-kinetic play and improvised lessons in socializing girls into the unique social practices of black urban life.... The Games Black Girls Playis a smart, delightful and witty polemic of attributions; a cultural benchmark of the complex web of history, race and gender to suggest a ægendered musical blackness' and an æethnographic truth' linking the æintergenerational cultures of black musical expression' as embodied in the infectious playfulness of black girls." - Black Issues Book Review
"Very informative and insightful.... A valuable source to add to one's collection." - AllHipHop.com
"By placing black girls at the center of her analysis, Kyra Gaunt challenges us to be ever mindful of the importance of gender, the body, and the everyday in our discussions of black music. The Games Black Girls Playis an exciting and original work that should forever transform the way we think about the sources of black, indeed American, popular music. This is a bold, brilliant, and beautifully written book." - Farah Jasmine Griffin, Columbia University
"The Games Black Girls Play not only makes the point that black girls matter, but that the games, thoughts, and passions of black girls matter in a world that regularly renders black girls invisible and silent. Gaunt brilliantly argues that the culture of black girls is a critical influence on contemporary black popular culture." - Mark Anthony Neal, author of New Black Man: Rethinking Black Masculinity
"A particular strength of Gaunt's text is the ethnographic dimension of her discussions. The reader is privy to the personal musical and cultural experiences of African American females of varying ages (including Gaunt herself)." - New Black Man Book Review
When we think of African American popular music, our first thought is probably not of double-dutch: girls bouncing between two twirling ropes, keeping time to the tick-tat under their toes. But this book argues that the games black girls play - handclapping songs, cheers, and double-dutch jump rope- both reflect and inspire the principles of black popular musicmaking. The Games Black Girls Playillustrates how black musical styles are incorporated into the earliest games African American girls learn- how, in effect, these games contain the DNA of black music. Drawing on interviews, recordings of handclapping games and cheers, and her own observation and memories of gameplaying, Kyra D. Gaunt argues that black girls' games are connected to long traditions of African and African American musicmaking, and that they teach vital musical and social lessons that are carried into adulthood. In this celebration of playground poetry and childhood choreography, she uncovers the surprisingly rich contributions of girls' play to black popular culture.