Flipping the Status Quo with Cheerleader Kylana Whitley
For more on Kylana’s life as a competitive athlete, follow @kylana_whitley on Instagram.
For the safety of athletes like 16-year-old competitive cheerleader Kylana Whitley (@kylana_whitley), intense practice and concentration is required. “We put all of our phones in a box during practice, so we can really concentrate on what we’re doing,” says Kylana, who does both tumbling (acrobatic flipping) and stunting (lifting people into the air). Kylana spends much of her day in school, but continues her hard work long after classes are finished. “I’m on my school’s cheer team, so I stay after school for that. Then I typically go home for 15 minutes before I go to my cheer gym for up to three hours, five times a week.”
When she’s not defying gravity, Kylana gathers motivation from the athletes around her, both on the mat and online. “Black Girls Cheer (@ officialblackgirlscheer) features African-American cheerleaders and inspirational quotes, which is a great way to represent the diversity of the cheerleading world,” says Kylana. “When we go to competitions, we’ll have cheerleaders from different countries, but everyone is coming together for the love of the sport.”
This idea that back then we had made a ‘gay’ movie, [Megan] was a ‘gay’ cheerleader, and now I’m a ‘gay’ prisoner … is such a glaring injustice. You would never say, ‘Oh what’s this movie about?’ 'It’s this guy, he’s a straight lawyer and he falls for this straight doctor and they go on a straight honeymoon.'
Natasha Lyonne speaking about But I’m A Cheerleader, Orange is the New Black, and what we really say when we call shows with LGBT characters “gay shows.” (via the Huffington Post)
I’m sexy, I’m cute!
I’m popular to boot!
I’m bitchin’, great hair!
The boys all love to stare!
I’m wanted, I’m hot!
I’m everything you’re not!
I’m pretty, I’m cool!
I dominate this school!
Who am I? Just guess!
Guys wanna touch my chest!
I’m rockin’, I smile!
And many think I’m vile.
I’m flying, I jump!
You can look but don’t you hump! Whoo!
I’m major, I roar!
I swear I’m not a whore!
We cheer and we lead!
We act like we’re on speed!
Hate us ‘cause we’re beautiful?
Well, we don’t like you either!
We’re cheerleaders, we are cheerleaders!
You know, I’ve got this theory. There are two kinds of people in the world. There are lyric people, and music people. You know, the lyrics people tend to be analytical. You know, all about the meaning of the song. They’re the ones you see with the CD insert out, like, 5 minutes after buying it, pouring over the lyrics, interpreting the hell out of everything. Um, then there’s the music people, like Brooke, who could care less for the lyrics, as long as it’s just got like a good beat and you could dance to it. I don’t know, sometimes it might be easier to be a music girl, and not a lyric girl, but since I’m not, let me just say this. Sometimes, things find you when you need them to find you, I believe that. And for me, it’s usually song lyrics.”
— Peyton Sawyer, One Tree Hill