“We were just talking, and our style of cheer is kind of different from what we were trying out for, but we wanted to be involved still ... we were all like, we should come up with something that fits us better," Lopez said.
When creating cheerleading routines, the five executives generally come up with the chants, and then add movements to match. Although the executives develop the routines, collaboration and input is encouraged from all members. At the end of the semester, Blue Lightning will have a “rookie night,” where new members can showcase their own choreography.
Stomp ‘n’ Shake used African American-inspired dance movements and chants for the same purpose as traditional cheerleading — to excite the crowd.
Kiera Peoples, a sophomore at UNC and member of Blue Lightning, said as a subgroup of the Black Student Movement at UNC, the members feel their organization helps to spread Black culture.
“Blue Lightning is a cheer team that incorporates HBCU style of cheering, which is Stomp ‘n’ Shake, so instead of just incorporating motions, you move your hips more and use something to make beats,” Peoples said.
Michaiah Wilson, a sophomore at UNC and vice president of Blue Lightning, said Stomp ‘n’ Shake is an opportunity for members to express themselves in creative ways.
“The rhythm that is required, I think, is very representative of Black culture because you think of step teams, and you think of when you go back to those African roots, a lot of it is all about rhythm,” Wilson said.
Wilson said being a part of something bigger on campus has given Blue Lightning confidence during performances and everyday presence on campus.
“There are things that originated at HBCUs, and became a part of African-American culture,” Wilson said. “It’s kind of hard to express all of that all the time, but in small ways we can continue to embrace our culture.”
After their first breakout performance on April 2, Blue Lightning gained campuswide attention. They will perform during halftime at the annual Homecoming Powderpuff Game on Oct. 28.