Prepare for dance battle! A new documentary, Ampe: Leap Into the Sky, Black Girl, profiles a Ghanaian girlhood tradition of competitive dance jumping. Created by longtime friends and collaborators, Claudia Owusu and Ife Oluwamuyide, the film celebrates the joy and beauty of being a young, black African girl. The girls split themselves into two teams of high-jumping, power-kicking bad asses, intended on defeating the frenemy in front of them. Each one is set up with an opponent and tasked with out-jumping and out-guessing each other’s kicks. The girls are armed with a hearty dose of competitiveness and fancy footwork and will have no qualms about outdoing their besties. There are no friends in the game of ‘Ampe’. Boys are allowed to play, but the game is set for empowering girls and belongs to the ladies. It’s seen as a coming-of-age activity and a powerful tool for building community – and self-esteem. Owusu and Oluwamuyide’s narrative documentary illustrates the game’s ability to push young girls into believing in their own power and demanding space in a world that encourages them to shrink themselves.
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