The troupe of energetic 60 to 80-year-old grannies, which started in San Francisco's Chinatown in the 1950's has evolved over time. Their performance at the Rossmoor Senior Community in Walnut Creek is of their new anti-Asian hate rap. It's their way of channeling their anger over the attacks on Asian Americans.
Their chorus "da-da-da" by the way means "hit, hit, hit".
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With the help of a poet, the song in Chinese and English is part dis-track, part empowerment anthem. All done with lighthearted humor.
One performer shouts "I have the meanest line," which she recites in Cantonese. "Which means you degenerate, go to hell!" as she and the rest of the group burst out into laughter.
There is a lot of laughter for these seniors which appears to be keeping them young at heart. That humor apparent in the song's title "Gai Mou Sou" which means "chicken feather duster" in Chinese. An ode to a disciplinary tool from another era.
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"It brings back memories of punishment from grandma. Before they were afraid and now they can laugh about it!" smiles one performer.
While the ladies admit there was a learning curve to getting the music video made, one even admitting "we didn't know how to hip-hop, so we were looking kind of spastic!" They say the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, even garnering attention on MTV's Facebook page.
"They're responding and tuning in and loving it! Our message is don't mess with grandma and treat your elders with respect. It's a warning to the community, don't hurt grandma!"
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The Follies already tour around the country and when asked when they'd like to perform next? Their answer is a unanimous: "The White House!"
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Until then, they plan to perform in San Francisco's Chinatown at Portsmouth Square at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 29.
TAKE ACTION: Resources to help the Asian American and Pacific Islander community
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