Story and photo by Anthony Beron
McClymonds’ secret weapon jumps high and moves fast on the football field. But it’s during halftime as part of the cheerleading squad’s festive halftime routine.
Davonte Braud, a junior at Mack, is the first male cheerleader in the school’s recent history. And the only one in the Oakland Athletic League.
Braud does not mind the effeminate connotation allegedly brought with the sport.
“I’ve been cheering since Pop Warner at age 3,” said Braud, who challenges the female cheerleaders with his athleticism, energy and dance moves. “I’ve modeled too.”
The junior has also played football himself. “They urged me to join the team, but I joined the cheerleading squad instead,” he said. He then leaps and does a mid-air split.
Braud was recently threatened expulsion from Mack’s cheerleading team by Humphrey Garrett, a McClymonds School Security Officer, for being obstreperous during a geometry class lecture.
Many feel Braud is a valuable asset to the team. “He’s an athlete like everyone else,” said Darlisha McGlothen, a senior. “He just jumps higher than anyone else.”
However, not everyone agrees. Some of the alumni and fathers tease the players, calling out to them,”He has your jersey number,” said Nakaya LaForte, a freshman who frequently attends Mack sports games. “It’s good natured, but they are kind’ve also insensitive.”
“We just like the cheering,” said Jacquari Warfield, a sophomore wide receiver. As for it coming from a male cheerleader? “I don’t think much about it.”