For the Americans the memory goes to lieutenants "Maverick" and "Goose" in Top Gun, for the Italians to the Ringo Boys team and Jovanotti's catchphrase. L'"high five", or "Give me five” for over half a century it has been one of the most widespread gestures in the world and, although surrounded by a thick vintage halo, it never goes out of fashion. “National High Five Day” has existed in the USA since 2002, but despite so much recognition, few know who created it, what it means and how the custom of slapping one's palm against another's has spread throughout the world.
There are those who say that the five represents universal strength and individuality and that the “gimme five” is a symbol of transcendence to higher existences; others claim it was the greeting used among black kids in Harlem in the 1970s. The truth lies in the middle, between the spirituality of music and the speaking gestures of black Americans. The ancestor of the high five is the son of jazz and was born in the USA in the 1920s, quickly spreading from taverns to the chic venues of the new world. It was the gesture of understanding that black musicians exchanged between one song and another, a bit like saying "brother, we did it". Starting humbly from the bottom. The first "give me five" were in fact "low five", the palm was clapped without raising the hands. There is no precise date of birth, but the custom was immortalized for the first time by singer Al Jolson in 1927, in the sound film "The Jazz Singer".
Since then it has been a crescendo. Until 1977, when baseball champion Glenn Burke pressed his palm against Dusty Baker's during a Los Angeles Dodgers game, consecrating the "high five" in the Olympus of the most beloved sporting gestures. Another champion, Lamont Sleets, known to his friends as "Mont", has always disavowed this version, claiming that he was the first to bring high fives into tournaments, starting from the basketball courts of Murray State University in the 1960s. It is just one of the many diatribes on the paternity of "give me five", which in America give vent to the rivalry between basketball and baseball.
The term “high five” entered the Oxford English Dictionary in 1981 and in 2002 three students from the University of Virginia caused a sensation by embarking on a road trip with the aim of giving high fives to everyone they met on the trip, launching a secular and transversal message of peace. Hence, National High Five Day was born as an official celebration. A noble story, that of "give me five", made up of racial empowerment and brotherhood, sports fields and college campuses.
An ideal that “Racism is a bad story” (http://www.razzismobruttastoria.net/), site developed by BigFive for Feltrinelli Group, aims to fight discrimination through campaigns, meetings and field activities. We curated the website for them, and it was a pleasure to be able to help them launch an initiative that we at BigFive also strongly believe in.
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