Lastnight, I had a surreal experience that I’m still trying to get over today. I dance with a local dance company here in Washington DC and the technique that we focus on is West African Dance.
The gig was at a local Museum, which was being rented out for some corporate party/affair.
Upon arriving there, the “event manager” greeted me and then wanted to show me where we would be performing, then where we would be changing. It didn’t look like much, but a hallway was not as bad as some other places where we’ve had to perform.
When everyone got to the space and prepared to go to perform, I began to realize that not everyone didn’t realize we were going to be performing in a Hallway. Me being who I am, I don’t stress the specifics, but if there’s one thing that I’ve gotten used to in being apart of KanKouran is not having the specifics and/or details about a certain event and/or performance.
Once we were all dressed and in place, Konte lead us out to the “Hallway”. It was there that we found out (and I say “we” loosley because whomever booked this event had to know what we would be doing) that we would be greeting these people into this fundraising event in the Museum. It wasn’t even a performance, it’s was what my sis Nzinga refers to as straight COONERY! Jumping around, acting like a bunch of damned fools. I’ve never been so humiliated in my life. THEN they had the nerve to have some man dressed up as “Safari Joe”, exploring and interacting with us Natives! WTF! Five minutes into the gig, I told Konte I couldn’t do it and I walked off.
Let me be perfectly clear with this post. I am an African who happened to be born in America. My African Diasporic Cultural and Identity is the SOURCE of strength for who I am as a man and what I represent to the world. It’s richness, splendor, energy and vibrancy is something I will cherish until the day I die. I will teach it to my kids and they will teach it to their kids. I will never be apart of something that disrespects the culture or conflicts with who I am as a man. I will never jump because someone thinks they can make me jump because they cut my paycheck. To me, that is the most obvious and identifiable tennets of modern day slavery and I REFUSE to be anyone’s slave in the physical, metal or spiritual sense.