Listen to Your Intuiton

Image via Dr. Ergo

Yesterday, Goldy and I were walking down New Hampshire. It was warm enough that Black folks were on their porches, and young folks of all races were walking their dogs. But on this particular stretch of street there wasn’t a lot of foot traffic.

We walked pass an older Black man, and kind of pepped up when he saw us an started with the “hey’s” and “how you doings”, I just let out an #ummhmm, because I was not going to be bothered.

After a few seconds I didn’t hear him. Remember that.

Something told me to turn around, and not ONLY DID I TURN AROUND, but I turned around with my finger in his face saying “You need to back the fuck up”.

I was scared, not because of him. I am protected.

I was scared of how powerful it was to have a spirit that FELT a person coming that I did not SEE.

Goldy didn’t feel him coming, I did.

He looked at me, thought about whether or not he was going to “back the fuck up” and turned around and walked away.

I mean he had to honestly assess whether or not I was going to escalate, which I clearly was.

I don’t know what it was gina that told me “#allcity, turn the fuck around now and stop him”, but I listened to it.

It was surreal, like magic.

Listen to your Intuition. It might save your life.

#Blackgirlsarefromthefuture. Yesterday was further proof.

You ignore your intuition lately?

The Gender Politics of the Dance Floor

I am a dancer.

I have been since I can remember.

When I was 8 years old I won the dance contest at the California State Fair on 4th of July weekend.

#yup.

Dancing on a stage in front of thousands of people, and an audience comprised of mainly White folks and my parents.

Dancing earlier this week had me thinking about how space is gendered. And by gendered I mean ideas about “men’s” and “women’s” roles are so powerful that  they shape how men and women interact AND  the roles become amplified in certain spaces.

The streets and the dancefloor are two space that come to mind, but in this post I am going to focus on the dance floor.

Dance Floor Experiences.

Well, last week, my cheek brushed passed a heterosexual identified gentleman’s. He responded, “YO, your cheeks are mad soft.” They are, I have cubby cheeks, they run in my family. He then leaned in to touch them again.

I leaned back matrix style then responded saying, “You have to get consent first.” He then asked.

This reminds me of how much negotiation goes in Black women’s bodies simply BEING in public spaces.

I think that the dance floor is the first place were I was comfortable claiming my autonomy and space even as a dancer kid and teenager.

As a good dancer, people naturally GIVE you space, because they enjoy the performance.

I am now only beginning to put all these pieces together.

In fact it wasn’t until I was dancing in August that Green Eyes, pointed out to me that I am a space clearer. It makes sense, because I need space to dance.

But the reality you simply need space to BE.

Because I am a dancer, I am not really the kind of person you want to stand next to and hold your drink and watch woman’s asses move.

You will get pushed out. Static energy on the dance floor blows my steez.

I move deliberately like a New Condo in a working class Black and Latino neighborhood.  #pow.

The party dance floor is a politicized and gendered space because of the  alcohol, darkness and music. In some ways it creates an environment where men feel entitled to grab, touch and feel without consent.

This behavior is not innate, they are not born like this, they are socialized to think that it is okay. It is not.

Two years ago I wrote about the politics of the dance floor where a White woman felt comfortable enough to kiss me. In that post I quoted Benjamin Mako Hill who states,

Booty bass is not just playing around with the idea of the dance floor being highly sexualized. In practice, it?s about serving the sex market and all about glamorizing and making palatable, laughable, and perhaps even justifiable everything that happens in that market.

Sometimes it’s not just about making fun of, toying with, or hinting at sexual domination in a safe context like the dancefloor but about creating, quite literally, a soundtrack for the real thing.

Thinking back, that was some radical shit for a White dude to say. #ummhmm.

Negotiating Space and Bodies

Last night I had a dance partner that wore my ass out. Like. Wo’ out. And that rarely happens.

There was two stepping. A little Bachata. The wop.

We danced through an ENTIRE Prince set. In fact I think I mentioned that I was a dancer… after that I remember being spun around in the air. #yup.

Nothing like a hand in the small of your back spinning you above the crowd.

However, I do recall a moment where I was like “Imma need you to move your hands two inches higher.”

He did.

Hands on my ass is not tolerable unless I consent. Full stop.

Dancing  Sexy is “Ho” Shit.

Because I dance passionately, it is often misread as being sexually accessible, which means that ostensibly, I cannot just dance with anyone.

Dancing passionately is really about  me having a conversation with the DJ.

As Professor Imani Perry says, Black dance is discursive, a conversation. I agree.

The question for me is who is conversatin’. <<<< I am wrong. I know.

Hope

Oh, there was also a moment last night that I will never forget when the DJ played Nirvana’s Teen Spirit. Honey.  An entire room of Negro people jumping.

I am not one to say that hip hop can solve problems as a “culture.”  People committed to solving problems solve problems.

What I will say is that I felt the power of a room full of folks jumping. The energy was …I don’t know, it just gave me hope.

Dance floor politics?

Women, how do you deal with this?

Have any gendered dance floor experiences recently?