the drumming event last night was interesting. hosted in an english style church, pews pushed to the sides to reveal hardwood floors where bare feet stamped and slid to the rythms.

and i sat on the side with my friends. all of us listening intently. our heads bobbing. sometimes our feet tapping. but always seated.

even so, we stood out. our group held two of the four black faces in the crowd of 100 plus people. the master drummer was from guinea i believe, another guy introduced himself…ghana, my friend is from zimbabwe, and then me.

part way through the drumming our ghanaian friend joined the drummers. seated himself briefly and then took off his shirt and jumped to the front. grooving with muhammad, the master drummer, he began to dance…a small crowd gathered to watch how his body moved to, from, with the music. muhammad sped up, slowed down. it was an interesting thing so spontaneously crafted.

after that muhammed seemed to be in the mood for more and so he came barreling to the side and grabbed my friend by the arm and dragged him to the floor, me laughing beside him until it dawned on me that i might be next. i dismissed the thought and instead watched as my friend moved and twisted and acted a nut. he had fun with the music and eventually limped back to his seat.

of course it turned out i was next…the only remainging black person in the crowd…the saying is true…if they come for everyone and you dont speak, there is no one left to speak when they come for you. and so i was dragged to the floor and made to dance. my rubber soled shoes sticking to the floor i moved and swayed and shook. and while not as painful for me as i remember it being back at famu when i took classes and performed in a show…i wasn’t brought to tears of akward embarrassment like the old days…it wasn’t the highlight of my night.

at the same time, it wasn’t the death of my night either. be it age, location, or expectation for some reason it didn’t burn through me like it usually does…the idea that i’m somehow supposed to know how to move…that somehow i’m supposed to flow in the music as if it were mine…didn’t leave me rigid.

was i graceful? not a word i’d use to describe myself…but i danced for a few moments without thinking too much about how beautiful my friend gia is with the drums, or how akward i might look. it’s musical progress to say the least.

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