I often get super short texts from Spank instead of phone calls.
Spanky is a girl living in a digital world.
I’m cool with it. At least she’s thinking enough of me to keep me updated.
(Also, generally, these texts will turn into conversations about what’s new in college life)

She told me she was going to a party. Then I got a text that said:
Black girls in Boston: Black Girls that can’t dance.

Yeah. She’s that black girl. And quite frankly, I’m not taking any blame. Because she’s got rhythm.
She didn’t wanna LEARN to dance. So her not knowing how to dance? Not my fault.
Because I sure did a lot of dancing at home. And in public. Because nothing is more fun that embarrassing my kids.
(Nesto didn’t teach either of the kids to dance. Because gangsters don’t dance, they boogie)
And you know how most black people learn how to dance?
From their families: mostly cousins and older siblings. (Included: “play” cousins, god sisters/brothers. THEY ARE SO PART OF THE FAMILY.)
Because most dancing happens in everyday spaces, children often dance with older members of the community around their homes and neighborhoods, at parties and dances, on special occasions, or whenever groups of people gather to ‘have a good time’.
Cultural dance traditions are therefore often cross-generational traditions, with younger dancers often ‘reviving’ dances from previous generations, albeit with new ‘cool’ variations and ‘styling’.

That’s right! Like people everywhere, our traditions, including dancing were passed down. But UNLIKE people everywhere, the passing of traditions was likely to get you killed. Back in ye olde slave times, dancing helped enslaved Africans connect with their homeland keeping their cultural traditions alive. Which. YOU STOP THAT RIGHT NOW, TOBY. THIS YO’ HOME NOW. *cough* Sorry.

Before enslavement, Africans danced for special occasions, such as a birth or a marriage, or as a part of their daily activities and dance affirmed life and the outlook of a better future. African-Americans sang and danced while working as slaves, and as they converted to the religions of the Americas, they incorporated these traditions into these religions. Blacks who worked in the colonies of Spain, Portugal, the Caribbean, and South America were given more freedom to dance than enslaved Blacks in North America. Many North American slave owners barred Africans from most forms of dancing Africans found ways of getting around these prohibitions. For example, since lifting the feet was considered dancing, many dances included foot shuffling and hip and torso movement.

The dances of the plantation moved onto the stage through Minstrel shows, which introduced black dance to large audiences during the 1800s. As popular entertainment, both Blacks and whites performed them. Initially, Blacks appeared as giant teddy bears while some white girl struggling with the her transition from Disney teen queen to “adult” “twerked” and made exaggerated facial expressions that I can only assume was her take on what black girls looked like while dancing caricatures that were often ridiculed, but they drew from their cultural traditions even as they made fun of themselves. In 1891, The Creole Show, a revue staged on Broadway introduced The Cakewalk, the FIRST (but certainly NOT THE LAST) dance created by Blacks to become popular with the white population. Other black-influenced dance trends that followed were the Charleston, the Lindy Hop, the Jitterbug, and the Twist. The 1920s and 1930s were an especially fruitful time for black dance in the United States. During the Harlem Renaissance, similar innovations in theater, music, literature, and other arts accompanied African-American developments in dance. Black musical theater, derived from minstrel shows, continued to popularize and legitimize black dance traditions and black performers, as it had in the 19th century and continues into the present day.

In fact, have y’all seen Azonto? Azonto is a dance and a music genre originating from Ghana. (I’m not giving y’all the whole background and junk. Look it up! That’s what the internet is for. Not you know… PORN) This is one of my favorite videos. It’s fun! And cute! And, oh, FOR FUCKS SAKE, WATCH IT.

I can’t wait until white people start doing this. Oh WAIT.*

*Cultural appropriation: When a group (usually the dominant group in society, though not always) takes aspects of another culture without permission and adopts it as part of its own, often without recognition(or acknowledgment) to the roots and history of the cultural tradition in question.