This world has always been against us and the favor sure wasn’t always fair. For an entire era, we have huddled together down in the valley, holding each other up, wiping each other’s tears, and then emerging with a resiliency like nobody’s business. This pandemic may be a new strain of attack on the world, but war ain’t really new to us and for that reason, we are equipped to rise.
As the world as we know it seems to be crumbling, economies are tanking, and social-distancing is becoming our horrific new reality, my people are not defeated. This particular struggle may be foreign, but theee struggle is a familiar place for my kinfolk. And our coping response is second-nature and rooted in our collective history. We have been laughing, dancing, and taking extended praise breaks in the midst of our tears for eons.
Yep, we’ve been using lemons to make tasty lemonades all of our existence. When we endured horrific conditions on the slave plantations, we sang and shouted through secret prayer services in our dwellings and down by the rivers. Those raw pains coupled with unending hope birthed our negro spirituals and connected us to our God. We belted notes through tears and kept moving through fears.
When masters laughed and threw us hog guts to feed our families, we invented a soul food delicacy passed down to generations that no one could take from us. They tossed us their undesirable vegetables and we made pots of the best greens imaginable. The harder our struggle, the stronger our community (and arguably, the better our food tastes).
We are built to cope through hard times by using our bodies and talents. We’ve created art and music through our hardships since we can remember. From early rap and break-dancing on the streets of NY, to Second Line rituals in Louisiana, we been using our voices and feet to push through heartache all our lives.
Now bringing it back home. After a tough week of uncharted hardships, worry, and the reality of widespread unemployment, DJ D-Nice’s Saturday night dance party broadcasted live on Instagram brought us all together. Even the A-list stars, politicians and celebrities rolled through the hottest event of the night. This single, collective party reminded us of who.we.are. Although we don’t yet have a medical cure for this global pandemic, D-Nice’s musical brilliance served as the perfect antidote for the longest week eva.
As his beats vibrated through all of our homes, the rhythms pumped strength and hope back into our hearts. Collectively we stepped, bopped, and did our grown 2-steps to hip-hop, R&B and soul in one large virtual dance hall- #ClubQuarantine. As we cabbage-patched around the kitchen and swag-surfed down the hall to the living room, we all knew we are going to be alright.
Saturday night helped to remind us who we are and what we do when faced with trials and tribulations. We may not be equipped with the most expensive resources, we may not have the most extravagant meals on our tables. Hell, we may not have much in general. But we shol know how to use what we have…been doing it for years. And we’ve got each other.
And watch, our bounce-back will be stronger than ever.