As festival season is upon us, we worship the ancestors and pay homage to our culture. With events like Dance Africa produced by BAM, in the center of downtown Brooklyn our fashions and music are likely to always drive in gentrifiers, culture vultures and the curious.
How do we protect our space? While also being teachers and light givers? As we entered BAM Dance Africa I COULDN'T HELP but notice the melanated beauties, selling fabrics, fashions, food, jewelry, and the loud drumming resonating in my heart.
These prints we wear are not costumes, they are cultural armour. Face paint is not animal like, but majestically beautiful! We are uniquely made in every aspect of our identity. Kendrick Laamar's "DNA" is only a hint of what we're capable of when we unleash the true power.
Places like BAM DANCE AFRICA, help us to unite, create and bridge the gaps in our community. With youth willing to learn from elders we can only continue to succeed. When our space gets fully infiltrated by others there is a weariness, and uncomfortability.
There's a major difference between being admired, copied, and or mocked. Wearing African fabrics, is different from tasting foods. Immitation is not flattery in these aspects. We protect spaces by not allowing our culture to be a stomping ground for others. When we speak to one another, allow other to ask questions, be willing to teach without ignorance and without bounds. We should not leave our culture for assumptions , nor do we leave it for "grabs."