This February I am offering a First Friday Free Fitness Dance event and the first theme for this event is “Black Freedom Struggle.” As allies, there are many different ways that we can work toward the ongoing struggles for Black liberation. While participating in fitness dance seems like it is a rather superficial way of being an ally, there is a lot to learn about literal and figurative movement through music and dance. Movement begets movement; movement fosters consciousness; movement helps us to develop empathy and insight.
The songs in this class speak to many facets of the Black experience in America. And, disclaimer—I do not censor music. Some artists use strong language to share their struggles. I honor that. So here’s a taste to the playlist and some of the themes we will move to, in my hopes that we will Move and Be Moved.
Lupe Fiasco—a Black Muslim artist whose messages are always insightful, inclusive, raw, and deep. We will dance to two of his songs:: “Coming Up” and “Kick, Push.” Lupe Fiasco is not as well known as some of the other artists I will feature in this class. I hope his songs make you run to buy his music.
Beyoncé featuring Kendrick Lamar: “Freedom” is one of my favorite songs from the album, Lemonade. The title makes obvious connections to the theme!
Jay-Z’s “Dirt Off Your Shoulders” from the Black album reminds us to lighten our load in order to move forward with the struggle.
Lizzo’s “Juice”—Lizzo has been celebrated (and berated) all over popular culture for her celebration of her “plus-sized’ body and sexuality. She is unapologetic for who she is and what she wants. She embodies Black freedom.
Kendrick Lamar’s “King Kunta”—one of my favorite songs of all time. If you have not heard this song, go listen to it right now. I will wait. Lamar brings the funk and unites generations through his artistic talents.
Flo Rida, “How I Feel” is a song that reminds us that every day is a new day!
Santigold is one of my favorite artists and also not very well known. We will dance to her “You’ll Find a Way.”
Janelle Monae is also one of my favorite artists and we will dance to two of her songs, “Tightrope” featuring Big Boi and “Cold War.” The first song is all about keeping balance and walking the tightrope of society’s expectations and the video features Monae’s mad dance skills (which we will not try to emulate!). The second has layers of meaning. The video for “Cold War,” which features only a close up of her (beautiful) face is so moving. She asks us: “do you know what you’re fighting for?”
And more and more and more!
Join us on February 7th from 6pm to 7:15 in Eastport Hall on the UMA-Bangor campus as we move, groove, stretch and raise our consciousness!