[co-written with DJ Ripley]

It should be no surprise to anyone reading this blog that for those like the two of us (Ripley & bent) the “personal is political” mantra saturates our lives on and off the dancefloor. We are constantly thinking, talking, grinding, mixing and dubbing our way through the politics of music and dance in the 21st century. From the infamous “boobahton” Facebook debate of 2010 to exciting workshops we did at the Allied Media Conference this year, we question our own approaches and those of others to beats and booty-bouncing. It’s not about tearing anyone down or harshing a mellow, but quite simply about having the best parties and music culture possible.

We stand firmly in the camp of those who can both think critically and throw slamming dance parties at the same time (to quote Ripley). Or, in other words, we are those seeking, building, imagining “a utopia where everyone in the world considers the politics of their booty shaking” as Emynd so succinctly put it in this recent twitter mishmash convo. Consider it a snippet from a continuous discussion played out backward and forward through time online, in person, on the dancefloor and via mixtapes — one which defies easy conclusions. [i couldn’t get the whole thing to embed, so click the link!]


[View the story “Politics of booty shaking #1” on Storify]

Ripley ended the story with Emynd’s response because it summed up one of the motivating factors behind our and many folks’ involvement in music, but that’s only one way the conversation could have gone. Some of the points raised early on by Uncle Jesse connect to later arguments in the thread — he talks about “us” and “them” in the music, and suggest there are specific concerns about representation and race that matter, even painfully, to him as well as others. Jubilee is suspicious of the whole process of publicly engaging with these tricky questions in a medium like Twitter. This should remind us that many times these conversations may happen face to face — just because we don’t see them in the media doesn’t mean folks aren’t talking.

But we think there are good reasons to speak up as well and continue the discussion. On Twitter or other public (or privately-owned but sorta-public-acting) sites like Facebook, there are a lot more readers than there are speakers. And for a lot of people learning about scenes, or choosing where to get involved, the kinds of conversations that are visible are what shape who chooses to get involved. So alongside the possibility of sharing with the people in the debate or discussion, there is everything you communicate to the lurkers, to the readers, to the new faces, or those who have been silent up until now.

Since bent and Ripley, like so many others are “committed to resisting negative forces such as racism, misogyny, and homophobia in social spaces like dances, clubs, and bars” one way of doing that is to enter into the public debate and try to change its terms, to carve out a space for clearer language about what we’re really interested in — so many people get hung up on fake conflicts like thinking vs. dancing, or smart vs. fun/raw/sexy. But the existence of so many slamming parties and djs and producers and rappers who do it ALL (props to iBomba, Azucar, Maracuyeah!, Anthology of Booty, Cupcake Collective, Hey Queen, Precolumbian, Rizzla, D’hana, Le1f, Venus X, Chief Boima, and other Dutty Artz folks to name just a few) proves them wrong.

And another side effect of speaking out is that then people who are onto the same stuff can see you — for every grumpy naysayer in public on Twitter or YouTube comments there are ten emails, txts, DMs, or even just silent nods plus a bit more inspiration to carry on in the beautiful struggle!

Friday and Saturday, May 21 & and 22, starting at 8pm, Award-winning New York-based Zimbabwean contemporary dance artist and choreographer Nora Chipaumire will be teaming up with musician Thomas Mapfumo — the legendary “Lion of Zimbabwe” — for the New York premiere of lions will roar, swans will fly, angels will wrestle heaven, rains will break: gukurahundi at the Kumble Theater at Long Island University, Brooklyn Campus. Along with the live musical acompaniment by the great Thomas Mapfumo & The Blacks Unlimited, dancer Souleymane Badolo will also join Chipaumire for the performance.

We have a pair of tickets to give a way to the performance on Saturday. The first reader to respond to the question by sending an email with the correct answer to family@duttyartz.com (and make sure you include the word contest in the subject line) wins the pair of tickets.

The ticket contest is OVER! The contest question was what does “mapfumo” means in shona? Answer = “spears”

May 21 & 22 at 8pm
Kumble Theater at Long Island University, Brooklyn Campus
[youtube width=”525″ height=”393″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h0TF3H6-iK0[/youtube]



UPDATE: Contest over!

Alright, we’re giving away a pair of tickets to One Step Beyond.  We’re going to keep this simple and straightforward; the first person to email family [at] duttyartz.com with the correct answer to the following question wins a pair of ticket to the show; What was the first joint-release from DJ Rupture and Matt Shadetek/Team Shadetek?

You must also include “One Step Beyond Ticket Giveway” in the subject line.

– more info below –

The FADER Presents

ONE STEP BEYOND at the American Museum of Natural History

Friday, November 13, 2009

DJ /Rupture
Matt Shadetek Feat. Jahdan Blakkamoore
Sonido Martines

9pm – 1am
$25- Price includes admission to the Space Show and a free return visit to the Museum.

Buy tickets in advance at http://www.amnh.org/rose/specials/

The Rose Center for Earth and Space
Enter on 79th Street at Central Park West
Must be 21. ID Required