Well, year three is in the books. I am sitting at (my new) home, in Utah, still sort of in shock over the fact that I have completed yet another successful year at The Ohio State University. OSU has actually become more home to me geographically than anywhere else. It’s where I have spent the majority of my time and energy over the last few years. I remember the first time I actually called it “home” and how weird that felt. Now, I have one year left until I will be making a new home somewhere in the world.
I titled this post “Commencing” because a few days ago, I finally began work on my senior project. It eerily became real because now I am actually doing all of the things I have been talking about doing for the past year. (You can click this link for more information about my project) The end of this past semester was full of so much confirmation that I am exactly where I am supposed to be. I took two classes that paralleled my interests in blackness in dance and helped me to explore blackness more generally in America and musically throughout the Diaspora. It was so powerful for me to make connections and to see that the things that I observe at work in the dance field have larger, societal roots as well. In my Music of Africa and the Diaspora class, we had a guest lecturer, Dr. Denise Noble, talk about Dancehall music in Jamaica. I was intrigued by the way in which Black women’s bodies functioned within this Jamaican context, and I immediately felt that it had some connection to the ways in which Black women’s bodies in America function as well. Dr. Noble and I connected later as I interviewed her for my final paper that I wrote for that class. One of the biggest things that I took away from our conversation is that this thing — this particular structure that surrounds and suppresses Black people — is global. It’s a part of the legacy left behind that touches every single country in the African Diaspora and every African nation that has been colonized by Europeans. I am now struck by the vastness of what I want to do.
I think I have found (one of) my life’s work(s). I simply cannot get at everything in a year while taking general education classes and trying to graduate on time. But what I know is that my work will not end simply at the end of my final year of undergrad. I wrote in my senior project proposal that I want to work to ensure that no other little black girl has to grow up feeling the way that I did/do. As a woman, finding peace with your body can be hard work — especially when your body is encased in black skin. This applies broadly in America where black bodies still are under attack, but more specifically in a dance studio. I had know clue how much meaning this statement would take on when I said this three years ago as I wrote my artist statement for this blog, but dance is for everyone. There is no perfect body or size. No one should every have to question their place or if they belong here for any reason. My sister, you will fit, because I am breaking the mold for you.
So as I commence this process, I am very excited, very nervous, and borderline already overwhelmed, but I am motivated. I’m not just doing this for me. I am taking the first few steps now, but I refuse to be timid. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for me! To God be All the Glory!