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“What’s it like being Black in the scene?” [Podcast]

January 30, 2018
What's it like being Black in the scene?

(From left to right) Radeena Stuckey, Darold Alexander, Javier Johnson (standing), Breonna Jordan, Latasha Barnes. Not pictured: Mikayla Pryor & James Agena Georges.

Swungover Podcast #02: What’s it like being Black in the scene? With Darold Alexander, Latasha Barnes, James Agena Georges, Javier Johnson, Breonna Jordan, Mikayla Pryor, and Radeena Stuckey. Recorded Dec 31, 2017.

Inspired by discussions at Lindy Focus 2017 held by Breai Mason-Campbell of Baltimore.

LINK TO PODCAST ON YOUTUBE (Will upload it to a podcast platform at some point in the future.)

Or, listen here:


 
 PLEASE CONSIDER SHARING THIS ON SOCIAL MEDIA IN ORDER TO SPREAD THESE VOICES.
 
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Regarding this podcast: It’s striking to me that this is one of the most important things I’ve done at Swungover, and all that it required me to do was listen, and share.

Huge thanks to Darold, Latasha, James, Javier, Breonna, Mikayla , and Radeena for being willing to share their very personal experiences with me (and you). Also a big thanks to Lindy Focus for hosting the discussion series and for so quickly working to help us find a place to record this podcast.

If you’re interested in a place that somehow manages to be the most fun you’ve had with some fantastic serious discussions on how to improve the scene, in addition to some of the greatest swing dance music you will ever hear live, check out Lindy Focus. It’s an honor to work for a camp that puts so much effort into having an ideal of what the scene can be and working to make it a reality.

And thanks to Nathan Bugh who helped create the podcast theme music (that’s him on harpsichord, myself on drums).

9 Comments leave one →
  1. Marie permalink
    January 30, 2018 5:38 pm

    This is so amazing to me. The women who comment that no one asks them to dance, leaves me totally perplexed. I live in Europe and learned to dance in Europe and quite frankly 85% of the time we women have to ask the men for a dance. I can say that I am definitely one of the older dancers so if a guy is looking for a woman, he’s less likely to ask me unless he only wants to dance. Obviously, it grates on my nerves when I consistenly have to ask for a dance (I should also mention that while I am not the greatest dancer, I am pretty decent and know that by the expression from the look on my partners face during and after the dance – from like,’ok’ to ‘hey wow, that was great!’), but I have discovered that some of my fellow followers who are much younger, prettier and a few really wonderful dancers have the SAME PROBLEM!
    So my conclusion is that it has NOTHING to do with race, unless the American leaders are much more gentlemanly than the average European. If so, I can’t wait to dance in the USA!

    • Jessie permalink
      January 30, 2018 7:23 pm

      I have the same experience as you Marie (I dance in the US). I do the asking probably 85% of the time, and I’m a relatively young female and not a new or bad dancer. At first it grated on me, but now I’m used to it and am pleasantly surprised when I get asked :)

      • Marie permalink
        January 31, 2018 1:19 pm

        Yeah, same here. It’s always a pleasurable surprise to be asked and I dance with everyone, beginners to teachers. I actually almost fainted when one of the international instructors at the festival I was attending asked ME to dance. Ha, guess miracles do happen ;-)

  2. Heidi permalink
    February 2, 2018 12:04 pm

    Marie and Jessie, your conclusions are based on your personal experiences. When you put it like this you are diminshing or even denying the experiences of several black women. I don’t think that’s very helpful.

    • Marie permalink
      February 2, 2018 5:03 pm

      Hi Heidi, every comment is personal, but I think you missed the point of my comment. What I am trying to say is that we all pretty much experience the same thing. Maybe a white lead didn’t/doesn’t ask you to dance but he also doesn’t ask me or Jessie either. And believe me i have often felt like an outsider in the group, perhaps because I’m older, perhaps because I’m a foreigner. In other words, I really think we all feel or experience similar emotions. I’m not trying to deny the fact that there are fewer people of color who dance swing, but simply say that in one way or another we are all the same no matter our color or creed.

      • Heidi permalink
        February 3, 2018 2:15 pm

        Marie,
        How can we talk about this problem if you imply it does not exist? That’s how I read your initial comment.

        I don’t know if you are white, but I would say why don’t you listen to these women and think a bit longer about what they are sharing? Why not accept that their experience is true instead of telling them they must be wrong, because your experience tells you so.
        To me sounds like you are telling these women that they are imagining this problem.

        • Marie permalink
          February 3, 2018 3:34 pm

          I’m really sorry to learn that you obviously have no idea of what I am trying to tell you and yes I have listened to them. The point is we are all human and many of us independent of color, race or religion can and do have similar experiences. I think it is wrong to categorize the problem (the one i am addressing as i am sure being treated differently just because of your skin color can and does happen in some part of the country in and out of the dance scene. i do not contest that, but the general statement that I am not aske to dance because i am… is wrong) as belonging to one specific group. The real question is why are there so few people of color present in the swing scene. it may have to do with musical tastes as opposed to color. And of course if all my friends are into hip hop or salsa i will probably go there. i don’t like being polemic in general but I like it even less on social media so I will respect the fact that you prefer not to understand my words. In the meantime, I will continue to ‘swing out’ even if it means asking a lead for a dance and hope you do too.

          • Heidi permalink
            February 8, 2018 11:03 pm

            “I think it is wrong to categorize the problem.”

            I think it is better to leave the right to judge, categorize or identify such an issue to these women of colour. They are quite experienced with this very subject as they are confronted with this each and every day.

            Yes, I hear you and I do understand what you are trying to say. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a European white 50+ woman, so I get the gist of what you are saying. But I will be the ‘troublemaker’ here and ask you to just listen a bit harder and assume these women are right about their assumptions. Just imagine their experience is true. Let it sink in and think about what implications that could have.

            • Marie permalink
              February 14, 2018 3:05 pm

              I’m really sorry to learn that you obviously have no idea of what I am trying to tell you and yes I have listened to them. The point is we are all human and many of us independent of color, race or religion can and do have similar experiences. I think it is wrong to categorize the problem (the one i am addressing as i am sure being treated differently just because of your skin color can and does happen in some part of the country in and out of the dance scene. i do not contest that, but the general statement that I am not aske to dance because i am… is wrong) as belonging to one specific group. The real question is why are there so few people of color present in the swing scene. it may have to do with musical tastes as opposed to color. And of course if all my friends are into hip hop or salsa i will probably go there. i don’t like being polemic in general but I like it even less on social media so I will respect the fact that you prefer not to understand my words. In the meantime, I will continue to ‘swing out’ even if it means asking a lead for a dance and hope you do too.

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