Caught Me a Rhythm


At the end of a no-good, awful, terrible week of news, I was in an art museum doused in sweat. Jean Grae was preaching at the pulpit of her makeshift Church of the Infinite You in the lobby of The Broad. Ann Friedman happened upon us, and we shared hugs and hellos. I warned her I was a wet mess of perspiration. I then sat down on a bench next to the best people I know exhausted and blissed out, the tensions of the previous seven days rinsed out into my tee shirt and through to my arty button down.

I was grateful.

Early in Stretch Armstrong‘s DJ set on the EastWest Bank Plaza, he played Do Your Thing by Isaac Hayes. It’s the primary sample for the hook in Big Daddy Kane’s Smooth Operator. I turned to Tiffany and said, “Time for some Scoob and Scrap Lover moves.” She knew what to do. I assumed Stretch was going to move directly into the BDK classic, but he didn’t. Later though, he played almost the entirety of Ain’t No Half-Steppin’. Anna and I did the Kid n Play, and while we tapped feet, I felt a memory in my body.

My shoulders had released. My heart was beating vigorously in my chest. I was back in sketchy warehouses or under a freeway overpass. There was no air conditioning. Military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan had been in the news, or Dick Cheney had shot someone in the face, or California politics seemed crazy, or I had spent too much of my time arguing with racists in my blog comments and yet, here we were. Music blasting, shoulder-to-shoulder with the best-looking people in Los Angeles, and dancing through it.

I have not danced enough during the bizarro-land of the last two years. I have not shocked and delighted others with how much water can come from my pores and how well I can move. Last night, though, I remembered and I felt reborn. It wasn’t a path to forgetfulness; it was a release. We walked through the collections and found art that inevitably connected us to the news of the world at this moment but on that patch of grass, catching a rhythm to hey soul classics and iconic rap records, it was us against the world. We are still here. And we are dancing.

Let the church say, “Fuck yeah.”

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