A few weeks ago I was posed a question for Ask QueenB. I’m answering it today in honor of tonight’s hip hop performance, Streets of the World. Also, I felt it was a question that I wanted to think more about and truly articulate what it means to me in a nontrivial way.
“What is your take on the world of hip-hop? How has it changed your view on yourself and society?” –Troy
First, on the surface I have changed in a few ways. I am definitely willing to be more edgy in my clothing choices. When I first started hip hop 7 years ago I tended to wear my regular workout clothes to classes. Now, I typically wear baggy (really baggy) sweatpants and a tank that I’ve personally altered with scissors in some way. A recent addition to the ensemble has been a hat of some kind. When we costume up for a show, I have no qualms about fishnets and mini-skirts, feathers, lace gloves, fangs, dark make-up. In fact, it is one of my favorite parts of the experience. None of this is that surprising, but what is is that this edginess has found its way into my personal and professional wardrobes as well. Not fishnets or bustiers, but definitely more pencil skirts, feminine dresses, wilder prints as well as more fitted clothes, shorter lengths, and higher heels. Why do I think this is due to hip hop? I feel more confident in how I look and how my body makes me feel.
Second, I am more willing to let different facets of my life bleed over into each other. Where before I was self conscious and timid about it, now I love to come home and show the huz what I’m working on in dance, even when it’s a little raw. Because I was worried it might seem less that professional for a technology marketing director to do hip hop, I kept the performances fairly private from my coworkers. But for the last 2 shows I have hung the event posters on my office door advertising it. Why do I think this is due to hip hop? I see an acceptance of many walks of life from my hip hop friends. They welcome new people and welcome new things about the veterans, they are genuinely interested in people. They enjoy learning new things and not only find joy in movement that may feel or look awkward and unfamiliar, but encourage it in themselves and others. It is a refreshing way of seeing people and seeing themselves that I am still striving to embrace.
Last, I don’t want to minimize the end of the question- how it has changed my view on society. My hip hop instructors and troupe are truly a melting pot. I’ve developed friendships and strong bonds with many of them. It is the first time in my life that if questioned I can honestly say that my group of friends represents a slice of the general population. And yes, I am talking about race. I grew up in a place where there was no opportunity to create that type of network. I had it somewhat in college, but not to this extent. I pride myself on having the highest caliber people close to me. And I do. Right now. So, I’m not sure hip hop has necessarily changed my view on society, but it certainly solidifies my positive view of humanity. And that is a wonderful way to go through life.