Friday, July 16, 2010

Music Makes the People Come Together

by Daisy Shaver

There is still a little glitter around my eyes from the weekend. I showered but decided to leave the remnants. I mean, I work at the queer health center!

Last night, a bunch of faeries carried our drums down to the Hudson River. It was blistering hot. For the past 6 years, these drummers have slapped skin to share our beats and dance with the throngs of people that come to the River after the massively long Gay Pride Parade. I love the parade. But this event has become one of the highlights of Pride weekend. The majority of the crowd are African American and Latino young people. Fierce outfits and crazy carrying on.

A handful of us left Club Lum's and ambled onto the river walk. When we arrived to the spot where we usually play, a group of African-American lesbians just wasn't having it--we white boys with our drums. One said, "Hey, this is my spot!" I shouted back, "I thought this was OUR spot," gesturing to us and the crowds. "What these white boys gonna do," she said.

Eddie said, "Not yet Michel, wait." We cooled off. We gathered our energy. We took it all in. Then we began to LAY IT DOWN! Soon the sisters had scooted their chairs around to watch what was unfolding.

I am finding it difficult to put my emotions into words about last evening. Today as I spoke about it, I kept welling up with grateful emotion. First off, there is nothing like the communication between drummers and dancers. We are speaking on a level beyond words. It's feeling. So when we began to hit our groove, people began to gather around us to drink that in. There is this sense of kindred spirit that is beyond compare. A sense of unity develops when the crowds move and shake to the sound coming from you. Black, white, yellow and brown become one!

Pretty soon, a skinny little woman stepped into the circle and began to dance. She became maniacal and trance-like. Her body stiffened, and jerked to our rhythms. Others joined force. When you drum, the dancers only charge you on. When she was ready to take a pause, this gal came up to each of us and looked right in our eyes as she shook her body. She didn't speak. But she communicated thanks in such a deep way with just that look. The same thing happened over and over. They were all women of color. If they weren't looking us in the eye, they were bending over and shaking their ass to the beat right in front of each of us to show they were with us.

Then it just got down right OFF THE HOOK!! Couples, triplets all swinging and bucking. One hot guy was swinging this sassy mama bucking up and down bumping their pelvises together. Dykes were grinding snatch and dry humping like nobody's business. At dusk, two tall drinks of water stepped up to the circle and surveyed the scene. Then one of them began to vogue. I mean VOGUE! The other then stepped in after him. Grrrl! They would drop from standing right to flat on their backs. Stupendous!

White folks just do not get into their bodies this way. We just don't. This event has taught me that each year. It's made me appreciate how white man's religion has drawn us out of sensual pleasure.

This isn't to say the white faeries that danced didn't turn it out either. As a matter of fact, the faeries really have it going on when it comes to dancing together. And we were dancing together with these masses of people. Hundreds of people ambled by, stopped, looked, maybe joined in. And in these moments we all danced a tribal ritual that tied us all up together. We were in church. THIS was our religion.


Ode to Sistah Moon Daisy Shaver 1996

Last time I say ya,
Last time I saw ya,
Last time I saw ya
So big Sistah Moon.

You was shinin' strong
On me-n-my drum
Beatin' rhythms so fine
Speakin', groovin', lovin', movin'!

Last time I saw ya,
Last time I saw ya,
I was makin' music
Like I was makin' love.

You were movin' waves
And movin' through us
Reflecting bright like heat
A sound flowing like the tide.

Last time I saw ya
Brothers grooved in cosmic rhythm.
I heard their hearts beat
And saw souls move their hands.


I'm kinda weepy as I close this little missive. Sweet little tears of gratitude trickle out. Like Dickie Dworkin said, "Daisy, we are turning the white patriarchy on it's ear!!"

Music will do that.

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