As I was telling Smiley yesterday at lunch*, I could explain all day about Act Like a GRRRL! and still not feel certain you really understood it or saw its value. But if you came to a performance, if you saw these girls up on stage reading the things they wrote, singing songs they composed, dancing dances that they choreographed, it’s impossible not to be moved by it.
One of the most amazing things is to watch the women in the audience as they file out after the show, how many of them have been crying. You see those girls up on stage just being so daring and your heart just goes out to them.
I still think that my favorite part is the African dancing. They had these awesome drummers come and play for them and the girls just got up there and let go.
Of course, performing in front of a mostly white audience meant that there was not nearly enough clapping or hooting at appropriate times. Dear White People, no one is watching you! No one gives a shit if you just relax for ten minutes and behave for your daughters in public the way you behave for your sports teams in front of the television. Love, Aunt. B.
But I think that goes hand in hand with why so many of the women in the audience were crying afterwards. Most of us don’t have a lot of practice being unguarded in public. I think a lot of us have internalized “What will other people think?” as the very first question we ask ourselves before we do most anything, even leave the house dressed how we’re dressed. There’s something really powerful about seeing girls do something where clearly their first question is “What do I think I need to express?”
Anyway, the funniest thing afterwards was that the drummers were still drumming as people left and one little girl was just wiggling away like there was no tomorrow and her sister ran over to her mother and was all, “Mom, she just won’t stop dancing!”
That made me laugh so hard.
*See?! Doesn’t that work so nicely? What does “CeeElCee” tell you about about him? Nothing.
“Sarcastro?” That tells you a lot about what hanging out with Mr. Smartypants would be like. “Knucklehead?” Again. These are nicknames like those tiny spoonfuls of ice cream they give you at Baskin Robbins when you want to try a sample. It’s not the whole experience, but it gives you a hint about the flavor of the dessert.
You wonder what it would be like to spend time with CeeElCee or Exador? I think “Smiley” and “the Wayward Boy Scout” give you a clue. Yes, it’s confusing, but necessary, I think.