As a fan of podcasts, Integrated Rhythm has been such an outstanding resource for all of us here at iLindy. “What’s this podcast about?” you ask. Here’s what the creators have to say:
Integrated Rhythm is a weekly podcast where “Two besties navigate race and the Black Experience in the world of Jazz Dance and other Afro-centric social dancing. Join Associate Professor, instructor, and swing and Zambian heritage dancer Chisomo Selemani and world-champion swing dancer, instructor, and historian Bobby White as they discuss Afro-centric social dancing with a range of guests, make bad puns, and occasionally sing. The goal is comfortable conversations about uncomfortable things.”
Their podcast music is by Laurel Ryan & Michelle Stokes, their intro and ad music this week is by Barron Ryan, Laurel Ryan’s brother (check out firstofitskind.net, and www.barronryan.com.) And, the background drumming is by Bobby White.
Previously on iLindy’s blog, we posted some of our key takeaways from the first section (1 of 5) of the panel discussion in the hopes that would inspire you to watch it. Haven’t gotten around to it yet? Well then, how about checking out a podcast review of it?! Not only do we think the full panel discussion is worth your time, but so is the episode “Hope-temistic” on Integrated Rhythm!
That’s right, we are doing a review of a review! Chisomo and Bobby’s insightful reflections and charming banter are not only worth your time, but you’ll be a better human being for it! Below, you’ll find some of our favorite gems from the conversation woven into their show notes.
4:06 – Chisomo: “I’m more than optimistic, I’m hope-timistic!”
5:13 – Chisomo: “If you are an organizer for a dance scene, or if you are a participant and you thought about engaging in events in any degree, you should definitely watch [the Build Back Better panel]”.
Why should I watch the 3 hours of the panel?
7:00 The Everyday Lens
7:35 – Bobby on Dr. Andaiye Qaasim:
“It’s all about looking at this through your everyday lens… Having a better eye towards the black experience and other racial experiences in America, is not just about like the next swing dance event that you go to, but it’s about how you look at it through everything in your life.”
8:39 – Chisomo:
“Dr. Qaasim has her Ph.D. in Social Justice and is specific to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. She is able to deliver information about the history of racism, where we are today, and how to move forward […] I love her reminder about reciprocal engagement […] One of the anecdotes to not understanding racism, not understanding power and privilege is exchanging stories and connecting with people and a reciprocal way.”
10:05 – Chisomo:
“If we were all to ask questions about the everyday, we would build a better society, because we are beginning to interrogate things individually, on our own.”
11:30 – Chisomo:
“You don’t know what you don’t know, so you might feel like nothing is missing in your life. We as people often seek sameness, we seek to connect and to feel like we are in a place where we’re accepted. And that often leads to a homogeneous experience […] Diversity adds so much beauty and interesting perspective things that we would have never thought of, and it makes life richer. When we have diverse leadership, or when we have diverse representation, then we get to do these really cool things, but we don’t have access to that until we start to open the doors and dismantle the systems that are preventing that. “
13:00 Looking towards the Future
13:33 – Bobby on Dr. Nicholas Centino:
“The white majority is becoming more of a minority. If we want the swing scene to survive for that long, we have to look towards that future.”
There’s a generational way of thinking about the dance which is very much connected with its roots, and which can also help us to look into the future and care for the future of this dance.
15:00 Leaks in the fuel tank
15:42 Bobby on Dr. Marie N’daiye –
“If we want to do this, welcome more people of color into the scene, we also have to make sure to fix [the leaks in the tank]. Why do people of color and other people want to leave the scene? Why do they not stick around for very long? We have to fix those things before we can truly have a safe place for more people to be welcomed into.”
It’s not just about getting more diverse people in, but creating a comfortable environment for them, so that they will want to stay.
16:04 – Bobby:
“Why do people of color and other people want to leave the scene?”
16:24 – Chisomo:
“We need to address the revolving door and discuss safety […] There has to be engagement with the people who are leaving to understand why that is happening. It is incumbent upon us to make changes so that more people feel safe […]”
19:00 Communication, Improvisation, Rhythm, Play, Competition — and the importance of cultural immersion
20:13 – Chisomo:
“Swing Dances are not just an art form, but they are social and cultural. […] If you don’t come from those cultures and aren’t incorporated in that social landscape, how can you connect to that? Many people get into swing dancing later on in life and may not have an understanding of the cultural underpinnings behind the dance. What we’ve seen, especially in the last 30 or so years, is that people kind of learn some historical things and picked and chosen what’s interesting to them. But it’s so important not to just admire history from afar, or kind of pick and choose certain cultural elements, but to be immersed in […] getting to know the culture like forming a relationship with the culture. […] A relationship with the people is a messier process.”
25:40 – Chisomo:
“In order to understand ourselves and other people in the full spectrum of our humanity, we have to look beyond just the specific codified moments of where we’re racism or dismantling oppression is a pat answer. We need to think about other experiences like why being intentional about intersectional lenses is really important because there are compounding effects…”
29:00 Coloniality and Control
“Are we always asking black people to come to us into this majority white space – as opposed to – in what ways are we asking to go to them? Are we taking the time to create relationships?”
30:05 – Chisomo:
“It’s one that’s definitely important to spend some time investigating because this is how these systems of oppression impact our everyday life. Coloniality seeks to understand in order to control versus allowing others to express for themselves what it means to be.”
33:10 – Bobby and Chisomo discuss trying not to control the future of the dance or the scene, especially as a white person. As we invite more diverse people into the scene, we need to let go of controlling the outcome of that.
Chisomo – “You are ‘the black person’ and you are going to do ‘the black person thing,’ you know? So it’s very prescribed. People are well-intentioned, but there’s a very prescribed notion of what your role is as the ‘diverse person’ coming in.”
Letting go of the outcome and allowing things to be what they are.
36:40 – Bobby on Lori Taniguchi’s idea: Form your Swarm
“You get a group of people together to bounce ideas off of, to keep the conversation going, and to give you social motivation to help keep yourself thinking about these things.”
38:05 – Chisomo:
“In 2020, we had a collective awareness, which rivaled that of the 1960s. In many ways, it set off the largest global civil rights movement that we’ve ever seen because […] it had a ripple effect throughout the world. Now we’re here in the summer of 21.
What has happened? What are we doing? How are we moving forward and what are we going to say to ourselves in the summer of 22?
I think the notion of ‘form your swarm’ helps people keep themselves accountable and helps to drive conversations forward in an organic way.”
41:50 Vaccine-only events
The only reasonable way to get back to dancing safely and responsibly again is through vaccine-only events.
44:00 – The passing of Zambia’s first president
Chisomo talks about Kenneth Kaunda’s death and why so many African countries mourned him. She also mentions the African concept of “Ubuntu”, which is related to togetherness and unity.
“When we think about the phrase ‘move together,’ the idea is a turn of phrase associated with dancing, but it’s also a turn of phrase associated with moving our society, our community forward, together. When I was asked to do the closing statement, the visionaries behind Move Together really wanted something that would call to this idea of unity. In Zambia, we have this naturally embedded concept of unity through the construct of Ubuntu.”
47:00 – Moving Forward
Chisomo gives some ideas and tips for the people who are asking themselves “What can I do?” in terms of different resources and approaches.
LOTS of quotes were taken from the talk, but there were plenty we left out. Check out this episode to get an overview of the Build Back Better from 2021 and then go watch the video and see what else you can get from it.
Venmo: @bobbyswungover (Put IR in notes)
~ Or by lavishly sharing their work online ~