During the past year and a half, we at iLindy have been doing a lot of listening, learning, and growing. It has not been a comfortable journey, but it has been a necessary one. We are sorry that we’ve been slow to publicly respond to events around the world – we have been working through our thoughts and have been at a loss for words… not because we didn’t believe in the cause, but we realized we had so much internal work to do.
As much as we wanted to quickly pivot and be the people with “all of the answers,” we were clearly out of our depths. As much as it was overwhelming, we didn’t want our guilt to be the driving force behind our decision-making. Rather than staying frozen by our insecurities about getting things right, we’re choosing to start taking action.
We looked at the media we were consuming, worked on diversifying what we were watching, and scanned the room to see who was not represented in our current dance communities. We needed to sit back and actively listen instead of speaking, to find mentors, to attend programs and lectures, and to listen to podcasts that were headlined and produced by Black creators. We attended anti-racism support groups, talked with our community members, and came to understand that we were not honoring Black Culture in the way that we want to, nor its contributions.
Even though it was devastating to come to that realization, we feel it is important to be a part of the solution. We understand that it is critical that we help support a new, more inclusive, more rooted paradigm.
Fortunately for us, it does not solely sit on our shoulders to reimagine the community. Nor does it sit on yours. Since we are all members of this community, it is our privilege to participate in making the scene better. Were we comfortable in the community before the pandemic hit? Yeah, for the most part. But was the marginalized part of our community—the part of our community who these dances belong to—comfortable? Nope.
That is the heart of the issue. We want the community to be a safer, more inclusive, more diverse space. Not because “all white people have done something bad,” but because we have an opportunity to participate in building something new.
Just as we have found a way to social dance whilst people wear masks, don’t rotate as frequently, wash hands more often, get vaccinated, etc., we can use that same energy and commitment to address another major issue in the dance community: the erasure of Lindy Hop’s cultural roots.
To kick off some of the many changes we’re making behind the scenes, let’s begin with our blog. We want to highlight resources we’ve been learning from to build a more inclusive and diverse community. In this simple way, we hope to boost awareness of the excellent work so many others have already created.
We know the internet is a big place and if you’re anything like us, you have plenty of podcasts in the queue and articles that you’ve bookmarked to read later on. Take these as our personal recommendations for what is helping us to build a more holistic understanding of the issues and what can be done about them.
We don’t want to jump the gun on our other projects but know that there are a few more coming. In a series of posts we’ve coined “Shared Brilliance”, we will be boosting the signal of a variety of speakers, educators, and tradition-bearers who we admire. We will begin this series—launching on Monday—by spotlighting the recording of the “Move Together, Build Back Better” panel from June 26, 2021.
We welcome you to join us on this journey. Please know that we will stumble along the way, make mistakes, and will likely miss the mark. As recovering perfectionists, we know it is more important to try and improve than be fearful to move. We hope you’ll join us in reimagining what’s possible for the Lindy Hop Community as we work on Building Back Better.