Greetings, Good Monday Morning Everyone!
I hope that you all are doing well, staying healthy, despite the reasons for our confinement. During this time, I can not say it enough, please take good care of yourselves and each other. Right now, as I type, we are all well aware that there is so much going on in the world that can get you down, and make you feel discouraged. There is enough pessimism in the world to drive us each to negatively spiral out of control into a depression. But, I rebuke that notion and feeling, and I want you to too! With that said, this morning, I'm so excited to talk about a time from my childhood that gave me some inspiration today. I was born in 1980, and I was born during a time when Hip-Hop was emerging within our culture and getting its footing, and when I think of that time of my life, I'm reminded of a man that I was in awe of as a 4 year old. He was larger than life to me, he was incredibly handsome (Of course I crushed on him. Between him, Michael Jackson, and Prince I was a mess😂😜), and he could dance his face off! Today, I want to spend a few moments honoring a childhood legend and hero of mine, arguably an unsung icon of the hip-hop and dance community, and he made me love this dance form, "Break-dancing" in my youth (even though I could not really do it). Today, I want talk about how Aldolfo "Shabba-Doo" Quinones inspired me then and still inspires me now! Without further delay, let's dive into this week's message!
While on #COVID19 home confinement, on Friday night, my husband and I had a very cool and candid conversation, that began with us describing how much we loved the NFL Super Bowl Half-time Show with Shakira and J.LO this year. I, for one, loved Shakira's performance because, as a bellydancer myself, I always appreciate when she incorporates bellydancing into her routines. I especially loved the Soca portion near the end. So of course, this discussion led us to watching the half-time show a few times. Honestly, I don't know how, but this led to us talking about Rosie Perez. We laughed and talked about how her career started, and my husband said, "didn't she start out on 'In Living Color' as a dancer?" Then I said, "I don't know about that, but I DO know that J.Lo started on 'In Living Color', and I also know that before Rosie starred in Spike Lee's 'Do The Right Thing', she was a Soul Train dancer." Before long, we were watching old clips of Soul Train on YouTube, and we found this one video titled, "Top 10 Soul Train Dancers of All-Time" where, Rosie Perez was listed as #10. As the video came to an end it said, "The Winner is...", and it was Aldolfo "Shabba-Doo" Quinones. Seeing his face and watching him dance, all of the memories of my childhood came flooding back. In that moment, I was, 4 year old, "Poohbear" again, watching this brilliant dancer do all kinds of crazy moves with his body, in awe sitting on the floor of my Great-Aunt Janice's house in Elon, NC with my cousin Tiffany, watching the "Breakin'" movies. Let's take a ride folks because, I've officially turned down "memory lane".
"Shabba-Doo" a.k.a. "Ozone" as I remember him, was born in 1955, surprisingly, he and my mother are the same age, and they were both born at a pivotal time in American History for African-Americans. They grew up in a time where there was a movement happening around them. Everyone had a message during that time. They were of the mindset that you must "believe in something or fall for anything." Fast forward, when I was born, along with many children born in the 70's, 80's and early 90's, as the resulting offspring of those young people that grew up during the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War, the same young people that marched for our civil rights, and had a sense of pride in who we are as Black people, and they instilled this spirit and pride within us, their chil. We are BLACK, and we are PROUD! In other words, I am one generation removed from the people that fought for me to live the life that I live today, and I live with the same message of my fist in the air with a distinction of an era of Black Pride within me. I listened to an interview that Mr. Quinones (see the video "American Soul" to the right) did later in life, and he described dancing for them back then was done to be recognized, not necessarily to be "seen", but to be recognized because they had a message to share with the masses. When I heard him say this, I was reminded of "WHY", I write, and it is to inspire my readers and beyond. Shabba-Doo and his crew, "The Lockers" had a message that was visual and impactful! I appreciate that he used his God-given talent of dancing to bring awareness to various plights within Black and Brown communities. He used his talent to uplift us, and he was unapologetic about his passion for "Street Dance". For instance, in the movie, Breakin' 2 one of the messages within the storyline, was to bring awareness around sexism, classism, and gentrification and how it affected our communities, and sought to motivate and inspire our people to take action to save our communities.
When I think back on those movies, they always challenged us, the youth of the time, to believe in ourselves and our abilities, inspired our imaginations to attempt to make the impossible possible, and allowed us to think outside of the box. They were our leaders, and their leading by example showed us that there is a world outside of our communities. They taught us that we must preserve and protect the communities where we come from, and NOT become confined to it. If we allow certain powers that be dictate how we live, where we live, and what we have access to; we run the risk of losing our identities as a people, and rely on those that seek to oppress us rather than become a people that is liberated, and free to make decisions in our own best interests. The 80's is a time in my life that I simply cherish, the Pop Culture of that era, the people, the music, the clothing, and everything about it had an indelible impact on my life. Even now, as I approach yet another milestone in life, reaching age 40, I still find motivation and inspiration in my favorite childhood idols. Back then, I saw Black and Brown communities working together to inspire us through dancing, and women could do anything men could do in the Break-dancing world. They wanted us to remember that we cannot be stopped, and that we can do anything! They were giants of their time.
As I close, I say all of this to say, inspiration can be found everywhere. The legends of our past still have the ability to inspire us in the present, and offer motivation that will carry us forward into the future. I'm inspired today much like I was as a child. I'm so glad that I had amazing role models like Mr. Quinones to look up to growing up, and to be able to still find inspiration from him today is wonderful! With that said, I hope to expose my son to the legends that I've grown up with and love, so that he knows what an icon looks like, and further instill the values that I've learned from their legacy. It is incumbent upon me to uplift the lessons learned through our living legend's messages, and hopefully I inspire future generations through my passion for writing much like Aldolfo "Shabba-Doo" Quinones did for me. He inspired me to love and embrace my creativity, a love for dance, and willingness to share my talents with love to the world. Living and spreading "M.A.I." (M.otivate | A.spire | I.nspire) message into the future! What will be your legacy? The world is waiting and watching...GO...TEAM CAN'T STOP, WON'T STOP!
Peace and God Bless!
Thank you for reading my blog this morning. Hey, do me a favor, if you like or love this post, comment on it. I’d love to hear your feedback. Also, please feel free to share it with your family and friends in the social media universe. I greatly appreciate the support.
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