Slam Poetry – “Slay”

Hi all,

I came across this piece today and the way the poet talks about dance/music reminds me of Morrison’s Jazz.

The piece opens with the introduction of Rosie Perez “tear[ing] up the dance floor on Soul Train and becom[ing] your patron saint of slay.”  The article I’ve linked to her name explains: “[Perez] got her start dancing after being spotted dancing at clubs in Los Angeles and was asked to go on “Soul Train.” But the show’s creator and host Don Cornelius was critical of her moves and her looks. […] She almost didn’t get the part in “White Men Can’t Jump,” because the studio had an issue with her ethnicity [and] Perez refused to take on stereotypical Latina roles.”

According to the slam poet, Jackson, Perez recreated her own dance style even though they didn’t like it on the show.  This transitions to Jackson discussing how he feels he needs to “recreate” himself in order to survive white supremacy.  But he doesn’t want to change who he is just because others don’t like him because of his race:  “This body came with some hips, came with some funk.  Came with the subtle jolts of lightning we later call thought. […]  Ain’t we already hip deep in our root?   […] Some days my favorite invocation is Rosie laughing in everybody’s face.  Rosie, swerving hell on the oppressors dance floor. […] Who say I gave up my origin? Who say when I dance I ain’t raising my own heart from the floor?”

Jackson compares himself to Perez in saying that you should claim who you are, and be proud of who you are, no matter what others think.

What do you all think?  How does this relate to Jazz or other Morrison novels?



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