We often distance ourselves from others thinking its a sign of strength. Yet empathizing and putting ourselves in another person’s shoes is a better position. A powerful and humbling position. It takes strength, courage and conviction.
Safi A. Thomas
In the absence of better judgment many often decline the opportunity to wrestle with pangs of conscience and opt for the more palatable short-term nostrum. Thus providing the illusion of decisiveness without the requisite cogitation.
One cannot “break the rules” without knowing them. Also, you don’t break a rule because you subjectively don’t like it, you break it knowing that you have a way which will manifest sustainable, reliable and better results than if said rule was followed. If not then our actions are that of an impetuous malcontent, not of a natural born leader. Leaders know how to follow.
In order for one to accomplish anything of merit, they must be honest about who they are. Our inability to recognize our faults, our weaknesses, and our deficiencies has a debilitating impact on our capacity to succeed. You see, it’s the honesty that provides the leverage. For without it, we end up ill prepared for a variety of unknown variables thinking we can just muscle through, put on a good show or just fake it till we make it. But without proficiency and adaptability we cannot achieve anything substantial.
Emotional “decisions” aren’t decisions at all. A decision is a plan of action rooted in our comprehensive assessment of all actionable intelligence.
Our emotions are often viewed as sacrosanct and inviolable, and we are right to a degree. There is a place for our emotions to lay waste to rational thought and sully the landscape of critical thought with some good old-fashioned irrationality. It keeps the heart pumping. LOL
However, when our emotions are the driving force behind our actions and not the passive observer, we lose the right to say we made a decision. What we made was a knee-jerk impulsive reaction to a perceived set of variables which hit us a certain way and we dressed it in the costume of a decision.
The emperor has no clothes, as they say.
Sometimes when people are saying that you should be “humble,” what they’re really asking is for you to prostrate yourself at the alter of their ego i.e. fealty. Humility is not for the immediate, gratifying, external benefit of others. It is a lifestyle of consciousness, self-reflection, empathy, self respect and self love that emanates outward towards others. It looks different on everyone. If a comprehensive, disciplined and empathetic approach is at your core then humility is a given. The outward machinations that people look for as proof of humility is really theater and bends more towards fealty than being humble.
Just because people have participated in your artform in spite of being ostracized does not infer that your artform is “inclusive.” Inclusivity must be an active process that is rooted in empathy, understanding and honesty, not happenstance masquerading as ubiquity.
Human beings are purposely unaware of the ways in which they discount and even excoriate change.
Someone will say something and our response will be, “You used to say THAT now you’re saying THIS. You’re a hypocrite!”
The reason why they are saying THIS now is because they have grown. You met them at one stage of their intellectual, emotional and spiritual development, now they are at a different stage. They have learned something new, experienced more, sought more and it shifted their perspective. Now you are meeting them at the apex of that new perspective and they are sharing it.
Instead of living in their past, live in their present and acknowledge their growth. Reference the past only as a marker for the expanse of that growth not to propel them backwards just because you remember them differently.
I don’t think that we are here to necessarily limit our service to a ‘select’ group of others. But we are here to learn and share with anyone who enters our sphere of existence.
It is not within our purview to judge who is deserving or undeserving of our knowledge, love, care, understanding, empathy or help. Our goals will be met, our destination will be reached. We don’t have to limit the scope of our sharing to do so. That is a form of commodification and rationing. We cannot and should not ration that which is in infinite abundance within us.
I know that sounds absolutely crazy within the current societal framework, but if we shifted our understanding towards one that saw ourselves as infinitely abundant, —instead of needing to ration and horde only giving out our love, respect, “time” etc. to those who “deserve” it— we could move mountains. Mountains of jealousy, anger, frustration, disappointment, ingratitude, envy, betrayal, disrespect, et al.
Part 1 of The Hip-Hop Dance Conservatory’s #ThinkSmartLoveFree project. Talking about the negative aspects of what we call manufactured love. Things we say which disempower us and lead us down a path towards a lack of self identity and empowerment. The purpose is to spur dialogue and reflection. Enjoy! And stay tuned for Part 2 TRUE LOVE!!!
Here is the Tumblr post that inspired the project:
Music: The amazing Berkley band Waterstrider singing a cover of Little Dragon’s “Twice”
Make Up Art: Natanya Wilson
Follow Waterstrider @
Follow Little Dragon @
The communication dialogue has been hijacked by rhetoric about persuasion. In school, business, relationships etc. Yet true communication is not about persuasion and getting what you want. It is about fostering mutual discourse. Listening to others and finding a way to meet the needs of both parties or even sometimes reevaluate our needs based on new perspectives presented or information provided. Staunch resistance is not communicating. Trying to get confirmation for your thoughts is not communicating. The willingness and openness to navigate the sea of discourse with honor, empathy, respect, integrity and most of all…LOVE will yield better results than resistance, stubbornness and selfcenteredness.
Safi A. Thomas
As men of color we need to stop perpetuating this virgin/whore dichotomy by debasing women of color for expressing their sexuality and shaming them as if they’re wrong for that expression. By doing so we are complicit in their oppression. We become sub-oppressors. These puerile ideas about sexuality are fed by the patriarchal system we come up within. Many of which are ideas that stem from the Victorian age in the 19th century. We’re holding onto and proliferating an ideology that is not even of our cultural belief or heritage. Get your mind right!
Safi A. Thomas
Is what you’re doing today out of love or out of spite?
Do you engage people with humility and honor, or do you just seek to be on top?
On top of what exactly? Who are you trying to be better than?
The way people rationalize competing with others is pathetic. If you are truly trying to be better than the dancer or person you were yesterday, then it can be done without comparison to someone else. If you are talking about how wack someone else is and how much “better” you are, then you’re competing. Competition is for the insecure. And the perpetuation of competition is promulgated by the insecure. If you are secure in who you are you don’t need to compete with others.
If you are secure in who you are, you don’t care when someone “bites” your move you did 20 years ago.
If you’re secure in who you are, you teach others EVERYTHING you know, you hold nothing back in fear of them becoming better than you.
If you are secure in who you are, you relish in the fact that they may surpass you.
If you’re secure in who you are, you welcome ALL people into your circle, good dancers, poor dancers, gay dancers, female dancers, trans dancers, different dancers.
If you’re secure in who you are, then every action you take is one of love; love for yourself and love for your community.
If what we do truly emanates from a place of love then there is no need to compete with our fellow man, woman, dancer. We honor his/her life by improving our own. Let’s build a new community infrastructure that is not about exclusion and competition but is about growth, learning and love.
Dear Dancers: Don’t play supplicant to the merry band of self-absorbed older dancers who wish for you to prostrate yourself at the alter of their bloviated egos. Find mentors that see you as the future and treat you as such. Men and women who value your contribution to the diaspora and seek to help you reveal what’s within you, not inject you with their biases and traditions which are presented as universal truths and foundations.
There are a minority of people out there who are not in it for themselves, but are in it for the culture and for the art and for YOU. Find them, learn from them.
Get out of the studio and into the jams.
Get out of the jams and into the library.
Get out of the library and back into the studio.
Hone ALL aspects; intellectual, physical and spiritual.
Stop competing with other dancers. They are not your enemy. They are fellow travelers who are on a journey. Welcome them, because their journey does not interfere with yours. Share your knowledge, what you’ve learned on your journey and they may be compelled to do the same.
Our community needs a paradigm shift. Be that shift. Respect, higher education, honor, discipline, critical thinking, knowledge, fidelity, passion et al; let these be the the cornerstones of your growth and advancement as dancers. Not competitions and sycophantism.
Be the change you have always sought. You have it in you already.
Much love to you all.