On Teaching Dance

I have dancing in my blood and coquetry in the very marrow of my bones. I come from a long line of crotch on the floor, hype, drenched in sweat, Caribbean, antebellum south dancers! My elders danced at home, in church, on the streets. There was dance everywhere from block parties to Earth day celebrations at Malcolm X park in West Philly. I remember my first year at Garden Spot High School; there was a talent show. I wore a blue and white sheet and danced to an African drum CD. I practiced for weeks! My classmates and teachers were pleasantly surprised. I even joined the Latina sisters merengue and bachata routine. I was the only black person to graduate in my class. The white girls had cheer-leading, so I started my high schools very first dance troupe that I believe still exists today.  Kept Lincoln University’s dance company alive by renaming it Onyx in honor of all of the beautiful blacks that cultivated movement to sounds on campus. I loved teaching. My smile and patience always connected people to me. That was my way of relating to my pupils. Teaching the culture behind the dance first then the moves. We got down to business and never ceased to have FUN! And while my career as Therapeutic Recreation Specialist allows for a fair amount of creativity, art, and movement I have no consistent space to teach dance or movement the way I know how. I’m lucky to still have a space to dance-as a professional member of a respected African dance company and by traveling to take class with other dance company’s around the area. However, I do miss teaching dance. I miss the energy exchange of that.


Celebrate yo song! The fabulous style of Dr. Charlotte Hawkins Brown

“I must sing my song. There may be other songs more beautiful than mine, but I must sing the song God gave me to sing, and I must sing it until death.” —C. H. Brown




Photo 1-Charlotte Hawkins Brown: Age 35, ca. 1918

Photo 2-Charlotte Hawkins Brown in wedding dress, 1912

Photo 3-Charlotte Hawkins Brown: Date unknown

source: http://www.nchistoricsites.org/chb/main.htm



Love-Yo Love


Willfully unafraid. uninhibited. elephant warrior. intimate brown flesh. she lives in a bowl of sunglasses. telepathic. she gaze along side the sun. free in all our movements. shaky movements. embrace body magik. the sky is lucky to have me. jarring exclamation, no-no shame here (put a spell on em)! shutter at the thought of being silenced here. one love-yo love. no stopping her. even in the depth of death. flow. dance. smile-smile-smile-flaunt folds, thick. ambush. body ink and waist beads. clavicles. perky dollops. degenerative bones beneath pretty arms and legs. go ahead tell me how to be black. she will smile polite. then leap like a brave bird. she fly away!-Gracie

Cody ChesnuTT – Full Performance (Live on KEXP)


Cody ChesnuTT performs live from CMJ Union during CMJ 2012. Recorded October 17th, 2012

Til I Met Thee
That’s Still Mama
What Kind Of Cool (Will We Think Of Next)
Love Is More Than A Wedding Day
Everybody’s Brother

Host: Kevin Cole
Audio Engineer: Kevin Suggs
Cameras: Jim Beckmann, Kevin Guinto, Scott Holpainen & Lizzie Seiple
Edits: Scott Holpainen
Lighting Designer: Sarah Abigail Hooke-Brady

“Shrug off your cool. Shrug off the city and get with it”: An intimate look at Cody Chestnutt


It’s been a decade since your last album. What have you been doing?

It was really a matter of just living life, you know? I became a father, and had two children, so that’s quite a change in my life, quite a shift. But it was a shift that I was ready to embrace. I really wanted to get to know what fatherhood was all about and get to know my children. I just took my time and waited for the music to come to me in this new environment. I felt myself heading towards a transition after The Headphone Masterpiece was released. I’d had that material for about two and a half years before the rest of the world heard it, so I was ready to write the next record anyway. I felt like my life was beginning to evolve, and I wanted to embrace that growth and allow myself to gain from the new perspective, and it just happened to take ten years! One day at a time.”