That Party Felt Like Freedom To Me
Words by: Greg Osei
My friend Abdiel invited me to Soul In The Horn for New Years Eve, and as I took in the light and joy that surrounded me that night, I leaned over to Abdiel and said,
“…that party felt like freedom to me“.
It offered visions of the world we long for. Freedom, flow, the future. A space where everything came together. Salsa, house music, disco, soul, dancehall, gospel. Gay, straight, queer, male, female, nonbinary, black, white, brown. Fabulous, unique looks and dance forms of all sorts.
It wasn’t just the coexistence of all those things that made it feel like a free flowing future. It was the beautiful encounter between them (‘cause if there’s one thing the USA teaches you, it’s that coexistence does not necessarily mean beautiful encounter…not even tolerance does, not even desire).
I could watch a b-boy love on the moves of a ballroom dancer or a tap dancer. I could witness the exuberance of genuine human connection as a straight man and a gay man both lead and followed each other in an exquisite partner dance. I could see strangers dance with strangers and feel safe, even protected. I could watch a salsero find his moves in a hip hop beat. And I could see that everything I was told didn’t go together did and the categories I was taught to believe in were really just suggestions and approximations, not realities.
This is what life is when we just let it be, who we are when we just let ourselves be. Infinite possibility and delicious flow. Present. This is the world I dream of. Where everything is everything and nothing is anything, at least not always. Where “both/and” (actually “yes and yes and yes and maybe that too”) reigns supreme and “either/or” fades. Where binaries are no longer chains but one of an endless selection of outfits we don when the spirit moves us. Where we’re so willing to be surprised by life that nothing surprises us. And everything does.
This is what I hope my music, my art, my life, our lives will help us create. More of this please. 2023
Ronald Jemal Wilson Photography