"Switch It Up" is a Cocoa Fly series encouraging women to step out of the box and think out of the box in their social lives.
"People don't dance no mo' all they do is this..."
It's Saturday night. Hair and nails looking fly? Check. Outfit is fierce? Check. Ashy skin lotioned up? Check. You meet up with your girls at the club and they're looking hot too. You hand the cashier $20 to get in. The bouncer stamps your hand and you shoot straight for the bar.
"Lemon Drop please," you tell the bar tender.
Oh, hold up. The DJ is playing your song.
Only rapper to rewrite history without a pen,
No ID on the track let the story begin, begin, begin
This is anti autotune, death of the ringtone...
"Oooh, girl I'm loving this Jay Z joint."
There are hella females in the spot and not too many dudes. So you dance with your girls, for the next few songs. You spot a cutie but hands off, he's with a date. The other guys on the floor have dance partners. A few more dudes trickle in, but they don't ask any women to dance. Those guys form a circle and dance with each other. Bobbing their heads to the beat and busting out a few moves. They'll give each other fist pounds if someone in the group does a really, cool move. Hmmmm, why would a group of men dance in a circle with each other and not other women? You and 50 other women sit against the club walls waiting for someone to ask you to dance. Hopefully, you'll get to do some Chicago Steppin' with at least one guy tonight. Maybe there's someone at the bar? You wait, and wait, then rock to the music in your seat. If you're lucky maybe two or three guys will ask you to dance tonight. Otherwise, you check your cellphone constantly for the time and text your friends at home that they weren't missing anything tonight because the sh*t is whack. Or you lie and tell them it was off the chain and they should have been there. Then you turn to your girls and start people watching. That gets old quick. The DJ throws on a slow jam and announces last call for alcohol. Once again you've wasted your time and money going to a dance club just to sit. You and your girls decide to leave. Now it's time for the best part of the night, IHOP.
This ladies and gents is my beef with SOME black clubs in Southern California. The male/female ratio sucks and a lot of the guys don't want to dance. I still don't know what' s up with the dudes dancing in circles. Next time I'll give them a Wendy Williams, "How you doin'?" The story is different when I party at majority black clubs in places like New York, Atlanta or Chicago. The men outside of So. Cal have a different swagger. Brothas there are constantly asking me to dance. By the end of the night my clothes are soaked in sweat and my feet are throbbing. But I could run a marathon after "dancing" in some So. Cal black clubs. I remember asking this one brotha why the guys out here don't ask girls to dance. He immediately answered, "Because you're supposed to ask us." Well, guess what I decided to do? That's right, I Switched. It. Up!
In my college days there was no way in the world I would roll to a club that wasn't mostly black. That was mainly because back then the diverse spots hardly played hip hop music. My thinking changed in grad school. I began hanging out with various people and we partied in Santa Monica, Hollywood, Redondo Beach, etc. These places were racially mixed and the men asked me to dance. Brothas, Latinos, Asian, white etc. they all asked me to dance. Since hip hop is popular now, the DJs in the diverse clubs played the same songs I hear in the black clubs. Don't tell anyone but, those spots are cheaper than the black spots. Many times I don't pay an entrance fee.
I haven't totally abandoned black clubs in So. Cal. It's just rare when I go to any. Some of my friends didn't agree with my change in venue. After I convinced them to come with me, they've had a change of heart. Others are still sitting against the club walls texting folks.
I'm not telling people to stop dancing at black clubs. I'm just sharing how I challenged myself to go outside of my comfort zone for some fun. That's what the "Switch It Up" series is all about. As for you Cocoa Fly reader, learn new dances. Go to a salsa club with your friends. If you don't know how to salsa, TRUST ME, the men there will be more than happy to show you. Shout out to Mango's in Miami Beach. We don't always have to drop it like it's hot to have fun. Also try learning African dance, jazz, belly dancing even ballroom dancing. Explore different rhythms and ways your body can move to music. Switch it up!
Photo by Malick Sidibe