I look online to see how many other belly dancers are using songs i like to rule out those songs because i don’t want to seem common or copycat. And every time i type in the words “tribal fusion belly dance” or “gothic belly dance” all i get are white girls. Skinny White Girls. SWG’s. I hate them. I know, i know, it’s not always SWG’s, sometimes they are fat, but 99.999% of them are skinny, and 99.999999999% of them are white. Skinny fucking White Girls. As if you don’t have enough. As if you don’t have the movies and the tv shows and the magazine covers and the fashion runways and the music videos and the comic books and the cartoons and the dolls and the porn and the high art and the common art and the novels and the short stories… as if you aren’t already synonymous enough with Beauty itself you have to go and hog up belly dance too. It’s not even yours, it’s not European, alright so fine “Tribal Fusion Belly Dance” is so removed from it’s Middle Eastern/North African roots that it may as well be a different tree altogether but that only makes it worse, as it’s a modern (mostly American) bastard of an art that should belong to all the kinesiologically endowed women who might love it but no, you take up ALL THE STAGES with your pale arms writhing and pale bellies quivering like fucking maggots, sometimes even flinging your straight-as-death hair around [”things that are alive stand up, things that are dead fall down”] to further emphasize your artificially superiour eurocentric beauty and i fucking hate you. I hate that when i go searching for costume ideas and to make sure i’m not copying some other dancer too extensively your colourless faces are the first ones i see, i hate that when i look for inspiration for learning new props they are all held in your toneless fingers, i hate that when i go to shows and look at festival listings most of the names on the rosters as teachers and performers link back to websites with smiling or brooding faces with sharp noses and blue and green and grey eyes and lips overdrawn with liner because you have those weird little thin lips that white girls have and you think no one can see that you drew outside of them like clowns. I hate that you all pick ‘exotic’ sounding names that may really be Arabic or some cheap knockoff thereof; that you so often call yourselves “dark” to mean mysterious and gothic and enchanting and otherworldly but the only fucking dark thing about you is your blood-coloured lipstick and your black flare-leg stretchypants. I hate that a group of Skinny White Girls dared to name themselves after a Goddess of the Haitian Voudun pantheon, and that another group of Skinny White Girls named themselves after a fictional race of negroid people based on the very real East African Kushites and that another group of Skinny White Girls performed to a song by Dutch East African white rap duo who do full-body blackface in their music video. I hate that even though i’m a shameless self-promoter desperate to assemble a cadre of Curvy Black Women to make a belly dance group none of the amazing, beautiful, stylish black women i approach as i make my way around the city are brave enough to join me on my quest. I hate that when i told my white exboyfriend ‘i want to start a belly dance troupe with all black women’ he used his White Person In Relationship With Black Person Stupidity Pass For for that day to say “aren’t you limiting yourself with that”. I hate that there are so few of us CBW’s dancing that i get pushed to tears when i meet another one let alone see her performing. I hate that there aren’t more of us to show the little black girlchildren like the one that came up to me shyly at one of my first performances and even though i was drenched in camouflage netting and black lipstick said “you’re so pretty” that there are many more ways for a CBW to be sensuous and glamourous other than what Beyonce and Nicki Minaj and all the CBW’s content to be objects for the sexual misogyny of black men and the further elevation of SWG’s show them. I hate that i want to show black people that this art can and should belong to us as well with all its peripheral aesthetics like piercings and tattoos and funky hairstyles and ‘tribal’ accessories because even though when i was young and drawn to that and the other black kids said i was “trying to be white”all that stuff is really ours anyway and what the fuck is a SWG doing with dreadlocks fake or real trying to be ‘edgy’ and ‘goth’ and fucking ‘tribal’. I hate that dancing means so much to me and that i have wasted so much time becoming good at it because i so rarely get to share it as a teacher or performer no matter how much i try to promote myself; i hate that because i’m a fucked-up individual the applause that i get when on stage is translated into love in my heart and i crave it because it affirms my beauty and therefore my femininity and therefore me as a woman no matter how much i try to kill that association.
Taking Fine Art at a-level is the best and worst thing that’s ever happened to me. The workload is doing my head in, but I’m amazed at how much I’ve improved & can do without stabbing myself with 2b pencil.