Sunday, March 04, 2012

Stomp Wars Youth Steppin’ Competition 2012 in Dallas was Steppendous!

Stomp Wars Youth Steppin’ Competition 2012 in Dallas was Step-pendous!

Yes. I really enjoy being in the audience of my very first stomp wars youth competition last night. I enjoyed being around our youth in a fun-filled, energetic, positive atmosphere. It is not very often that the media portrays black youth in a positive light. Of course, I am not one who has ever allowed this American media to dictate me to what’s up with our youth. Anyway, the evening started off at a little after 5pm with a panel discussion on bullying, family values, the importance of education and the importance on being a leader. Let’s see. A 40 year old marine spoke about the importance of being a leader from a marine’s perspective. He was pretty cool. Very straight laced and stiff in his presentation, but the information was valuable. I think that the more than a thousand young people in attendance gained a lot from what he had to say.

The mayor of Dallas, an old white guy by the name of Mike Rawlins, spoke on family values. I know, right? LOL! I am still chuckling over that one. Ok, next your very own, crowned, Miss Texas spoke on bullying. She shared a couple of sad stories about two kids (obviously white) who committed suicide because of supposedly being bullied at school. There was a fourth person on the panel who was supposed to get up speak and on education and how one can make money the right way by way of getting a college education, which she did eventually after Miss Texas finally got off her bully pull-pit with her stories of how she met President Obama and how she plans to take her fight to congress to end bullying. Yes. She went on and on and on and on and on…….Well, you get the picture. I was just waiting for her tell the judges, I mean the youth in attendance just how if crowned Miss Bully America, she would bring about world peace. LOL! Man, it was torture.

During the question and answer period I told her and the audience what I thought about her bully proposal. I simple said. “I don’t get it.” “I grew up in the hood.” “There were gay students in our ‘hood’ schools, but I can’t recall any of them running home scared or committing suicide because they were made fun of because they were gay.” “The gay kids in my school, stood up for themselves.” You only made fun of them one time. That was it. “We all had to stand up to our bully if we had one.” “When I had a bully, I had a brother, cousins, sisters, a mother and friends to help handle that.” “We never had a long time bully.” “We took care of the bully right then and there!” As I was speaking, I could hear coming from the audience filled with youth and parents who currently live in the hoods of Dallas and Fort Worth, “That’s right!” “You said that!” “Me either!” “Uhh-Huhh,” which was quickly followed by a round of applause. I ended my comments by saying to Miss Texas, “I think your proposal is precious, but what’s up with the parenting these days?”

So, now the on to the competition. At 6:30pm the show got on the road. First, let me say this. It is true that I have not been a huge fan or admirer of so-called Black Greek lettered organizations in the past and for very good reasons. That is another totally different blog. However, I still feel the very same way about these organizations today. I knew back then that the steppin’ had nothing to do with Greekdom. It is all Afrikan baby! The rhythms, the calculated movements, the timing and the soul came from a great people. This is how I was able to even attend and enjoy the Greek show performances back then. I knew I was not witnessing Greeks on stage. I was witnessing Afrikan greatness on stage. Last night, I witnessed the same Afrikan greatness. Sadly, many of those high school kids on stage will go off to college to pledge a Black Greek organization, to feel some semblance of their greatness when all they will have to do is read their history and learn that their greatness comes in a much larger portion than just a semblance.

Now, on to the stepping completion. The first all male act set the stage to what would become a night of action-packed stepping routines that were worthy of being compared to some of the great step-shows that I had the pleasure of witnessing while a student at Grambling State University back in the day. I could see the Alphas of 91’ 92’ and 93’ up there on stage. These young people had the very precision, style and the discipline of a college level step squad. I could see the 92’ and 93’ AKAs up there as well as the 92’ Zetas. These kids did there thing. I remember standing up to applaud and cheer for two of the acts that I thought were just awesome. I genuinely enjoyed seeing our young peoples’ stars shine so brightly last night. However, there were some unusual things that I did notice in the performances last night which was a common theme. First, there was the over dramatization used the speaking parts that each group did during their performances. The extra yelling and the wild jerking of head and shoulders as they would speak their lines kind of threw me for a loop. I don’t recall this drama being a part of a step routine back in college. Hey, maybe it’s the new thing in youth steppin’.

The second thing I noticed was the appearance of a requirement to have some length of hair. I mean even some of the boys had hair (hot iron pressed or locs) to thrust back and forth, which I guess was to add more accent to the movements on stage. Uhh, ok. I guess I can go along with that. While I am at it, I may as well add a third thing I noticed in the performances. There were quite a few, shall I say, ‘soft’ young brothaz on stage. They were good. They were entertaining. However, the impact of fatherlessness on single female headed households just kept going through my mind as I was sitting there checking out many of the performances. Anyway, I guess that’s neither here nor there. Wait. I heard boys in the audience yell up at the stage to other boys and girls who were performing, “You betta work!” I even heard a father who sat behind me say, “You better work, son!” Damn! It is like that now!? Can, presumably heterosexual boys and straight men can say, “You betta work!” to other boys and men? WOW!

Now, this is the action that was on stage. Look, if you ever want to hear some of the funniest comments from an audience or learn any new dances that are out among the youth today, last night at the step competition was the place to be. A deejay from one of the popular hip-hop stations here in Dallas was the music MC for the night. I got my ‘Dougie’ on. I did the south Dallas swag, and bobbed my head as I witnessed the many youngsters in the venue wrecking the place with dance moves that peeps over 40 (like me) should only just bob their heads in amusement. My knees or my back could not handle the very rapid, intense and fierce body movements that those kids displayed as the deejay played the best of their favorite songs between each step act. The music MC did pay tribute to us older heads in the audience with a few hits from back in the day from Frankie Beverly and Maze, BBD, and Doug E. Fresh just name a few.

I left the event feeling pretty good. I felt energized. I felt good about “the cause” even more so than usual. I left the event realizing that since moving to Dallas a little over three years ago, I have not been involved in any youth oriented causes. All I have done is chase a dollar during the week and a few skirts on the weekends since I have been here. When I lived in Memphis, I was always involved with the youth in my community because I knew the need and I saw the need every day. Last night helped me to realize that I can chase a dollar, chase a few skirts, and work with the youth here in Dallas, my new home. I know there is a need. I have seen the need. Now it is time to go where I am needed.

Many thanks to the Rock T. Youth Foundation, Rock T. and the supporters of such a wonderful cause for such an amazing event. I have been inspired to get involved right here in Dallas.

For information on the Rock T. Youth Foundation and Stomp Wars go to..

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