Finding Africa in Minnesota

I have always had some nervousness about not being able to fulfill some of what appears to be sterotypes in the Black community. Black people are suppose to have rhythm, be able to dance and drum. I can’t really do either and this has always created a lot of pressure on me. And then came Yemaya; oh boy.

I have always held myself back from picking up a drum and jammin, even though I know this is one of the preferred ways of working with Yemaya, through the sound of music. This fear of not being able to do it, not knowing how and being afraid of how that might translate to others was debilitating and it stopped me from even trying. I have never participated in a drum circle or even tried to drum. After a guided meditation where I connected with the all mother, it became clear that I need to let go and allow myself to move outside of my comfort and connect with Yemaya in other ways.

And then came a new friend, Nels Linde from Hawk Studios, who took me to grab a drum and come to drum class. And I did. The rhythmic vibrations were exhilarating and overwhelming to the senses. I was drumming and it was a miraculous feeling that was full of excitement and disbelief. I have put it off for so long and could not believe that I was moving beyond that fear finally.

What I realized in the days to come was that I had learned so much from myself in the process of picking up a drum and pounding out my desires with my hand on the leather top. I was not only a daughter of Yemaya but I was also the embodiment of what it means to be a Black woman here on earth. It didn’t matter if I had the perfect rhythm or if I was the best drummer. It didn’t even matter if I was super experienced or had no experience at all. In the end it was me, my drum, with my friends, celebrating divinity in the middle of the Oak Grove in Minnesota. MINNESOTA!!! I found Africa in Minnesota, in the middle of a festival, with mostly non-ethnic people.

It just shows that you can find the Gods everywhere, you can connect with pieces of yourself no matter how stubborn or scared you are and you will find the answers in the most unlikely places. Thank the Gods for this lesson and for those who helped me learn it.

  • http://nkyinkyin.dreamwidth.org Nkyinkyin

    I’m not a very good dancer at all; I’m very awkward and spacial awareness is not my friend! It’s irritating that folks expect you to be the best dancer in the room just because you’re the only Black person in the room. I use music a lot, though, and I’ve always wanted to drum. I’m very glad you had the opportunity and it was a good experience.

    Also? I’m really enjoying this blog. Thanks.

    • http://www.facebook.com/RevCrystal.Blanton Crystal Blanton

      I am so glad to know that others relate to the societal pressures and although it is different for each of us, it is also very much the same.  Thanks for posting and I am so glad you are enjoying the blog.  Many blessings.

  • http://nkyinkyin.dreamwidth.org Nkyinkyin

    I’m not a very good dancer at all; I’m very awkward and spacial awareness is not my friend! It’s irritating that folks expect you to be the best dancer in the room just because you’re the only Black person in the room. I use music a lot, though, and I’ve always wanted to drum. I’m very glad you had the opportunity and it was a good experience.

    Also? I’m really enjoying this blog. Thanks.

    • http://www.facebook.com/RevCrystal.Blanton Crystal Blanton

      I am so glad to know that others relate to the societal pressures and although it is different for each of us, it is also very much the same.  Thanks for posting and I am so glad you are enjoying the blog.  Many blessings.

  • Cara

    Glad the Norwegians and Germana nd Swedes were able to help!  I think it was the bratburger that worked its magic on you.

    • http://www.facebook.com/RevCrystal.Blanton Crystal Blanton

      Ah yes…. the bratburger and it’s drumming magic!

  • Cara

    Glad the Norwegians and Germana nd Swedes were able to help!  I think it was the bratburger that worked its magic on you.

    • http://www.facebook.com/RevCrystal.Blanton Crystal Blanton

      Ah yes…. the bratburger and it’s drumming magic!

  • http://www.blackpagan.com blackpagan

    I felt such a wave of empathy for you reading this. I’m glad you had that experience. I have always had good rhythm and could dance all right but I know the feeling of feeling in other ways that you don’t quite measure up to the tribal group expectations. May you continue to find healing on your drum, with the help of mama Yemaya.

    You might appreciate this episode of the web series “Misadventures of Awkard Black Girl” where our protagonist, the awkward black girl, is fretting because her crush has invited her to a birthday party and she’s afraid to dance in public. Check it out if you have a minute and want a laugh:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iKFQ8skCCS0&feature=relmfu

    • http://www.facebook.com/RevCrystal.Blanton Crystal Blanton

      Thanks for posting!  You know, it is not that I don’t have rhythm, I think it was more the pressure of it than anything.  And thanks for the link!!  Many blessings to you!!

  • http://www.blackpagan.com blackpagan

    I felt such a wave of empathy for you reading this. I’m glad you had that experience. I have always had good rhythm and could dance all right but I know the feeling of feeling in other ways that you don’t quite measure up to the tribal group expectations. May you continue to find healing on your drum, with the help of mama Yemaya.

    You might appreciate this episode of the web series “Misadventures of Awkard Black Girl” where our protagonist, the awkward black girl, is fretting because her crush has invited her to a birthday party and she’s afraid to dance in public. Check it out if you have a minute and want a laugh:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iKFQ8skCCS0&feature=relmfu

    • http://www.facebook.com/RevCrystal.Blanton Crystal Blanton

      Thanks for posting!  You know, it is not that I don’t have rhythm, I think it was more the pressure of it than anything.  And thanks for the link!!  Many blessings to you!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=548883612 Flame Bridesdottir

    I can’t cornrow, and I couldn’t fry chicken for the longest time. And I have no ass. Well, ever since I perfected the chicken thing my ass has grown, but still.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=548883612 Flame Bridesdottir

    I can’t cornrow, and I couldn’t fry chicken for the longest time. And I have no ass. Well, ever since I perfected the chicken thing my ass has grown, but still.


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