Jan 28th, 2017, I slid down to peep Los be Los the Most (Los is short for Carlos – DOJO Co-Founder) MC the #UnitedCityHeights event. I was privileged enough to have the time to be part of something bigger than me. Little did I know it was going to be the start of something… The art of something… The art of activating a community in a way that helps and empowers the people in it.
The day for me kicked off with words of respect for the natives whose land we all were occupying. Yes, the rich aroma of mindfulness was in full bloom and it pollinated our ears with the truth. Native and traditional dances were showcased, kids looked on curiously, and the vendors, local businesses and resources, shared the various ways in which they are there to support the community.
And on breaks, rocking the saber-truth blue StaySmilinLife hat, Los and Co-MC Sarah thanked groups, hyped diversity, and introduced us to a number of local and international talent that was to come. King of Kings, each of whom arrived within a year from various parts of Africa, had the crowd’s attention as they did there thaaaaang. Watching them from the crowd inspired me to want to get out there to dance. And later while having an awesome conversation with one of the women from the United Women of East Africa organization, Los did it…. But I wasn’t sure… I even asked the woman I was talking with, “Did he just say that…? Did he just ask who wants to battle him..?” She laughed and I looked down at my fractured ankle like, “you better not make a fool out of me later.”
After the program was done, Los had the music play on. And then it started crackin… Los started giggin’ and getting loose, then I started getting loose, and then the DJ started to get loose. The volume went back up and just like that the function was crackin’ like chapped lips. We started to invite people, kids, and whoever was willing to dance and just like that people began to gather around and join in… though the “program” was over, the true art began…
Over break beats, multicultural feet and smiles hipped and hopped to the funky freshness of diversity. Organic and rooted in positivity, the vibe dug a groove in soul city that day at the lot on 44. Melanie spoke, my soul turned, Los turned it back, and now the logo reads “The DOJO… Coffee Culture Community…”