Resistance Training

Soundtrack for training:

Warm up: Thievery Corporation-Radio Retaliation

Cardio, breathing and focus: Bonobo- Black Sands

Weight lifting: Rebel Diaz-Radical Dilemma

Cool down: Quilomboarte crew- various tracks

Cardio, breathing and focus

As i started to focus my mind at the gym today, i wanted to send out a communiqué to anyone willing to receive it.  i need a space to process, to blog some of my thoughts, lately i have been feeling constrained by the demands of academic writing. i realized this morning that the constraints i feel are exactly the constraints that work to keep voices like mine and so many others silent in the discourse. Institutionalized knowledge is part of the hegemonic apparatus of the coloniality of power. The goal of formalized knowledge is to exclude ways of knowing and systems of knowledge that are in direct oppositions to domination in all its forms.

i have been trying to find my tongue, to gain a voice and to hear more than silence when I open my mouth. i have been thinking, writing and conversing about migrancy and hip hop for what seems like every waking moment since i got to this university, but i am lacking the confidence to unapologetically speak my truth. i have been told for so long that the truth of people i love and of myself does not matter. This is why i shy away from spaces of formalized knowledge. i gravitate towards what subcomandante Marcos refers to as “pockets of resistance”. Hip hop is the cultural manifestation that created this pocket for me. When i use the hashtag #citingthisish, #powerofhiphop #createbeautifulalternatives to communicate and record the various sources of media i will be using in my dissertation, i should know that the knowledge i value is in direct opposition to the institution. And sometimes i am not sure we will reach a point of critical recognition. i believe in the struggle against the totalizing effects of empire, i believe that cultural resistance is the strongest weapon we have against the oppression of coloniality.

Reflection on warming up

During my walk to the gym this morning, i was struggling to give words and meaning to feelings that had been plaguing me for days. Feelings that my experiences are not valid, that my knowledge is somehow less deserving of space. In addition, to these thoughts of inadequacy, i had thoughts from reading Organize! Building from the Local for Global Justice, the Bidna Capoeria project working in Refugee camps of Syria, and the work of quilomboarte in my head, all this was set to the soundtrack of Thievery Corporation. Needless to say being able to quiet my mind, is an ongoing challenge. i blame this inability to focus on the fragmentation of oppression. How can i reconcile parts of me when hegemony denies their very existence? i am reminded of a lesson that i learned, and continue to struggle to put into practice, from organizer training i received from my dear friends at NC3, “Everyone is creative, resourceful and whole”. It is a simple but revolutionary concept, do not apply categories of exclusion to peoples, do not force them to migrate away from our collective humanity, and do not make them “other”. Community organizing and hip hop have been my teachers, they have shaped my worldview, political consciousness and critical analysis. My desire is to produce a work that is not accountable to the institution, but something that adds value and richness to the communities that have housed me, offered me refuge, tended to my wounds with patience, love and respect.

So this mental clarity only took 30 minutes, 15 miles and more sweat than i would like to mention (i am a sweaty person, what can i say!). i forget how much movement influences my ability to think, understand and resist. There are many forms of negative movement, the stagnation felt from the paralyzing anxiety to act, the constant fear of instability that pushes us toward survival mode, the total domination over motility. These are all the tools of the coloniality of power.

However, positive movement exists within us and around us in every moment. Each moment is liminal with possibilities to move us towards one another, critically recognizing our shared vulnerability and collective humanity. Cultural resistance in the form of movement has influence hip hop and hip hop has influenced the movement of the world. Physical resistance rooted in the legacy of black Atlantic traditions and later influenced by physical disciplines from other parts of the earth infiltrated the logic of black and brown resistance movements during what has come to be known as the Civil Rights/Black Power era in the US (but globally 1950s-late70s were marked by various forms of peoples movements and resistance to power). These principles of self-discipline, respect and defense influenced the emergent culture of hip hop in the neighborhoods of the Bronx and Harlem. They helped shaped the physical practices and political consciousness of a movement.

These movements in motion influenced the direction of the cultural expression of hip hop towards community unity and collective resistance. These movements in hip hop took the form of breaking. i love the way the words breaking, Bboy and Bgirl emerge in my mind, even before my mouth forms the shapes to pronounce them. Rose argues that breaking used moves to imitated the rupture in rhythmic continuity which is highlighted in the musical break. From me, breaking connects concepts of fragmentation and marginalization to bodies physically resisting these concepts by the holding of space. The way a Bgirl or Bboy’s face and body dare those in the space to ignore their existence, their resistance to hegemony is formed through love and movement.

-reflections on resistance, move with love.


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