Musicians-Aid Society

Heidi Me Ezekiel

Last Thursday I had the opportunity to join my boss, Heidi Hynes, her family and Ezekiel and his mother on a cruise!

It was a cruise on The Jewel that headed south along the East River and passed underneath the 3 major bridges (Williamsburg, Manhattan and Brooklyn), then it continued to cruise through the New York harbor to the Statue of Liberty. Then the Jewel turned around and made the same trip again in reverse.

The purpose was to raise money for the Musicians-Aid Society which is the same society that sends musicians to the Mary Mitchell Center.

I originally told the piano player, Patrick McLellan, that I wasn’t going but I am glad I changed my mind. Even though it rained most of the night, it was a great experience. I got to meet wonderful people (which you will see in the photos) and even got to hear the great  saxophonist Charles Neville live (from the Neville Brothers) and heard his son, Kelif, play a mean piano.

Here I am smiling with Ezekiel and Heidi.

Rokafella: The Story of a Female Break Dancer

Last weekend I had the privilege of meeting female Break Dancer, Rokafella, in East Harlem. I met her at a meet and greet hosted by Momma’s Hip-Hop Kitchen.

I am not into Break Dancing but was interested in her story of how she became a female Break Dancer during a time when it was strictly for the fella’s  and how she had enough stamina to actually keep it up until today.

This is the story she told me:

My name is ‘Rokafella’ because I seriously used to ‘rock the fellas’ back in the day. I used to show the guys that women could Break Dance too. I used to spin on my head and everything…I started Break Dancing in 1994. I danced all types of styles; Hip-Hop, House, Salsa, and African. I felt Break Dancing was missing so I started to Break Dance. Even though I danced all those genres, I am known for my Break Dancing.

I came up against misogyny and the gender thing. The better I got at my craft, the more people were resistant to hiring me. I had this determination to continue because I was capable of continuing my training. The more I trained, the more determined I became. 

My parents were not really supportive of me Break-Dancing because they saw me struggling; and you know, parents don’t like watching their children struggle…

It was in Manhattan where I trained. I was in an all guy group. One of the guys from the group is my husband today.

Today, I am still dancing. Along with my husband, Kwikstep, I founded a dance company name Full Circle. It is a dance organization that preserves Break-Dancing and other Hip-Hop dance forms. 

This year Rokafella will be performing at Teatro Pregones Theater with her husband, Kwikstep. They will be sharing their love story with the world on stage on Thursday, February 14 at 7pm. If you are in the Bronx and are looking for something different to do on this Valentine’s Day, I would encourage you to attend Rokafella’s show.

Rokafella and students from Full Circle will be performing at Hosto’s Community College March 2. This is their fifth year being apart of Momma’s Hip- Hop Kitchen’s program.

Rok- da- Bridge

Photo Credit: Yu Wadee

My Time Off

Until Then

Until Then

This month I am suppose to be in Italy; however, I am still in New York because I did not raise enough money to participate in the trip. I did not want to take out a loan to travel. If God wanted me to go abroad he would have provided. It is not like I didn’t try to go. I did. I fund raised by lobbying and selling candies. I even won a scholarship that paid for some of my way! This still was not enough.

I had dreams every night about how my trip in Italy will turn out:

I get there and met a family of three. Parents and a little child. They are looking for a baby- sitter and find out that I am excellent with children. The only problem is I cannot speak Italian and they cannot understand English.  However, there is a translator there- miraculously- and he translates for us. I will work in turn for room and board.

So, I continue to take the class that the school is offering until the course is over. Instead of going back to America, I stay in Italy with the Italian Family. The mother is a clothing designer and the father is a store owner. The mother realizes that I like to put outfits together and begins to use me as a model. I can rock certain clothing really well i.e hats, long skirts and dresses. And this is what I advertise for her.

Now during my time off I dream of traveling in America.