Sunday, April 20, 2008

Step Up

Today, Fish and I went to a spoken word event by the Step Up Women's Network. Normally, I don't go in for these things, but I've been looking for a program that Renee can plug into, and since Step Up works with girls of color, from "under-served communities," all the better.

As expected, their pieces were melodramatic - I don't consider that mean, but truthful. They were unpolished, at best. That may be due to any number of factors, but it's evident that they need a director to step in, or money, or...

That said, I really enjoyed myself. It was good to see these brown girls had found a resource, that they'd been validated in some way. And what their performances lacked in polish, they more than made up for in their charm, and in fact, their stumbling, forgetting of lines, stage fright... all added to the effect. They were, dare I say, all very cute.

But it never fails - amongst all of the voices, one stood out: Cristina Zamora. Afterword, the girls had a meet and greet, and we connected. Cristina, courtesy of South Central, came from the typical South Central scenario, but the eagerness in her eyes, and most of all, the open-mindedness with which she would listen when I spoke, were only confirmation that programs such as these, no matter how embattled they may be, are ultimately worth it if they can pull a young person out of La Vida Loca.

Cristina read "Always Running" by my homeboy, Luis. Hopefully there will be a connection there as well.

She dreams of being an architect, and I told her that if that's the dream, she's in a world class city for architecture. She loves to draw, and it made me think about myself as a boy, how, deep in the hood, art was always there, saving me a million times over.