The MSG Halftime Show That Never Was
We have a story to tell. Please take a moment to experience it.
Videos of this performance, along with bystander accounts, have already been forcibly taken down. However, the more they try to silence is, they stronger our message becomes.
On July 17th, with help of co-choreographer Lara Duncan, my dance FAMILY set out to perform at MSG as part of the New York Liberty half-time show. We worked hard - trained & rehearsed for 2.5 months. I never sought out to create a piece with politicized or divisive message. I just wanted to create a piece, that while entertaining, represented #empowerment and #unity and stood for everyone who has ever struggled against #injustice. The piece far pre-dated the recent tragedies that have shook all of us, and to date, was always met with resounding positivity and never any controversy. However, as the tragedies mounted in the days leading up to our performance, it seemed destined and appropriate that we should perform this piece at the 'World's Most Famous Arena".
Then, MSG's powers that be decided, without our knowledge, that they were going to cut the part that had MJ's "They Don't Care About Us" mid-performance. They left our dancers standing, mid court, during half-time as thousands watched our hearts break, slowly. They did so without hesitation or consideration. We went backstage, in tears, without the ability to contain our disbelief and sadness. Disrespectful. Reprehensible. Embarrassing. Unacceptable.
They stopped our music to silence our message, but that very silence made our message louder. Through the tears and frustration, we became the embodiment of #empowerment, #unity and #injustice. We were more determined than ever to get off the mat and perform. We owed it to ourselves, to our families and to everyone that this piece represented. After forcing the management to stand and face all 56 of us, they realized they could not silence us with prepared apologies (#attheendoftheday...). We were not going to leave until we got onto the court and they, begrudgingly, allowed us to perform at the end of the game.
What resulted was one of the most emotional performances I've ever seen. After watching us perform the full piece, and seeing what happened at half-time, the crowd all saw what MSG had done and were appalled as indicated by the feedback I got from total strangers. MSG tried to embarrass us and destroy our message - but they only embarrassed themselves and made our message more clear than we could ever have hoped for.
What Madison Square Garden did was deplorable. They chose to serve their corporate interests and agendas over doing what was right (and not to mention, agreed upon). I was angry, and I still am. However, I will not let my anger get the better of me. We will continue to perform with our hearts, uninhibited. We will stand together, as a family. We will not become the very thing we fight against. We won't let hate win. We'll stand hand in hand, black and white, gay and straight, religious and non-religious, with our head up high as one brother/sisterhood of mankind for #unity, #justice and #love for all of us.
That's what this piece was about.
That's what it always was about.
That is what we stand for.
Love you all, very much.