The title of the work is a reference to a quote in Lucy Bland’s book, Britain’s ‘Brown Babies’ (2019), that reads, “We English girls took to it like ducks to water. No more quick, quick, slow for us. This was living.” Can you explain the significance of this quote and what it is referencing?
The quote references meeting, loving and dancing with black men (specifically black G.I.s) during WWII. The more I read it the more weighted and nuanced it becomes. I think the onus is on this idea of ‘living’… that whiteness feels alive when dancing with blackness. Is this the same when the roles are reversed? And at what cost? When whiteness and blackness are intimate, who comes out alive? Quick, quick, slow is a rhythm that we are all familiar with. no more quick, quick, slow means a change of pace, a reconfiguration, a high hat, an 808… it’s rhythm and blues… it’s blackness.
no more quick, quick, slow was first conceived as part of the Bold Tendencies 2020 summer programme. That summer was a significant time, both in terms of our easing from the first COVID-19 lockdown but crucially the worldwide Black Lives Matter protests. Did the climate of that period influence how you thought about the work, and has this changed with the new iteration for 2021?
The work came about, not only as I was thinking about but being bombarded by performative allyship in the form of black squares and images and slogans and all this (literal) white noise that became more violent than the usual silence black folk are used to. This is when I started ruminating on this word ‘leadership’ because I was so confused by who was steering the ship. It sure didn’t feel like black folk were.
Throughout those heartbreaking moments in 2020, I didn’t encounter a single moment of genuine empathy and love from an ‘ally’ (sadly, nor was I expecting to). ‘DANCE WITH ME’ is the invitation and the call out. ‘LET ME LEAD’ is the opportunity to hand over agency and power. The same goes for this year and the next and the next. Ain’t nothing changed.
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