DYBRKR Week in NYC

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DYBRKR. A morning party started a year ago by Radha Agrawal and Matt Brimer in NYC. 6am Yoga, followed by dancing in a club to live music and a DJ from 7-9am. Every party closes with a ceremony that includes setting an intention and sharing some words of wisdom. New religion style. Sponsored green juice and coffee and fruit bars.

I played the Wednesday of Daybreaker Week in NYC at the Highline Ballroom alongside a roster of 20 other performers. We had DJ Erica Rhone, a drumline, a brass band, myself and another percussionist named Caleb, an MC and dancers. My mom came!!! Key NYC besties came!! 800 people were in the audience!!!

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I learned so much from this morning. I learned that humans love solidarity, to not feel like they are the only one, to feel like they can do something wild but in the safety of the collective. To be able to dance with no expectation of having to get drunk, or to go home with someone, or to miss out by not staying out till 3am. To feel like experiencing live music is not synonymous with a late night or a hangover. It was such an inspiring, nourishing memory to get sweaty in this weird little world we all created together for 2 hours in the morning before real life kicked in. The darkness of the Highline Ballroom enabled so much looseness to happen – an experience that I spoke about later that morning.

By 8:45am, everyone was asked to take a seat while Miki, Radha’s twin sister, shared some stories about how having a period restricts so many women around the world from achieving their dreams. She explained that we “won the lottery of life”, and that THINX, her company, aims to serve women and girls not only in our society but also around the world who don’t have access to tampons and pads. I had never heard these stories before. I resonated with her mission deeply.

After Miki spoke, I was asked to share a few words and perform. I spoke about staying loose – something we are taught often as drummers – and applying this concept to life. That morning we had all worked so hard together to get loose in that ballroom, but we had to remember to carry that through our day. To remember that if someone has burned us in the past, to not carry this forward to other new interactions we experience. To not hold the tightness of the past as we move forward into the future. I shared something my mom taught me, “we apply permanent problems to temporary solutions”, because to me this was the source of our tightness. In doing this, we often are less open to receiving new experiences, people and ideas. But we have to, in order to keep growing, nourishing ourselves and improving our respective communities.

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I went on to introduce dance prodigy Derek Auguste, who dances for FKA Twigs. He wore the matching gold skirt to the gold jacket I had been wearing all morning and joined me on stage.

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I started with some Brazilian beats, then we went on to call and response and then we finished with a freestyle solo on bongos.

He dipped.

9am on a Wednesday!

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