When I was a kid, my papa used to sit in his reading room, reading the newspaper and watching day time soap operas. I was always bored with them until it was time for Chips to come on. Ponch and Jon were the coolest. But, one soap opera did stand out to me because, even as a kid, I knew this one was a little screwy. The announcer would say, “Like sands through the hour glass, so are the days of our lives.” And then, this intense orchestra piece would play into a bunch of soap commercials.
But, now, the days of our lives are much different. Maybe? I am not quite so sure. That was the seventies, and people were bigots. Wait a minute, not much has changed. People are still bigots. The only difference is the internet is not letting anyone get away with anymore. If someone said something 15 years ago that was anywhere remotely off color, someone can bring it up today in a tweet, and ruin your career. Is that fair? People can change. I know I did. And if you think about it, that is extremely hard to do. I grew up in West Columbia. Being a bigot is almost expected. But, as I got older and got to know people of all colors, shapes and preferences, I began to realize that we are all here on this Earth to survive. We all deserve a chance to enjoy life. And if we are not hurting anyone, then we should have the right to live and love how we choose.
That is why the ballet that I shot last week was so important. The “Off the Wall and On to the Stage” ballet by Columbia City Ballet was performed at The Township auditorium. It is a performance that takes the paintings of Jonathan Green, and creates an interpretation through the dance. There are powerful pieces that depict the life of a white child and black child wanting to play with one another, while their parents would not permit it. As well as exciting numbers that show what it was like to dance and go to church in the sixties amongst the suffrage movements. All and all, the pinnacle of the night came in the final scene when the live choir was singing. I heard beautiful sounds that I have never heard before coming from a group of people that just want to give praise to the Lord for their life on this planet. That is something a photographer cannot capture.
We need to have more of these pieces of art that depict a life of conquering hate, instead of media that divides us. As someone who has grown up around comedy, I understand the need for the freedom of speech. But more importantly, I understand the need for love and acceptance. Especially, the kind of love that this piece of art showed us. This ballet taught me that our society needs to be more accepting of all people. Next time you have an opportunity to be accepting, take it. You never know how far it will take us.