Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2022-06-08



I Just Want To Dance
Can't We All Just Dance
by Sherri Jackson

This article shared 5098 times since Tue Apr 1, 2003
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

'Respect—Esteem for a sense of the worth or excellence of a person, a personal quality or ability, or something considered as manifestation of a personal quality or ability; deference to right, privilege, position or someone or something considered to have certain rights or privileges; proper acceptance or courtesy; formal expression or gesture of greeting esteem, or friendship.' — Random House Dictionary.

A night of horror and joy at a Near South Side nightclub ended horribly on Feb. 17, 2003. As a fight between two patrons turned into a frantic, deadly stampede that left at least 21 dead and 30 were rushed to hospitals and an untold number went to seek medical treatment on their on.

Witnesses said security guards at E2 and Club Epitome inadvertently touched off the panic by spraying pepper spray or some chemical substance into the crowd—an allegation authorities could not confirm. Some reports over airwaves stated someone yelled out 'Terrorist Attack.'

Chicago is a city that has been mourning this tragedy since it happened. It was five days later we would hear over the airwaves and television of our Euro sista's and brothers at a club called the Station in West Warwick, Rhode Island, the band's pyrotechnic display sparked a blaze that swept through the one-story building in minutes, killing at least 98 people and leaving more than 180 injured.

Smaller clubs like E2 and The Station are not experienced to handle national acts. Where and who do we put the blame on at E2 Nightclub? The club owners will be the ultimate blame because it is their property where the stampede took place. What about the individuals who sprayed pepper spray? Or the two women who were fighting over the fur coat that was more expensive?

On the brisk morning of Feb. 17 I was driving down South Lakeshore Drive headed for an all-day conference when I heard of the E2 nightclub event. I was bobbing my head to the tunes over urban airway. My cell phone and calendar in passenger seat ready for the business at hand. Over the airwaves Disc Jockey's on most stations were telling of the horrific event that took place, and taking calls from listeners.

One call in particular got my attention. It was from a young woman in her 20s named Cassandra. 'Hello callers we have Cassandra on the line. You want to say something sweetie about the E2 event?' the DJ asked. 'Yes, I want to first give my condolences to the families that loss loved ones. I also would like to say the problem is we have no respect for each other as Black people, and as a society as a whole. I could of been one of those individuals that died! I used to party there, but the crowd was changing and events were going on all the time that were never reported. Why can't we just go out and have fun and respect each other anymore?'

Cassandra's voice was cracking as if she were about to cry over the airwaves. The DJ was silent and let her continue to speak. I was at my destination for the conference. I sat in my car for a moment and I, too, said a prayer for those victims' families. I, too, thought of Cassandra's remark as the weeks went on.

Maybe we don't respect each other anymore as Blacks, and society as a whole? As our hearts hurt, we wonder in dismay of the 21 families of the 21 mostly young people, who perished tragically in the Chicago nightclub event. We couldn't explain the E2 club event before 98 people's lives were lost in a nightclub blaze in Rhode Island in a club called the Station.

While all this takes place, many of our loved ones are being shipped off to fight a war for which we still really don't have a reasonable explanation. Many others have lost jobs, and unemployment is at a high. We turn on television to the escape of 20 or more reality shows of folks selling their souls and bodies for the Benjamin's (dollars). These are the times we reflect what, when, and how will the outcome be as events seem to be spinning out of control.

We have always had club events that led in violence, misunderstandings, and fires. We have to ask ourselves the question maybe Cassandra the caller was trying to ask 'What is really going on in society and do we devalue human beings' lives so much?'

Once upon a time we danced, laughed, sang, and partied in harmony. If a drink was spilled on someone, we bought the individual another drink and said I'm sorry and went on getting our dance groove on. If you gave a compliment to another's date or to an individual it was that—a compliment! Now we have to prove who is the bigger individual and/or the better club. Some individuals I spoke with said it was greed from the club owners and ignorance from the patrons in Rhode Island—why have a fire show in a place that was wood, with no sprinklers? Who do we blame in this situation?

After the E2 club disaster, Commissioner James Joyce told the media: 'We found doors locked. We found doors blocked by storage and in some cases what appeared to be bags of laundry, maybe restaurant-type laundry. Those are (fire code) violations.'

Most of the deaths at E2 appeared to have happened on the front staircase of the night club, and were due to cardiac arrest, but there were also other contributing factors.

As a healthcare provider, I had a very horrific image of this stampede in my mind. I asked myself and other co-workers and friends in dialogue, what if it would have been someone we knew? What if it was a terrorist attack? Most hospitals are not adequately staffed, some not with updated equipment or proper training to handle these type of disasters.

Why can't we just go out and dance and enjoy each other's company? 'I just want to dance, can't we all just dance?'

Over the weeks I have heard folks of color and whites make statements such as the following. 'What in the hell was a pregnant woman doing in a club anyway?' 'I am sure that would never happen where I live in in the suburbs?' 'What were the older folks out with that type of crowd anyway?' 'They had children at home right?'

Or event 'It's a class issue, an age issue—you cannot let those low folks in your clubs and if they start the age at 25, we would get a better clientele and more mature?'

If we think about it, it boils down to the possible subject of classism and elitism in both Black and or white folks! We the outsiders will stereotype the patrons at E2 as much as we stereotype certain clientele that frequent gay nightclubs. We all know what we have said about our own gay bars and about who patronizes and who can not visit! It is easy for us the outsiders to ask these questions, but that is just it—we are outsiders, not insiders.

Some insiders are dead, others are living their lives and will never be the same after the Chicago or Rhode Island event.

We never know the dynamics one faces at home. Maybe the dance floor was their escapism from hell! Some folks like to dance for stress relief, others just literally need a break from their hustle and bustle of home, family, and work life. Dancing is their fun. Why can't we just dance, Black people?

There are two movies I would recommend to the young Hip-Hop generation and for the elders who want to forget the journeys we once went on clubbing, and staying in the streets. You're asking Sherri 'Why go deep in questions at a deeper level?' Check out the movie Love Come Down with Larenz Tate and singer Deborah Cox and Looking for Mr. Good Bar with young Richard Gere. These movies raise deep issues of how events of stampedes, violence, dysfunction, addiction, and sexual encounters could, and do, lead to events out of control.

I could be thinking on too much of a medical level, but ask yourself what happens when violence, addiction, anger, sexual encounters, and disrespect of yourself and another human being occur. Will these lead to similar events to E2 Club or Station?

None of us have the real answers. But we need to have real solutions so these events do not take place again.

So our young may have a place to release and just be young without DRAMA! Are we mentoring our young as they so often beg? Are we asking them to teach us the new school way of life and what the hell is it all about? Are condoms in a club and the talk of safe sex being spoken and emphasized loudly anymore? Or with prescribed cocktails for healing, we just got quieter?

If we are to have places to attend as folks of color, then stop blaming the man. We need to patronize them, make them, and be safe in them! Turn away instead of what could lead to what took place at E2. Don't drive home or let friends drive home intoxicated! Know your exit doors and how to get out safely in emergency.

From two saddened situations, now clubs and establishments will be watched even more so. Maybe that was the problem in the first place—maybe they weren't watched close enough in the past. We ask that question also.

Before we are too quick to react and call the race and class card, turn the mirror to yourself and then become part of the solution. I have heard that it is OK to be ignorant and not know. It is another thing to be arrogant and ignorant and still wish to remain arrogant and ignorant and desire not to know!

'Why can't we just dance, can't we just dance?' — Larenz Tate

This article shared 5098 times since Tue Apr 1, 2003
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Gay News

Out at CHM: Panelists discuss HIV/AIDS' continued impact on dance community 2022-06-25
- The Chicago History Museum (CHM) hosted a June 23 panel with doctors and dancers who shared their experiences with the HIV/AIDS epidemic as well as ideas for continuing to address the disease today. Following the discussion, ...

Gay News

Chicago Dance Crash celebrates 20th anniversary with 'Booms Day' 2022-06-24
- Chicago Dance Crash's signature blend of concert and street dance styles paints a colorful picture of life, strife and relationship goals after the end of the world with Booms Day, a two-act, world premiere dance production ...

Gay News

DANCE Chicago's Joffrey Ballet releasing Pride video filmed in NYC 2022-06-20
- The Joffrey Ballet and Action Lines—a video-production company founded by Joffrey artists Xavier Nunez and Dylan Gutierrez as well as writer/producer Eric Grant—have unveiled a video filmed at the FDR Four Freedoms State Park (on New ...

Gay News

PERFORMANCE 'Moonset Sunrise' at Navy Pier on June 16 and 18 2022-06-15
- Collaboraction announced that Moonset Sunrise, its 25th-anniversary production, with live performances on June 16 and 18 at 7:30 p.m. at Beat Kitchen's new Bar Sol on Navy Pier, 700 E. Grand Ave. Through healing ritual, storytelling, ...

Gay News

Ukraine's Kyiv City Ballet makes first Chicago appearance, opening Auditorium Theatre 2022-23 season 2022-06-15
-- From a press release - (CHICAGO, IL) Chicago's landmark Auditorium Theatre (50 E. Ida B. Wells Dr.) announced its 2022-23 performance season highlighted by its most expansive global dance series ever, including the first-ever Chicago ...

Gay News

Out at CHM's 'Dancing for Life' to take place June 23 2022-06-10
- The Chicago History Museum, 1601 N. Clark St., is continuing its Out at CHM series with "Dancing for Life: Moving through HIV/AIDS" on Thursday, June 23, 5:30-8:30 p.m. In honor of Chicago designating 2022 as the ...

Gay News

DANCE Cerqua Rivera's 'Mood Swing' on May 28 2022-05-25
- On Saturday, May 28, Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre will host "Inside/Out with Mood Swing" at 7:30 p.m. at Dovetail Studios, 2853 W. Montrose Ave. Mood Swing is described as Cerqua Rivera's "suite of passionate responses to ...

Gay News

Dance for Life returns to Auditorium 2022-05-12
-- From a press release - Chicago Dancers United (CDU), which supports the health and wellness of Chicago's professional dance community, announces the program for its 31st annual fundraiser, Dance for Life 2022, which takes place Saturday, August 13 at 6 p.m. ...

Gay News

Giordano Dance Chicago to showcase modern works June 11 2022-05-05
- The Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Ida B. Wells Dr., completes its Made in Chicago 2021-22 Dance Series with the return of Giordano Dance Chicago (GDC) performing its annual summer engagement on Saturday, June 11, at 7:30 ...

Gay News

MUSIC Madonna curating, releasing dance-music compilation 'Finally Enough Love' 2022-05-04
- Madonna made history once again when she topped the Dance Club Songs chart for the 50th time, making her the first and only recording artist to have 50 number-one hits on any Billboard chart. To celebrate ...

Gay News

DANCE A&A Ballet to offer Family Dance Series starting May 14 2022-05-02
- A&A Ballet (A&A), under the artistic direction of Alexei Kremnev and Anna Reznik, announced a new Family Dance Series at the Athenaeum Theater, 2936 N. Southport Ave., premiering Saturday, May 14, at 3 p.m. Fresh from ...

Gay News

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago's 'RE/UNION' to take place May 12-15 2022-04-27
- After reconnecting with audiences this spring at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago (HSDC) has announced the program for the company's return to the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph ...

Gay News

Dance Divas return to Baton July 31 and Aug. 1 2022-04-27
-- From a press release - Showcasing Chicago dancers in a night of music, dance, and laughter, Chicago Dancers United presents Dance Divas 2022, a party and performance Sunday, July 31 at 6 p.m. and Monday, Aug. 1, at 7 and 9 p.m. at the Baton Show Lounge ...

Gay News

DANCE 'Wired,' focusing on barbed wire, to premiere at MCA on May 5-8 2022-04-14
- The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (MCA) will showcase the world premiere of Wired on May 5-8. Internationally recognized disability arts ensemble Kinetic Light will return to the stage to premiere its latest work. The work ...

Gay News

MUSIC Gay composer's historic 'Emancipation' at Harris Theater on April 29 2022-04-11
- The Joan W. and Irving B. Harris Theater for Music and Dance will present Emancipation, by gay composer Adrian Dunn, with The Adrian Dunn Singers and Rize Orchestra on the Mainstage on Friday, April 29, at ...


Copyright © 2022 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.






About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.