The party was nearing its end when a young woman took the floor. She wore West African national dress. The long printed skirt and matching blouse hugged a startling body. She had wide shoulders, large erect breasts, billowing hips and the waist of a child. All the dancers backed away and found seats, as the beautiful woman moved to the music. She swiveled and flourished, jostled and vibrated, accompanied by the audience’s encouragement and laughter.
“Swing it, girl. Swing it.”
She made her face sly, knowing, randy, and her large hips fluttered as if a bird, imprisoned in her pelvis was attempting flight.
The viewers’ delight reminded me of the pleasure older black American women found in other women’s sexiness. Years before when I had been a shake dancer, some ladies used to pat my hips and exclaim, “You’ve got it, baby. Shake it. Now, shake it.” Their elation was pure, sensual and approving. If they were old they looked at female sensuality as an extension of their own, and were reminded of their youth. Younger women recollected the effects of their last love-making or were prompted by womanish sexuality into pleasant anticipation of their next satisfying encounter.
I was tickled that African women and black American women had the custom in common.
Maya Angelou in The Heart of a Woman talking about Black female sexuality in dance (via daniellemertina)