Lost yourself? Not sure who you really are?
My ears always prick up when I hear Benjamin Zephaniah speak. We’re from the same part of the world and of a similar age and I love his accent.
I’m really not much of a dancer. The last time I danced was when I went to see Benjamin Zephaniah (hereafter BZ) and the Revolutionary Minds. I thought I was going to a spoken word thing, and it was in a draughty old theatre so I was well wrapped and had my rucksack on my back from a walk earlier in the day.
It was not a spoken word event. Memo to self: look stuff up before you buy the tickets! It was more of a full-on banging tunes, high energy, jumping about kind of thing, and within minutes it was very clear that nobody would be sitting through it. I nearly danced my little legs off! The final song was particularly stirring, and I found myself baying for revolution, along with the rest of the pack, and my heart was right in it.
Trust me though, the next day there was no revolution. What really struck me though, on reflection, was the power of conformity. I don’t go to gigs, and I’m not really into dancing. But it was so, so easy to fall in with it, to get caught up with other’s passions, especially with the addition of a handsome and charismatic front man.
Now, I don’t see anything sinister about BZ, and I still love his work. It was just so interesting (and in a way hilarious and frightening) how easily I was coaxed into behaving in a way that was out of character, how easy it was to get swept along. And realising how badly that could go.
BZ recalls that years ago when he was doing some prison in-reach work he came face-to-face with a fellow gang member from a nasty part of his past ‘and we both stood there looking at the man we could have become’. Scary.
Anyway, like the man (BZ) said: ‘I’m not perfect but I am worth it’. And you are too.