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Comfortable Enough to Make You Uncomfortable

August 25, 2009

n35906470_32568884_9908What happens when a walk turns into an artistic experience? Anyone? Well, the answer is you will find yourself lost, confused, and found all at the same time. As part of her ongoing project “The Story of this Place”, Kianga Ford ventured into the streets of Winston-Salem, NC and exposed her audience to everything a small city can offer. In the process, she took me along for the ride. From the Nitty Gritty Soul Café to The Garage, Kianga and I made our way around Winston to learn how locals perceive themselves. Now, I can’t deny that I’m a local myself…born, raised, and ran away as soon as I received my college acceptance letter. So it was quite interesting to come back home and take a second glance at a city I’ve known my entire life.

Objective 1: Introducing Kianga to the music of Winston Salem

Our first night out on the town involved getting Kianga acquainted to the city’s nightlife. Now I’m sure many younger adults are scratching their heads and thinking, “What night life?” However, you would be surprised to see what Winston Salem has to offer. The first stop was, The Garage on 7th street downtown. Known for their BIG ASS FAN and dedication to premiering the best music of NC, The Garage was a perfect beginning to a long night. The band for the evening was American Aquarium. Hailing from Raleigh, NC American Aquarium rocked the house with their fusion of alternative and softhearted country. Kianga explained how she wanted to use a variety of music in her walk in order to reflect all aspects of the city. This would give people a chance to hear sounds that may be foreign to their ears. The music and venue were definitely new to me. Based on the stares from the crowd, I believe my appearance at The Garage was also new to them. At first, I felt slightly uncomfortable. You won’t find many African Americans at a country concert. Yet, at the same time I enjoyed the fact that I was experiencing something different in Winston.

As the night progressed, I realized that there was no reason for me to feel like a sore thumb. The sounds of the acoustic guitar filled the air and everyone vibed to the energy from the band. By the end of their performance, I was purchasing my first country CD and T-Shirt. Through this experience I learned a valuable lesson; that regardless of how different or foreign something may seem, cultural interaction is imperative. It helps us learn about ourselves and others who are right in our backyard.
To be Continued…

Photo By Kirin Ichiban

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