One of the most significant sequences of the Pier 6 RadiantMe2 show, that I deliberately left out of my first post in order to focus on it at more length here, is the “Yes, Yes Yes” performance, prominently featuring Twigs most hypnotic new dancer, Chester Martinez.
"It's Good to LOVE"… Symbols in her hands…like mudra's, hand formations and postures/poses often trigger awake, or invoke particular energies or entities. Yoni power. Shakti undefeatable indefatigable, the true meaning of Elizabeth I's "Virgin Queen" title. Sexual autonomy, not sexual naivete. Feminine sovereignty without compromise or repression. @Fkatwigs owns her sexuality without self exploitation, owns her spirituality as well as her own pain cathartically without pretentious self degradation. Her sonics and lyrics evoke an archetypal psychosexual journey we all experience like #Inanna, or#Siddhartha or #Odin #TheHangedMan#Christ #Sango #ObaKoSo on the#TreeOfLife #yggdrasil #unconditionalLove #Magdalene #wholeness #lyricalAlchemy #fkatwigs #radiantme2 #realtriplegoddessesbelike #HealThroughDance #whatdoesitmean #symbolic #ThoseWhoHaveEyesToSee #SpiritualSight #ItTakesTheHeartToSee @willowsmith #lyrics
How can one discuss the majesty of “Yes Yes Yes” as a performance without first discussing the awe-inspiring and past-life-flashback-inducing beauty of Chester.
When I first saw him at the concert up close and noticed his deliberately Kemetic (Egyptian, for the uninformed) style of eye makeup, I was transported to a most ancient of Aeons, feeling as if I were face go face with an ancient Egyptian ancestor or a decadent Persian Emperor from another lifetime. I admit, with his face and the grace of his Form, I was instantly reminded of the beauty of Alexander’s Babylonian Eunuch, Bagoas, as depicted in Oliver Stone’s film.The serpentine movements are not complete without Twigs’ feminine fluidity complimented by the Temple Initiate-like stoicism in his expression and the gorgeous liquid gold essence with which he and they both moved cannot be duplicated with any other dancer for that song.
When I discovered via his Instagram that he was OmoOya, and had the pleasure of viewing his independent music video in tribute to Oya, set to the music of Ibeyi, I recognized the irrefutable signature stare and the unmistakable glow only the Children of Yansa, Mother of 9, can possess.
The elegance he can’t help but depict (which is different from the luxurious sensuality of Oshun), is true of even the female OmoOya initiates I have met in many Nigerian iles as well as Cuban-based Lucumi houses of orisha worshippers.
Dressed in Oya’s traditional maroonish burgundy wine red, the Woman who Wears the Beard to War is appropriately channeled through the fluid/feminine presenting Chester, ornate and beautiful as a Kemetic Pharoah, yet with a regal glaze in his eye and crowning his forehead that is recognized well in only the authentic children of Oya, with eyes of lightening and rainbow, the secret of the flame given She shared with Her husband, orisha Shango, the secret of the exchange of long hair and the disguise of the buffalo.
As a diety of transformation, death of what is no longer useful, psychopomp Oya leads all souls to the threshold of death and the gates of the cemetary when it is their time. Her winds of change blow away that which is stagnant, poisoning us, and her tornadoes stir up unacknowledged secrets and unresolved traumas to allow us to more fully confront and heal that which haunts us. As the Queen of Egungun, Oya is indispensable to spiritualists in re-connecting with the ancestors of one’s lineage, DNA, and history. Oya helps us ground ourselves firmly on the shoulders of our ancestors, seeing the beauty of the endurance of those that came before us and honoring ourselves by honoring the mighty legacies our ancestors gave their lives to pass on to us, to strengthen us: as Bob Marley sang on “Redemption Song,” even after being stolen and forced onto the slaveships, subject to the unspeakable horrors of Western slavery, somehow, our ancestors were so strong, they “forward in this generation/Triumphantly” despite all obstacles and even attempts at elimination and obliteration from the face of the earth but melanin will never die and our Blackness, like the dark of the grave, is rich and deep, deep, deep as Langston’s Rivers….
But how can we discuss and appreciate the lesser-known Oya without a brief acknowledgement of the more widely recognized, yet most widely misunderstood, Hindu Goddess Kali….
For the entire RadiantMe2 tour, one of her background dancers was deliberately styled wearing the Hindu god Shiva, masculine compliment/consort to Kali ma, who was also featured prominently on FKA Twigs’ own Instagram
Kali Ma, a controversial deity, is feared for her ability to completely obliterate the Ego. Her garland of Skulls is fearsome, but only represents the heads she has collected, the decapitation of the Ego and Arrogance, especially patriarchy’s false usurpation of authority. Of course, we all claim to want to be freed from the Ego, but one never comprehends the depths of the addiction to its debilitating madness. The Ego is one’s only enemy, the enemy of the self and one’s own demons– external enemies are only pale reflections of one’s own demons inside, and the experiences one has in life only manifest as the expectations and reflections of what was already created within, acknowledged or unacknowledged. Wearing the Blackness of Infinity, Kali is beyond Kala, Time itself, and is the Original Triple Darkness depicted even in the Quaran, the Void before the Word of the Bible. This Blackness, the Blackness of Kali, is the Blackness of absolute Femininity, the Dark Void of the Womb, the dark Chaos before Form and Light was spoken into being, the Darkness we remember inside our Mothers’ Wombs. This is Kali, black with the ash of the crematorium and the black of afterbirth, and this is Oya– the womb and the grave mouth simultaneously– and above all, this is Tiamat, this is Aje. The Black Feminine Essence of the Self (all of us, including males, can access this portion within) is what must be confronted boldly in the frightening face of Kali and of Oya with her 9 masks to receive the reward of Temperance, Iwa Pele, and Immortality.
The video begins with Chester, surrounded by a circle of candles, the reflections of the flames on his flesh make his skin glow gold as Sumerian sands even flooded with shadow. He emerges from the circle, Awake and Whole, dancing with the winds of Oya on the open shore.
I recognized the first sequence of Chester ruminating and reflecting within the circle of candles, as depicting one who finds comfort within the Sacred Solace, guarding and protecting his Ase, Ori and his Inner Essence—the thing most precious worth cherishing—while engaged in an Internal confrontation of the self. The sequence speaks of transcending duality by reflection in shadow, reclamation of one’s Jungian Shadow Archetype within the safety of the circle, then emerging out into the fullness of the world and the fullness of oneself now completely realized.
In the end, he is whole, free from the limitations of the circle and even one’s safety zone, to now be liberated and in control even of the open air, even the very air one surrenders to in order to ride it (as Toni Morrison evokes the Flying African slave tales in my personal favorite novel of hers, Song of Solomon).
His victorious emergence reminds me of Twigs herself, freed from her own self-imposed limitations (and the limitations of her former lover’s repressing, judgmental patriarchal paradigms) at the end of “Pendulum”, her Elevated Divine Self emerging, untethered, abundant, wide, triumphant on the sea.
At The RadiantMe2 show, Twigs deliberately wears a cutout sleeve top that depicts Egyptian hieroglyphs and portraits from Pyramid walls, most prominently what appears to be a depiction of Nefertiti, Nefertari, or Goddess Isis/Auset Herself.
Chester, then, to me, in this Egyptian context, seems to posture as the Kemetic/Egyptian psychopomp diety and Road Opener (like Esu Elegbara), Anubis or Yinepu-Wepwaet.
Thus, in “Yes Yes Yes” and the entire concept of the RadiantMe performance as a whole, Twigs and Chester (as well as all the dancers creating the ritual theatrics of the moment) dance a dance of Resurrection, a literal dancing of the Procession through the Halls of Amenti in the Book of the Dead– in other words, the dance represents the stages of the human soul as it transforms through literal or metaphoric death (physical or psychological) to re-member-ance and rebirth, like the Phoenix, like Ausar/Osiris, like the Soul’s Light that can never be Extinguished. Radiant. Me. All of us.
**Video by @communeandtransmute and @l_homme_fatal