For my space of choice, i visited a Caribbean bar/ restaurant over the weekend on a Sunday. Being from a Carribean background myself, it was a natural choice, as the ,music, food, drinks and overall vibes reflected things that I was already familiar with and gave me a chance to feel like I was at a home away from home. While I was there, I was even able to speak in my Carribean patois with the people that were there, putting me at ease and making me overall feel more comfortable in my own skin, being surrounded by people with the same cultural background. All around me people were chatting, laughing and mingling, setting the comfortable friendly atmosphere throughout the entire establishment. The sweet aroma of jerk seasoning stung the inside of my nostrils, while I sipped on an ice cold coke trying to take in as much of my surroundings as I possibly could. There bright colors painted on the wall reminded me of the sunshine I would expect “back home”, an aesthetic choice that one could argue was done on purpose.
After a while I was comfortable enough to “come out of my shell” and talk to some of the rather more attractive women that I saw there, having a warmer response and a generally more welcome demeanor than one would typically expect from an American girl, to a slight amount of surprise from me. Minutes and hours merged into each other, and soon I found myself not wanting to leave, despite knowing that I would have to eventually go home to write about my experiences in this space. At around 5 PM, the dance floor opened, and the guests were so enthusiastic, that some of them left their drinks behind and I soon followed suit. The Island rhythm of the reggae beats felt like they were vibrating through my very bones, and soon I found myself dancing with one of the women I was crushing on earlier. With every groove I felt my muscles loosen, as I “let loose” and it almost felt like I became one with the rhythm. We moved in synchrony, as I kept my hands steady on her waist as she got down low with a circular motion of her hips and pulled me closer to her body by my wrists.
With the sudden song transition, my mood changed on the edge of a dime while listening to some of the lyrics and realizing what was being said. The contents of the song were mainly homophobic condescending lyrics, demeaning homosexuals and at certain point calling for violence, a predicament that made me snap out of the euphoric trance I once had on the dance floor. Some of the other partygoers seemed not at all phased, still rocking back and forth ands even chanting some of the lyrics as if they were ignoring the negative implications of it all, making the atmosphere no longer as relaxing to me as it initially was. After a few more drinks, I made my way out of the door and headed back to my dorm. On the way there i could not help but think to myself that there are people that are still homophobic to this extent, especially in a place like Atlanta, and even more puzzling that they would even promote or be allowed to play this type of music in a public setting. Common knowledge would be that the content of this type of music is insensitive toward certain groups of people, and neither the DJs or the partygoers cared to be keen on this fact, instead got carried away by the music and danced on like it wasn’t at all something to be concerned about. I usually thought of homophobia as a minor more “undercover” issue somewhat exclusive to a certain group of people, but this experience showed me that homophobia can exist anywhere you go, sometimes even creeping into the places where you find yourself the most at ease, which is a very uncomforting thought, especially for those of the LGBT community.