HIGH POINT, N.C. — Tamia Cofield and Brittany Ivey teach at On Stage School of Dance in High Point. One night this summer, Brittany sent Tamia a text.
“I just said ‘hey, I feel like in light of recent things that have happened, there’s a lot of conversation happening right now. I just want to let you know that I support you. I’m here as a friend,’” Brittany said.
From that came some tough conversations.
“Being at this studio, I was probably the only black girl in every room,” Tamia said. “So I had to explain to her that it was almost like I had to over-prove myself. And this is not only in the dance studio, but in the classroom. Our hair takes a longer time to prep…and Brittany was like ‘wow. That’s stuff I don’t have to think about.’”
And they talked about the conversations happening in Black families everywhere.
“I was telling Brittany you probably don’t have to have the conversations with your children about what’s going on, how to interact with police, how to interact with your peers. But my parents have to do that every single day. It’s scary,” Tamia said.
“So it really hit home with me that why would she ever experience anything different, or why would I ever have a different experience when we are very much similar people,” Brittany said.
She wanted to do something to show unity. They decided to do a dance to the big song “Stand Up” from the movie “Harriet.” With more than 50 dancers and her cousin who runs a videography company on board, they choreographed a powerful piece of rhythmic art.
“It was so empowering. I remember getting chills watching the first rehearsal of everybody,” Brittany said.
“There’s always one person that said let’s go. Let’s go join these girls. Let’s go back them up. Let’s go be their supporters. And that’s all it takes. It takes one person to make a difference,” Tamia explained about the video.
“There’s a lot going on right now,” Megan Edgemond said. “And people are using their voices in different ways. So this obviously was an awesome opportunity to use my voice and work with my cousin and her friend to create a piece that can kind of bring awareness to these issues that are going on right now.”
Megan runs Saltrock Studios. She’s also Brittany’s cousin. They all tell FOX8 they didn’t know what kind of response they’d get to the video.
“We honestly would’ve been happy with 1,000 views. Within the first few days, it just kept getting more and more,” Megan said.
Before they danced, they talked about the racial issues happening around them.
“ …I kind of wanted the girls to be aware of their peers but also some of their teachers too were experiencing some of those things,” Brittany said.
“A lot of girls when we were having the conversations were talking about ‘I see it, but I don’t know what to do.’ ’I see it, but I don’t want to be the one they look down upon.’ I said you need to be,” Tamia added.
That kind of dialogue was their goal.
“We wanted conversation to be sparked at the house because I’m a firm believer that it starts at home. That you learn things to succeed in life at the house,” Tamia said.
Most of the video was shot in City Lake Park in Jamestown.
The youngest dancer was seven years old. The oldest was 30.