Katherine Dunham who is best known for her groundbreaking choreography influenced by African American, West African and other sources, once said, “I felt there were bridges that I was destined to cross and ties I wanted to make to bring those people more into our lives. I wanted to bring them into our whole notion of being black. I wanted them to know about Africa… I wanted them to know about North America too.”
Miss Dunham started receiving invitations to perform with her troupe, making Hollywood bowl appearances, doing nightclub engagements and performing in concerts in over fifty seven countries of the world. For more than thirty years, she maintained the only self-subsidized dance troupe in the world. You might wonder how she achieved that feat all by herself, the answer’s simple; she tried.
“It’s good to know that something needed to be done, and that you did it,” Katherine Dunham said. “I was once asked what I would like to have on my tombstone, and I replied, ‘She tried.’ Always try. Seldom have I not tried to get anything that I really wanted.” There are no losers in life only people who encounter defeat and allow themselves to be defeated. I have an understanding that life is one hell of a race. But folks ain’t my competition. It’s always about overcoming challenges and huddles. The goal is to get to the finish line anyway I can get there. Like the gospel singing sisters said, “How can I expect to win, if I never tried?”
If I was asked what I’d like to have on my tombstone (I suppose I’m too young to be asked that), like Miss Dunham, I would say, let these two words suffice,
Keep your pens bleeding.