FKA Twigs is finding healing through the act of transforming the Pole Dance to be one that is sacred. She is unearthing the vulnerability and expression of female sexuality that this dance carries. Twigs is transforming typically male-dominated spaces like night clubs into a place for the woman collective to heal, to uplift and support one another.
It all started with the inspiration behind the infamous religious figure that is, Mary Magdalene. Magdalene’s symbolism that she evokes and the ways in which her identity has been tainted throughout the years made her the perfect character for Twigs to embody in order to take on this journey of healing and reclaiming of the Divine Feminine.
Twig’s last album, Magdalene, has her taking on the persona of Mary Magdalene – a woman who was deemed the first to witness the empty tomb of Jesus and then the first to witness his resurrection. Magdalene was known to be a woman full of wisdom and was perceived to be quite wealthy. She quickly became regarded as Jesus’s most beloved and valued disciple to him. In other words – she was basically Jesus’s right hand.
With that comes intense levels of jealousy from Jesus’s other disciples – not only that but many men found her femininity and sexuality as a perceived threat. The ways in which she was able to harness that female energy and channel it into a level of profound wisdom, intuition, and spiritual knowledge made her extremely valuable to Jesus – this may have marked the beginning of the ways in which the image of the Divine Feminine has become tainted and violated through the male gaze.
Many other disciples started alleged rumors that Magdalene was romantically involved with Jesus – because why else would he pick her over the other male suitors? Magdalene’s image of her being a spiritual teacher and prolific, powerful healer quickly became destroyed by other male disciples spreading rumors of her alleged sexual encounters. Magdalene quickly became regarded as a prostitute and she was declared a “sinful woman.”
This is the male narrative of Magdalene that Twigs wanted to re-write and reclaim. Twigs started embarking on her journey of learning to pole dance for the music video to her single, “Cellophane” – where she wanted to shapeshift pole dancing into something regarded upon as only for the male gaze and pleasure into a raw, pure expression of the female beauty.
Twigs is defining the “female beauty,” however, in not necessarily aesthetics terms, but the ways in which her calculated movements and the sacral act of dancing are able to let her showcase her emotions.
Often, women in society are deemed as being “too emotional, too sensitive, too dramatic.” It is ingrained in our patriarchal society that a woman’s vulnerability, their fragility, their emotions are their inherent weakness to the male sex. Twigs is able to convey the performative nature of being a woman in a male-dominated society throughout the music video. She is able to illuminate the ways in which our society teaches women that we must be subservient and submissive to men – that we are supposed to do all of this without acknowledging the level of self-betrayal and exploitation of the female energy that it stirs within us.
She sings throughout Cellophane, “Didn’t I do it for you? Why don’t I do it for you? Why don’t you do it for me? When all I do is for you?”
After starting The Magdalene album and practicing the art of pole dancing, Twigs took a trip to Atlanta where she joined the stage with spiritual Healer, Queen Afua at Afropunk. They performed a sacred moon dance while feeding off the collective energy of the crowd surrounding them. Not only is Twigs trying to re-write and reclaim the tarnished image of Magdalene, but she is also reclaiming the white feminist narrative it ensues and is centering the focus back on women of color.
A particular night club in Atlanta, the Blue Flame Lounge started to take her attention. The Blue Flame Lounge doesn’t have the same amount of attraction and hype surrounding it than other night clubs in Atlanta – despite its historical significance and contributions it has made to the black community. The Blue Flame Lounge was the first black adult night club that was founded in Atlanta, in 1983. It has also been the epicenter of hip-hop culture. Hip-hop history and it’s community stays encapsulated at the Blue Flame Lounge.
In the short film/project that Twigs dropped, “We Are the Womxn,” it showcases Twigs performing her second sacred moon dance at the Blue Flame Lounge. Twigs is not alone though as she was in the music video for “Cellophane.” In “Cellophane,” Twigs was looking to honor the ways in which many women are singled out and shunned individually by the male patriarchy. Therefore, she walked that stage alone and re-birthed herself through a cocoon of isolation.
For this second dance, Twigs is surrounded by her female counterparts, dancing alongside them, basking in the collective divine female energy that is palpable in the air. Through this journey, her mission is not only to unleash this female energy within her and to honor it – but to mute the sufferings that surround women of color.
Twigs says, “For the past few years I’ve been curious about my personal traumas and actively trying to not only heal them, but to also set free the ancestral traumas I carry with me. These traumas don’t belong to me, and should not hold me back, but they do….as a woman of color, the lineage of pain within my bloodline can be deafening like tinnitus that only I can hear. To be able to acknowledge my search for healing and peaceful silence amongst womxn who may feel the same way was incredibly comforting.”
These movements that Twigs is embodying bear roots to the spiritual practice and healing that took place during slavery. Where female slaves were forced to bear the oppressor’s children, where their sexuality was one more thing to be stripped from and invaded – they would call upon the healing nature of dance, song, and prayer to allow them to feel their humanity. To allow them to feel the life inside their bones, the light inside themselves, to move freely for just a moment.
Now, this moment is a movement, and it is still here and now.
Please, check out the “We Are the Womxn” project/short film. Please watch the sacred moon dance FKA Twigs put on to honor the struggle and pain that exists when a womxn of color enters these spaces. Feel the amount of freedom and rebirth that is taking place through the act of muting the male gaze and male dominance. Feel and bear witness to the shared love, admiration, and security these womxn are giving to one another in that space and time.
Finally, FKA Twigs is calling for the support of sex workers. You can do this by donating to the Sex Worker Advocacy and Resistance Movement, Lysistrata Mutual Care Collective and Fund, and the East London Stripper Collective. These are just the ones that Twigs specifically highlighted and supported. WE ARE THE WOMXN.