“I choreographed the power of the women in my culture into a dance performed by the biggest force in music. It was my way of reconciling my departure of what my culture expected of me (medicine) with a path they didn’t understand (dance). And I did it in a way that would make them proud and take ownership.” – Luam Keflezgy
Luam is one woman who is inspiring a new wave of young people to daydream without limits while undoing that generational fear that can keep us beholden to a limited and capitalistic view of the world.
Luam Keflezgy has been dancing her whole life, but it was in her 20s that she realized that she could turn her hobby into an actual career that would lead her to working on videos and tours with the likes of Rihanna, Alicia Keys, Beyoncé, and Janelle Monae.
Luam believes that she has to help younger generations embrace who they are and be able to express themselves fully.
“For me, investing in [youth] culture has many layers to it. There’s a layer to it as a woman, as an African-born woman, and then as an artist. Those three layers are in by themselves their own journey, but if you put them on top of each other, it requires different things. For me, where I am now, the reason that I feel I have to really invest in the next group is because of what I’ve been through. As an African-born woman… pursuing the arts is definitely one that I figured out by myself. I had to pave my own way, make my own mistakes many times over. I really feel it’s important to arm the next generation with all the tools that I had. At least they’ll have a chance.”
It doesn’t end there, Luam is fighting against all stereotypes attached with women who are in the entertainment industry.
“That’s me as an artist. As a woman, just without having to adhere to any of the stereotypes of being a woman in control in the music, entertainment, and performance industry. The stigmas of you have to be promiscuous, or a bitch, or this or that. All those tags that they associate with you in order to be a boss. I just refuse them. No, I’m going to be nice, I’m going to be firm, I may be quiet, I may be loud, but I’m not going to follow… I’m going to change everything, and I’m not going to sabotage and I’m not going to do those industry things that sometimes we all get trapped into.”
If you are a young person who wants to go into the entertainment industry and your parents are against it, Luam encourages you to always show your work and let it speak for you.
The only thing you can do is understand and comfort. Literally, all you can do is understand and comfort and let your work, and your ethics – one thing that both generations understand and respect – speak for you. They see you busting your butt, and if they see you learning new things and having fun in all aspects, they have no choice but to respect you. But if you keep that from them, they don’t know enough to know that you’re working this hard, or doing this much, or learning this much.
Read more on Okay Africa.