Ambassador Joshua McLean

Carrying on Frankie Manning's Mission of Spreading the Joy of Lindy Hop

Joshua and Friends (2018-07)Frankie Manning Foundation

Bringing us together

"It is important to support radical inclusivity at home and in the global Lindy community.  Part of that work involves celebrating each other, our visibility, and creating opportunities for people of color in the contemporary Lindy Hop Community."

Beantown Rhythm Ambassadors (2017-06) by Tom HagarFrankie Manning Foundation

Forming a Troupe: The Rhythm Ambassadors

“Starting in 2015, I began to choreograph performances for FMF Ambassadors and people of color to perform at Beantown Dance Camp. The purpose of the performances go beyond a number in a show. The performances served to invite audiences to learn about the Foundation and the Ambassadors. We also created a space where we relied on and helped each other. As dancers, these performances also celebrated people of color on stage. In 2017 he group adopted the name, “Rhythm Ambassadors” and we performed a dancer protesting cultural appropriation.Eventually we were able to do it again at a swing dance event in New Orleans where we performed live with the Preservation Hall All-Stars."

Rhythm Ambassadors Explore New Orleans (2017-09-30) by Taryn NewborneFrankie Manning Foundation

Before their performance at the New Orleans Swing Dance Festival, some of the Rhythm Ambassadors got to see and be seen in town.

The Rhythm Ambassadors perform “Sit-Down Strike For Rhythm” with Preservation All-Stars (2017-10-05) by Preservation HallFrankie Manning Foundation

"Each member of the Rhythm Ambassadors has been selected by the Frankie Manning Foundation to uphold Mr. Manning's dreams for Lindy Hop to be danced around the world, by more young people, and most importantly by more people of African Descent.

Our purpose is to steep ourselves in the performative traditions of our elders, and to share that with audiences, especially other African American/African people living in diaspora. Through this act of ambassadorship, we decided to show up and remind folks that we exist, we matter, and that these dances are important to our cultural heritage."

HellaBlackLindyHop at ISDC (2018-05) by Costumes - FloMotion, Baton Rouge LA; Photo - Buddy StevesFrankie Manning Foundation

HellaBlack-LindyHop

"We performed for a room full of people who looked like us, which was an experience that left many of us feeling as if we came home to a family reunion we didn’t realize we were missing."

HellaBlackLindyHop Performance (2018-05-26) by Brett Dahlenburg - VideoFrankie Manning Foundation

“Our goal with #HellaBlackLindyHop is to showcase Lindy Hop done by black dancers to a mostly Black/POC audience. In doing this performance, we reject the status quo of cultural appropriation that is perpetuated in the global swing-era dance community. Lindy Hop is already an inspirational and exciting dance, but for it to be a truly inclusive and inviting community, prospective members must be greeted with performers, organizers and leaders that match their identities.” Dancer: Joshua McLean, Latasha Barnes, Sara Deckard, Manu Smith, Ana Lisa Sutherland, AJ Howard, Cyle Dixon Jr., and Alexis Davila.

Frankie Manning Foundation Ambassadors Joshua McLean and Dee Daniels Locke demonstrate social, improvised Lindy hop in Germany

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
Explore more
Related theme
Black History and Culture
The past, present, and future of the Black experience in the United States
View theme
Google apps