I am in the car with a few of my friends heading to a club. As we drive, old-school jams play from a CD and we are bobbing our heads up and down, side to side. I squeal joyfully every once in a while especially if a song flashes fun memories of the past.
Shortly we pull into the driveway of Rum Runners in Brooklyn Park. The club is inviting and as we walk in, excitement courses through my body. As we order drinks from the bar, I scan the place. The dance floor is empty though there is some alternative rock music playing. People are here and there, some sitting others standing, making conversation and laughing as they sip their drinks.
We find some empty seats near the dance floor and make ourselves comfortable. A familiar beat breaks through the speakers and people suddenly flood onto the dance floor. The Dj has switched it up and the Lingala music has everyone moving enticingly. We join in unable to resist the beckoning music and fun filled floor.
Out of the corner of my eye, I notice two Liberian ladies seeking the attention of a young Liberian man. It sits odd, considering the dance floor is filled with other men, until my friend explains something to me. Due to the history of war in Liberia, relationships between men and women from this West African country are usually strained and difficult. Yet the women still fight for the men regardless of the unrequited emotions.
Suddenly the music stops and someone from security asks everyone on the dance floor to please get off. We walk back to our seats.
We watch as five Liberian men step onto the floor. They stand in a semi-circle, their bodies swaying as they wait for the music to begin. Dj Polo, who is also Liberian, starts up the music. It’s a different style of music, not quite Lingala. It’s known as Highlife , a mix of different genre’s of music. The men on the floor begin dancing, as the women in the audience ululate and cheer them on. The spectacle is as interesting as it is bizarre. The men, one at a time, move into the center of the dance floor and perform a certain dance to the music.
I look around to make sure I’m still in a night club and not at a cultural show. Everyone in the club seems engrossed to the scene, despite the perplexed looks on their faces.
As soon as the performance is over, Deejay Dan, from Kenya, turns up some old-school jams and once again the dance floor is filled up. There are hands waving in the air to the beat of the music as people sing along.
The night started out on a high note and ended as such. I got to experience a different culture in the form of dance entertainment which I truly believe is a common thing at Rum Runners Bar & River Grill.