The Shalom of Sisters in #Formation


“When I first saw tap-dancing, I immediately got it:
The righteousness of being able to make so much noise with your feet.”
Shalom Harlow, Canadian model and actress


Yesterday, my husband posted a video on my Facebook wall along with a simple, “You’re welcome.” Let me explain.

Our marriage is comprised of two different narratives: The real life one, littered with laundry and late night Bob’s Burger’s binges and lectures to surly teenagers. And the online one, where we cheer each other on in emoticons and tweets.

In the real life love story, I know my husband is thinking of me when I find a candy bar on the counter after a long day of mothering. In the online one, his affection comes in memes and adorable videos posted to my timeline.

So, when a video of five tap dancing women popped up on my feed, I tucked it away as one more thing that my husband wanted to share with me. He knew I had been awake throughout the previous night with our sick daughter. His “you’re welcome” was a way of saying,“I see you. This might make your day better.”

And it did.

On February 6, 2016, the day before her Super Bowl half-time performance, the inimitable Beyonce dropped her single, “Formation,” and its accompanying video, on to her YouTube channel. The song celebrated her blackness and called ladies to “get in formation.”

It completely shook the internet. Everyone was talking about it. Everyone was watching.

I heard on a podcast that when one of the hosts first heard it she wasn’t even in front of a computer! She was in the middle of the street helping her friend move when, from windows and porches and cars, the sounds of “Formation” filled the street.

Then, the controversy started.

“Wait! Is this video for black people only?”
“Does she have to be so explicit?”
“What’s with the #blacklivesmatter reference?”

Lean in closely because I have a secret: I’m a black woman who loves her some Yonce, but I didn’t see the video until almost a week later. In the interim, Facebook told me everything I needed to know.

As per the usual, folks responded along race lines. My feed was full of strong posts from people on either side of the conversation. I just sighed.

I’m so done with the bickering about race between smart, generous, passionate women.

We’re filling the air with the wrong noise—all catty words and grandiose paragraph. This isn’t sisterhood. This isn’t Shalom or an embodiment of our relationships as they should be.

If there’s one thing I know it is this: Sisterhood is Shalom.

Which is why this video of a dance troupe from Washington D.C. is my favorite act of Shalom right now. It’s synchronized shalom. It’s sisterhood in taps and twirls and terrific hair flips. It’s owning your body and loving the way it moves. It’s creating beauty in the rubble of all the bickering. It’s advancing on the battlefield of division and hatred in unified formation.

Ladies, we need to get in Formation.

When I first saw the video of the dancing ladies, I cried at its beauty. But then, I planned. I planned to get into Formation. I planned to reach out to my sisters who share my passion, just like Syncopated Ladies reached out to fellow tappers and asked them to join into the dance and to increase their sound as one.

Who in your world shares your gifting, your passion, your calling? Reach out to her. She’s your sister at arms in this battle against darkness. Get into Formation and make a holy noise that chases back every single injustice.

When we come together as one, the sound of our advancing is truly terrifying for the enemy. We “twirl on” that Hater of our Souls when we refuse to give into the divisive language about other women. We slay him with our celebration of each other.

So, Ladies, let’s get into Formation. We’ve got a righteous noise to make.


Image credit: mrhayata

Osheta Moore
Osheta Moore is an Anabaptist-y, stay-at-home mom right in the thick of moving her family from Boston to Los Angeles . She's passionate about racial reconciliation, peacemaking, and community development in the urban core. At the top of her bucket list is dance in a flash mob—all the better if it's to Michael Jackson's "Thriller" or Pharrell's "Happy." Catch up with Osheta on her blog, Shalom in the City.
Osheta Moore
Osheta Moore

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