Hair Love, Capoeira, and Family


Busy and blessed are the best words to describe last weekend. I battled food poisoning, attracted two thousand subscribers to my family’s YouTube channel, and graduated to another level in Capoeira. Before returning from the US to Antigua, I also spent a day with my family in California.

I went to the States for the 2019 United Capoeira Association (UCA) batizado. A batizado is a ceremony where new students in Capoeira receive a formal introduction to the community, and older students earn promotion. Throughout the weekend leading up to the ceremony, master teachers provide intense classes.

This year’s event was special. It celebrated the retirement of UCA founders Mestre Acordeon and Mestra Suelly. Students and teachers from around the world attended this year's batizado. I learned a lot, connected with my Capoeira community, and graduated from instructor to professor.

After thirteen years in Capoeira, it is a huge honor to graduate and to receive public acknowledgments of my work. As a UCA student, I have coordinated six batizados, taught children and adults in the US, Brazil, Mexico, and Antigua. I also published a book with Peter Lang Press about the Capoeira program I led in Chicago that mentored Black boys and contributed to social justice movements.

I am grateful for my accomplishments and excited to take one more step toward mastery in Capoeira.

While the weekend ended on a positive note, it did not start that way. After twenty hours of travel, I arrived in San Francisco; two hours later, I began vomiting on the streets of University and San Pablo in Berkeley. I am almost certain it was food poison or cross-contamination from the vegetarian burritos I ate after my arrival. In five hours, I vomited ten times on the streets and in restrooms.

With much gratitude, I woke up the following morning without any stomach issues. I didn't have any reoccurrences throughout the weekend.

Before I left the bay on Sunday morning, I noticed a significant change in subscribers to my family’s YouTube channel, La Vida Lindsay. It took us three years to gain 600 followers on YouTube. After Matthew A. Cherry and Sony Animation released their incredible short film, Hair Love, my family’s channel grew by 1500 subscribers in 48 hours!

It continues to grow, and here's the connection...

Two years ago, when we lived in Mexico, I shared a video with Matthew Cherry. The video included footage of me struggling to do my daughter’s hair before school. He loved the video and posted it on his social media accounts. Several people commented about how my daughter and I resembled the main characters in the book and film, Hair Love, that he was creating.

In Cherry's book and short animated film, a father with dreads and tattoos wrestles with doing his daughter's hair in the absence of his partner. The father looks similar to me, and the child's name is Zuri. My daughter's name is Vizuri, and we call her Zuri or Zu-zu for short.

I played no role in creating the film or writing the book. We served as one of many inspirations behind the story that became a short film and book. However, a significant number of people became convinced that the short story is my family's story.

The multiple similarities between my family and the film's characters caused the surge in subscribers.

My trip to the US ended with some time at my parents’ home in Los Angeles. I visited with my new nephew and several other family members. This weekend was also special for my parents because the church my father pastors recognized them for ten years of service in Los Angeles.

Yes, I am recovering from a full weekend of good times and blessings.

This week, I want to encourage you to support Matthew A. Cherry’s film and book Hair Love. It is a positive representation of a black family working together during a difficult season. After I returned from my trip, I made this video with my family to document their responses to seeing the film and reading the children’s book for the first time.

Subscribe to our channel and watch my family's review of Hair Love here:

#HairLove #MatthewACherry #SonyAnimation #capoeira #UCA #UnitedCapoeiraAssociation #lavidalindsay