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The IT from the inside

By Marianne Bunyan

We had been a part of all this for quite some time when the first movies that showed a bit of that attitude came along, so we felt quite familiar with the culture portrayed in the films. On the screen you could see a little bit of the "black power" we were glad to know from the IT. At the same time, through the sounds on the radio, brothers like James Brown, Marvin Gaye and the O'Jays helped to prepare the world. We shall overcome!

We were regulars at the IT, as the Americans called it, and soon belonged to the scene. You always met the same faces there, sometimes white girls you knew by sight, but mostly the crowd was made up of black G.I.s from the States and Africans from many countries. There were many other nationalities too. As time went on, the US guys started to introduce these rituals like twisting, whirling and bouncing hands for a hello. Sometimes that could go on for minutes. I could never have learned that. It was part of the ceremony. The "house style" changed too: from the militant Black Panther style black leather outfits in the beginning to that Pimp style of dressing that couldn't have got any louder or more colorful.

Every Saturday the IT looked like a catwalk and we would always have something to watch. Pink, yellow or green suits with incredible bell-bottoms. Huge collars and the style overdose of a stylish hat if you could afford it. It was the uniform of a growing determination to "be someone" that introduced these sorts of extremes. They looked, walked and talked just like characters in those movies. Shake your booty! The right hand was always ready to snap, the left hand sat down in that pocket or on the real killer, a stylish walking stick. There were times when these guys would dance with their hats and sticks to "Brick House" by the Commodores while accompanied by the whistles of the crowd. Crazy!

Every Saturday, ballads like 'Let's get in on' by Marvin Gaye made your blood boil. Every woman just had to get on the dancefloor. It was like a high-class erotic dance with intertwined bodies and nobody cared whether they danced with total strangers, they just needed to feel that sound. Whatcha see is whatcha get!

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