Keepin' It Real

My Own Beat

My name is Janele Forbes and I am a drummer and dancer! I used to be very self-conscious and insecure. Before the drums and dance entered my life, I was struggling through my own obstacles related to mental illness. I would have never imagined myself doing things like a drum solo in front of a mosh pit, or shaking my hips in a coconut bra. Being a drummer demands that attention from a crowd, and even more so when you’re a small Asian girl among a lineup of male bands. You get judged more. You get the weird looks, and the mansplaining. Not only did playing this instrument force me out of my comfort zone, but it inspired me to represent girls who were just like my former self. An aspiring musician, too intimidated to walk inside a Guitar Center with crowds of boys at the drum sets.

Polynesian dance also gives me the same emotional outlet. Although I am not Polynesian, I have found a way to be happy with my body through eppreciating this culture. If it weren’t for drums and dance, I’d still be trapped in the depths of mental illness.

Everything started with a drum. There would be no music or dancing without a tempo, and we wouldn’t exist without a beating heart. 

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Hello! My name is Tyler Newman and I'm a magical creature.

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