Thousands of people all over the world have taken to making TikTok videos to help pass the time under lockdown.
When Irish dancer and student Morgan Bullock posted one showing her taking up a dance challenge by dancing Irish dance steps to “Savage Remix” by Megan Thee Stallion featuring Beyoncé she could never have imagined the response she received.
Her video went viral, she was praised by Tina Knowles mother of Beyoncé, and offered dancing spots with Riverdance and at the next St Patrick’s Day parade in Dublin. She is now considering new possibilities for the future.
“It’s opened my mind up to pursuing a career more seriously in professional dancing and just trying to get into performing and doing some shows.”
Not everyone was supportive, she also received attacks and some racist comments from people claiming she had no right, as a black American, to be doing Irish dancing and was guilty of “cultural appropriation.” Morgan took this in her stride, “I took it as a teaching moment, that’s another thing that I’m passionate about is teaching.”
She described her passion for Irish dancing, which she has been doing since she was ten. She attends the Baffa Academy of Irish Dance and tells us her favourite dance is a skip jig, “It’s such a beautiful culture to appreciate. You don’t have to speak the same language as someone else to enjoy it. It’s visual and it’s such a beautiful thing to be a part of for anyone.”
She likes to call it, “cultural appreciation” and pointed to the links between so many cultures in the US saying the “roots of Irish dancing and tap, all beautiful dance forms, are born out of oppression, from oppressed people. I’m just glad that my video opened up that conversation for some people.”
Black Lives Matter
She has been part of local Black Lives Matter protests and is optimistic about the prospects for change.
“Voices are being heard…It’s making me feel very hopeful about the future. It’s been a huge wake-up call for a lot of people and it’s the only way progress is going to be made.
“This generation is the generation of change. I know there’s been generations before that have protested against injustice, but being a part of this, in the confederate capital of the United States, and seeing all the statues being taken down, it’s like history is being made.
“When you’re learning about history, you’re always thinking ‘I wonder what I would do during this?’, like I wonder what I would do during in the Civil Rights Movement. It’s surreal. Now I don’t have to wonder any more, this is it. This is what’s going to be in the history books”