SIREN SPOTLIGHT: Rashi Bey, Producer of Sex is God Thing

Editors Note: I do not even remember how I first learned of Rashi and her work. All I know is once I learned that she existed in the world, I started to pay attention. To her work. To her words. To her energy. To everything. Therefore when Rashi emailed me to ask if I could share news of her latest endeavors, I countered her pitch and asked if I could feature her in a multi-part interview series on my blog. She obliged, even when I asked questions that probably broke all the rules of how to interview someone. Everyone, meet Rashi!

Soft when I feel safe. A wolf when I’m on guard.”

Sheena LaShay: Who are you? 

.

Rashi: The quiet girl in a big crowd of strangers.
The chick who starts a dance circle in the middle of the club.
The loud one in her group of friends.
Soft when I feel safe. A wolf when I’m on guard.
25.
Sometimes too old for my own good.
Hopeful Romantic.
Christian.
Feminist.
Lesbian.
Wanderer.

“When I was younger I always felt like I understood the worship more than I should have at that age.”

.
Sheena LaShay: I read somewhere that growing up you used to praise dance in church…and perhaps you still do. I used to as well. I like to say I went from praise dancing to pole dancing. Considering your journey from a praise dancer to where you are now, what has surprised you the most during your movement journey? How have you evolved as a teacher, student and leader?

.
Rashi: Great question. I started praise dancing at the age of five, I believe. I was in my first pre-professional touring company at age seven. I was actually too young to be in the group but the director (The late Rev. Anthony Hollins) approached my mother and asked her to bring me to the auditions. He felt like he could work with me. Ever since then, praise dance was a huge part of my experience as a dancer.

.

When I was younger I always felt like I understood the worship more than I should have at that age. I remember telling myself,  ‘Rashida,you will not be a Pastor when you grow up. Pick something more interesting”.  And here I am today contemplating a life in ministry and possibly going back to get my MA/PH.D in Divinity. I think it was kind of unavoidable.

.

.

As a child, I experienced a lot of trauma just with being severely bullied, losing my brother, and my dad not being in the picture consistently etc. I can’t give you an exact pin point of how all these things have affected me but I know that my brothers death and my father’s absence definitely left an emotional imprint in my muscle memory. My Mama was tired you know. She also lost her Father during that same time. So many of the masculine containers that we did have during that early stage of my life just kind of disappeared. I can only imagine how devastating all of this loss must have been on her. Her Husband, her Son and her Father. She was tired and couldn’t always handle my intense anxiety as a child, so she put me in dance to give me an outlet and a space where I would not be so scared. I feel that today my dancing is still very much a reflection of my Mama’s original intention – to help me release my own anxiety and just step into a larger sense of self.

.

Funny enough praise dance does that for me because it takes my focus off of myself and on to the people I am ministering to through dance. Erotic dance is my personal worship time with God where I can be my most vulnerable, raw and open. It’s the place where I recharge. Anthony who I mentioned earlier became more than my choreographer. He was my Father Figure and go to person.

.

When he passed in 2007, I was basically in denial for a great deal of time. I abruptly stopped working with my dance ministry for quite some time. I came back sporadically but it’s never been the same since. Venturing out into other people’s churches pushed me even farther away from Praise Dance – just seeing the politics that the church would impose on the body while it was in a state of worship made me feel way too restricted as a choreographer and as a dancer. When I heard a woman yelled at while choreographing for a group of about 100 young girls at the time for a major concert, ‘Not too much hips, ’ I was officially done. All churches are not this restrictive but I haven’t found a space yet that sees the female body as holy just as it is – enough so that I would venture into praise dancing ever again. I miss it. Deeply. That, I cannot hide. However, I am not willing to put my body in a space where she will not be worshipped.

.

“It influences everything I create.”

.

"Rashi Bey".
Sheena LaShay: Describe your movement style? What kind of music do you tend to lean towards?

.
Rashi: Hmmm…. very classical. I do not have a traditional ‘Ballet’ body but that is my favorite style of movement and it influences everything I create. In my personal practice, I tend to lean towards a lot of Black-Latin music, soft acoustic, and some heavy metal every now and then. In my classes, I tend to lean towards music from the Top 100 chart. I veer off from that every now and then but my students/clients love it.

.

“…because my sexuality is sacred and of God – when I am connected to it, I am also connected to God.”

Sheena LaShay: Describe your sexual/sensual self? (Not just as it relates to dance but the entirety of your being.) I call it your Siren. Others call it their erotic creature, their vixen, the goddess. Who is she? What is she like?

.

Rashi: I call her Rashi or my full name. I’ve never been able to separate my sexual/sensual self from the other parts of myself. That’s largely what my work is about – helping feminine souls see that we can exist fully in the intersections between our sexuality, spirituality, motherhood, professional life etc. I would like to think of it like this – because my sexuality is sacred and of God – when I am connected to it, I am also connected to God. So I am either in tune and grounded or completely in a place of fear. So being in my most sexual/sensual self, I would considered existing in a state of being UNTAMED or ERUPTED. That’s the only distinction that I would make. Either I am UNTAMED or TAMED. Not just in bed/dance but just in life.

.

"Rashi Bey"

The movement is just the container or structure…”

Sheena LaShay: What is your teaching style? What kinds of classes do you teach?

.
Rashi: I love to get to know my people. Most people that come to work with me know that the class space is very open and has an experimental feel or vibe to it. Regardless of a class of 40 or 5, I get to know everyone’s name and why they felt the desire or pull to come to work with me. From there I guide the class, sometimes it ends up being extra ratchet and other times it’s emotionally heavy/ cathartic. It’s really based on what my people need that day. The movement is just the container or structure – we add the soul to the movements through our varied intentions.

.

“…many still don’t understand the power that it has to literally heal and transform the muscle memory in the body from trauma, pain, and stagnation…”

.

Sheena LaShay: How would you like to see sensual art and sensual dance evolve in the next 10 years?

.
Rashi: I would love to see a deeper teaching of the practice spread. Right now we are still tapping on the surface – only teaching the mechanics and not really getting to the soul of the steps. People are so erotic and so sensual now – moreso than ever but many still don’t understand the power that it has to literally heal and transform the muscle memory in the body from trauma, pain, and stagnation. I want to see more dance teachers studying and talking about the connection between sexuality + spirituality + body politics + agency.

·

“In order for us to truly hear the whispers of Spirit, we have to slow down, cut out the confusion and anxiety.”

.
Sheena LaShay: Do you believe sensual movement is important? Why or why not?

.

Rashi: I believe [sensual movement] is an integral part of daily healing experience. Sensual movement is your personal prayer. It’s a pathway to worshipping and devoting yourself back to the creator. Outside of the dance studio, there are many ways to incorporate sensual movement : gardening, taking long walks, cooking slowly, nesting your apartment, painting, pottery, making candles, doing your makeup and hair, drinking a glass of wine, looking out over a beautiful body of water, taking time to write for yourself, or reading a good book. All of these things slow you down. In Christian Scriptures, it says that God speaks in a calm and steady whisper while the enemy shouts. In order for us to truly hear the whispers of Spirit, we have to slow down, cut out the confusion and anxiety. That’s what I love about sensual movement because as soon as I tap into a slower or more steady embodiment, I feel extremely powerful.

.

Sheena LaShay: Some people take issue with sensual/sexual/erotic dance. However, many of us in the industry feel this kind of movement is important to explore. How can we make this “taboo” style of movement more accessible and understood to those who don’t get it?

.

Rashi: This is a question that I have been exploring in my mastermind and with my business strategist. A lot of the women who come to me are Christian – not all of them but many of them. They want to find that connection to their body while also still remaining grounded in their faith. The conflict is a lot of the teachings in the scriptures have been misinterpreted and used to conjure/induce fear to the point where many feminine souls don’t feel safe embodying their sexuality. So I’m sure when they see me talk about it, it’s a massive trigger.

.

I have been trying to figure out ways to share my work that seduces people into the classes – even if they are still nervous. In my tiny coaching practice I have worked with about 250-300 folks over the last four years, so the people are showing up. I think that what has helped is my own willingness to slow down and really connect to each person as much as possible. Private conversations fuel a lot of my sales. Inviting people to dinner or getting a group gathering going, consistency, themes, and really showing all sides of how being sensually connected impacts/improves your life. They want to see the results. When I was talking about sensuality just straight raw – my tribe couldn’t find me. I think it’s about knowing what part of the feminine soul population you are feeling called to help. You cannot help everyone – your teaching style isn’t for everyone.

.

More and more the less resistant I become in my walk with Christianity – the more I allow myself to come back into the church. I see that this vision was put in my heart to help advance + shift the way the Black Church talks about feminine sexuality. My trials + triumphs in life have definitely led me to this point. You just have to honor and be open to Spirit directing your path and just do the work for your tribe. There are plenty of them. Together, serving our different tribes, we will find that liberation and freedom in moving towards the same visions just in ways that feel powerful for us individually.

RASHI – Owning Your Erotic & Spiritual Self from Kamalkiddo. on Vimeo.

.

Join me in the coming days as Rashi and I delve deeper into who she is, what she believes and what she just doesn’t give a fuck about. 

.

In part two of our interview, we explore topics of Beauty and Self Worth. I’ve wondered about Rashi’s wig choices and the way she carries her body. She answers very frankly.

.

In part three of our interview, we explore her life values. Bet you can’t guess her response when I asked her to write her memoir in six words!

.

In part four of our interview, we discuss more personal issues such as the process of rebranding her business, her thoughts on being a “black jezebel” and the perception of her rage on social media.

.

THANK YOU RASHI, for being so candid, thorough and yummy. I can’t wait to share the next few parts.

.

Photo Credit: IAM KIAM STUDIOS.As an Erotic Dance Coach, Rashi guides feminine souls to reconnect to the sexuality as an integral piece of their health and spiritual evolution for more confidence, better sex and more joy in their lives.  Rashi currently runs her private practice of out Chicago, IL hosting group classes, private lessons and touring workshops throughout the year.  To learn more about her work please visit www.rashibey.com 

Currently, Rashi is offering a complimentary online class right: Draw Nigh Unto MeDraw Nigh Unto Me is an online moving meditation + guided journaling course that Rashi created to help you shift from confusion and doubt to clarity, peace and pleasure in your life. Visit www.rashibey.com/drawnighuntome to learn more about the class.

Related posts:

About
Sheena LaShay is a Wild Magical Woman, Intellectual Sensual Shaman and Cultural Provocateur. Keeping it simple, you could say she's a Writer and an Erotic Artist.

Leave a Comment

Contact Us

I look forward to hearing from you!

Not readable? Change text.
0

Start typing and press Enter to search