A Brodie Birthday Profile: Ray Westbrook


I move like a shadow from side to side, the brodie bouncing. The lights from the disco ball flicking and glaring on the hot, black walls of the club. Don’t hate. Don’t hate on the brodie because it’s my birthday.

I keep my legs away from me and I apply varying degrees of stank to them when the beat bangs and twinkles ‘neath me. I shake the floor. No one else. My brother is there in his glory, videoing me, videoing the brodie, capturing the gold that are my movements. I see the lights dart across the floor. The lights, many colors, greens — both lime and forrest, blues — royal and navy, oranges — like the different sections of a California sunset sky laid down in jiggling dots on the dance floor.

Dance more? Why not? Why don’t I dance more? I will dance more. I will dance like the ocean upon the sand and I will be everywhere and I will feel everywhere. I keep moving. My body silhouetted against the walls of the club. I move with purpose because I can move wherever I want. I am the brodie and I say, nay, I ask, “Why not?” I listen to no one and no thing except for the music. It seeps into me and I allow it to roll around in my chest and my mind stays away, it is sleeping. Why not? My mind takes a break and my body talks to the music and tells it if it likes what it’s saying.

It does tonight. It loves what it’s saying. Why not? That’s what it’s saying. It’s saying to me, “Why not?” A pretty good question, I think. I have no valid answer except to succumb to the will of the music and let my desires take over. I am the brodie and you will not hate me. You don’t hate me. You don’t hate on the brodie. Not ever.

Not on my birthday. Not when I move like a snake would if it had tall legs. I am the brodie and I slither. The dance floor is my church. It is where I go to remind myself the battle has already been won. Why not? This Memphis night drips with sauce and possibility. My big brodie’s team won tonight and the celebration is at hand. “Two celebrations?!?!!” some idiot asks all excited by the notion of joy. Why not?! I ask him back. Why, on earth, not?

Is it not a brodie’s birthday today? Is the music not banging and shaking the sweat on the walls? Should we keep this party going?

Everybody, altogether now.

Why not?



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