For those of us who have been lucky enough to experience the greatness that occurs at a Beyonce concert, you understand the blood, sweat and tears that goes into putting on such an amazing show. From the band, to the stage crew, to the tour dancers; the energy can be felt throughout the arena long before Queen Bey even hits the stage. Saidah Nairobi knows this feeling all too well, as she’s been one of Beyonce’s main tour dancers for years, working the stage for the “I Am World Tour,” the Superbowl and most recently, the “Formation World Tour.”
Traveling the world with Beyonce isn’t the only accolade on Saidah’s resume. She’s also worked with music superstars such as Usher, Ciara, and Ne-Yo, and performed on the Grammys, BET Awards, Empire and more. When she’s not on stage, she’s working on her socially-empowering record, “We Are”, a dance memoir entitled “The Journey of a Dream” and launching a non-profit organization, Gold Hearts & Crowns.
Saidah Nairobi is the definition of #BlackGirlMagic, #CareerGoals and everything in between. While her track record speaks for itself, we sat down and chatted with Saidah to find out more about this dance queen. Find out what it’s like to work alongside Beyonce, what it means to “be in Formation” and how she’s empowering women through her work in our exclusive interview below.
HelloBeautiful: How did you first start working with Beyonce?
Saidah Nairobi: I first auditioned for Beyonce in February 2009 for the “I Am World Tour.” I missed the first auditions that were held in Atlanta a few months prior because I was on a job with Ciara, but thanks to my long-time dance agency, Xcel Talent, who reached out to artistic director, Frank Gatson, I was able to attend the callback auditions in New York. Booking the “I Am World Tour” was a very unorthodox story, but you will have to read my upcoming book, “The Journey of A Dream,” to find out how.
HB: What do you remember about your first performance?
Saidah Nairobi: I remember my first performance with Bey was in March 2009 in Canada. The experience was surreal. I’d never heard the level of screams and applause like I did that first night. When the kabuki dropped and “Crazy in Love” burst through the speakers in the arena, the crowd lost their entire mind and the adrenaline rush you feel in that moment is unmatchable.
HB: What does it mean to be in “Formation?”
Saidah Nairobi: For me, what it meant to be in Formation was to be among a forward-moving army of slaying Queens, all on one accord, as a team and community of women. Women are so powerful when we understand who we are, know our worth, and can work together. There is strength in numbers and one of the greatest strengths a woman can possess is being a visionary, and to me that’s what getting in “Formation,” expressed.
HB: How do you plan on using your platform to encourage women?
Saidah Nairobi: For over 7 years, I’ve sported what became my signature short-blonde hairstyle, and so many young dancers and women that I meet have asked how I do my hair. They usually say they’re not confident enough to cut all their hair off and color it blonde, and I look at them and say “Yes you are, and yes you can.” I believe as women, if there is something we want to do, we should just do it. Hair is hair, it will grow back. If something we try doesn’t work, that’s OK, but at least we tried. Besides my hair, I have received so many personal messages from young girls saying how seeing me danced has inspired or motivated them to pursue a career in dance. Or how my energy on stage encouraged them to conquer their fears, and pursue their dreams. And that’s what it’s about for me. Being a positive source of inspiration to people of all ages and races to be confident, go for your dreams, own your unique style, and share your gifts because you never know who it will affect.
HB: What was the inspiration behind “We Are?”
Saidah Nairobi: On the way home one night, my husband and I were listening to Nigerian musician, FelaKuti, and something about the horns we were hearing felt like a call to action. There was so much going on in the news about police brutality and African-American males lives being senselessly taken, I got inspired to write a song that speaks about the power and potential in us as a community. A song that is uplifting, that speaks truth, and also serves as positive affirmations to speak over yourself, your children, your family. We Are Trail-Blazers. We Are Game-Changers. We Are Peace-Driven. We Are Light-Holders.
HB: What was your most inspiring moment?
Saidah Nairobi: Hair is a woman’s crowning glory. When I cut my hair off eight years ago, I did it because I felt that I was in a transitional period in my life. Something was on the horizon and I could feel it, and me cutting my hair was symbolic to me of a newness coming up ahead. A few months later, I embarked on my first world tour as a professional dancer, and did it with the most powerful woman in entertainment. The woman who knew that I could hold my own on stage dancing beside her with short, platinum blonde hair. That was my most inspiring moment.
HB: What is a spiritual quote that gets you through your toughest times?
Saidah Nairobi: For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of love, power, and a sound mind! 2 Timothy 1:7.
HB: What advice do you have for aspiring dancers?
Saidah Nairobi: My advice for aspiring dancers is to establish clear goals for yourself first. It’s one thing to aspire to dance, but once you realize your dream, what is next? What are your 5-year goals? 10-year? Write your visions down and make them plain. Be a visionary. Study your favorite dancers, favorite tours, favorite artists, and understand what it takes to become a professional dancer. Make sure you are physically strong and skilled to compete with the top dancers in the industry. And put yourself out there. Social media is the most powerful discovery tool today. Use it to be creative and show your skills. You never know who is watching and looking for talent.
How Beyoncé’s Backup Dancer Saidah Nairobi’s Bold Blonde Hair Inspires Young Women was originally published on hellobeautiful.com