Keep the rhythm and never stop dancing
I’m Roosevelt Castillo, better known by my stage name, Saso.
This is my Crystal Stair.
As a kid, I was never without toys. I had clothes on my back. I had a pool to play in. I attended one of the best private schools on the island, and my parents made sure I never wanted for anything.
I had the privilege of growing up well…privileged. I’m telling you
As I tell my story, I can’t help but be transported back to my childhood upper-middle-class home of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; inhaling the salty fragrance of the Atlantic ocean and my furniture made from the finest Caoba (Spanish for mahogany) trees, and challenging myself to a game of
But, my fondest memory was of friendship:
Friendships back home were so pure…we may hang out with different friends, get different jobs, or move away from one another, but if I see you, I’m going to hug you and remember the times we were cool, and I would genuinely miss you…much more fondly than here [United States] where friendships are fleeting.
In Caribbean culture, showing emotion and love amongst men was often seen as homoerotic, but I was lucky to have grown up in a safe space. I attributed my own safe space as a byproduct of being privileged, as my cousins’ less privileged upbringing had been devoid of that same tolerance and acceptance. It didn’t affect the love we shared as family members, but it limited our outward gestures of affection.
And then suddenly that paradise vanished…
When we moved to the Bronx in 2002…we pretty much started from scratch… I was super low-income, like…super low-income with my mother and older brother and sister. At 12 years of age, I would quickly learn the throes of the “real world”. We moved to Blood territory and I had to defend myself against bullies stealing my things, and also against untrustworthiness. I was definitely not at home any more.
But this is where my journey would start to take shape.
Due to recent unforeseen family challenges, both of my parents are unable to be in my life, yet both are still alive. As heart-wrenching as this may be, I realized that I couldn’t slow down nor could I break down. There are bills that still needed to be paid and I still needed to live. It puts into perspective the level of independence and maturation that had to occur in such a short time. At 25 years old, I’m still relatively young in my career and, like most twenty-somethings, I have so much to learn about life.
At that lowest point, I needed a creative outlet, which I found through music; I’d always loved music ever since I was young and my ear is my most refined instrument. I know what sounds good and what feels good. My cultural experiences having been born and raised in DR and then moving to the Bronx, inspired my first EP, Diaspora (now available on Itunes). My EP explores the rich flavors of Afro-Latino and Afro-Caribbean cultures. It’s teeming in emotion and authenticity and it’s guaranteed to make you listen as well as get up and dance!
When you have as much strength, humility and resolve as I do, nothing in life can take away your rhythm, so keep dancing.