Livingstone Alumna Dwarf Defies the Odds Through Dance
By Delvakio Brown
The world is not equipped to accommodate the needs of every type of human being but MyKesha Smith, a 3’5 dwarf, took on her passion and college anyway. Experiencing a college campus for the first time can be overwhelming for some but imagine it from a small person’s world. What’s huge to an average size person is humongous to them. The task of attending Livingstone College placed MyKesha Smith.
It is very possible that you may have ran over a video of MyKesha, known as keeshlino, on social media as her dancing and cheering is loved by thousands. The passion for dance begun to sprout at a very young age. When her mother, Patricia Smith, became pregnant she began attending doctor visits just as any other mother with child will do, but the doctor noticed something wrong. As she went along through the pregnancy doctors warned her to abort MyKesha.
Doctors from Shriners Hospital saw no way of a positive life. Special children are given to special parents and that’s how Patricia took it. “They said she wouldn’t live because of this long name that I will not attempt to say, but it was a respiratory condition brought on by her dwarfism,” explained Patricia as she sat on a couch in her brown church dress as she reflected on the doctor visit. While reflecting MyKesha sat in the corner listening in on the conversation as she took her breathing treatment for the day.
Going against what was suggested she went through the full pregnancy. At 5-yrs-old MyKesha became fascinated with dance. Watching children dance sparked an interest in her. “Mommy, I want to dance,” an excited MyKesha expressed to her mom tugging on her arm. That same little girl is now inspiring a generation of teen dancers like Romello Blue. “Keeshlino inspires me because she is always happy and has that chill vibe everywhere she goes,” stated Blue. His inspiration for dance increased and now he travels dancing across the state of North Carolina by the name of Ysg Prodigy.
When taking a visit to her alma mater Keesh created a stir and two students even began running because they became afraid of her. “Oh My God! I just was afraid to meet her because I’ve never seen a dwarf in person before,” stated a freshman lady at Livingstone. After the young lady faced her fears and talked to Keesh it was all smiles. “Usually you wouldn’t catch a person her size dancing and getting hype as she does, but watching her videos can make anyone’s day,” stated Blue.
Not wanting her daughter to be left out of any dream she wanted to accomplish, Patricia began working three jobs. MyKesha always felt that she could do anything she wanted to and all of a sudden began cheerleading, dance, and participating in pageants. Becoming so consumed with practices, dance recitals, and cheer competitions, many birthdays were spent on the road with celebrations at hotel rooms.
MyKesha was on a role with pageantry and was planned to compete against pageantry star JonBenet days after her murder. Growing up her mother thought that she would have to explain that she wouldn’t be able to do many activities in life. “One of the difficulties I had was trying to figure out some activities that she might enjoy and explain others she might couldn’t do that other children were doing,” stated Patricia laughing. It was funny because there was nothing that she couldn’t do. “Her bones are brittle and not like the average” said many doctors but that meant nothing to the passion for dance. Managing MyKesha is one busy task and no one knows that better than her manager Tiffanie Mills. “Her energy doesn’t match her size,” stated Mills.
By the age of 23 MyKesha has performed at the Queen City Awards in Charlotte, North Carolina, with DjDanceKing, DJ Awards Show with Alex Rodriquez, Carole Hefner Center for the African American Festival, and on the stage for the annual Taste Of Charlotte. If you have kept up with the Kooley Bros of Atlanta, Georgia you can catch her in one of their music videos. Watching her swift moves you would never think that a respiratory problem even exist. Since being a small child she has always had big dreams and now is the host of her own radio show. Every Friday you can catch “Keeping It Short With Keshlinooo” on www.thenetstation.com from 11:30 p.m.-12:00p.m.
One battle that was huge for MyKesha was to overcome was college. Graduating from Livingstone College was not an easy task but through perseverance she succeeded. For her, college began as a nervous wreck. She went into her freshman year as a biology major failing all of her major classes but still passed enough to go on to sophomore year. Once sophomore year kicked off the nervousness kicked in and things went from bad to worse. “My GPA fell to a 1.05 at the end of the semester and I was put on academic probation,” stated MyKesha as her face turned flustered and ashamed as she reflected on the rough experience. Facing disappointment throughout her teenage years of applying for jobs, she knew that her college degree would make a better way for her. Academic probation put a stop to cheer and dance for her until she could redeem herself. Reflecting on all the jobs that refused to hire her because of her height, she knew that she had a point to prove. She finally came to the decision of changing her major; a degree in social work became the new focus. The degree finally came to fruition and Keesh accomplished her goal.
This social media sensation will be going on tour this upcoming spring. You can keep up with Keeshlinooo on Instagram @Keeshlinooo