America: Now What?

Maybe you’re reading this just as confused, angered and frightened as I am of America’s 2016 election results. Maybe you’re just the opposite. Either way, here we are. If you’re a frightened African-American, you might identify w/exactly what I’ve been fearing for months now. Or perhaps you’re a frightened of your LBGT rights being taken away, or the potential Muslim ban, or what will happen with immigration and healthcare, or a host of other legitimate concerns.

Maybe you’ve been part of the social media wave of “we need to love each other and unite now more than ever” from 3am into the morning. Or maybe you said online “we need to respect whoever the winner is” having not respected President Obama’s accomplishments for the past 8 years. Maybe you’re baffled that we went from our first black President to one being elected after a KKK endorsement. Maybe you’re a minority who never felt that America really valued you as a person due to countless evidences of discrimination, murders, racism, and the like (the reason why many older black adults aren’t as surprised about what’s happened). Or maybe you’ve felt that although you’re in the majority in this country, you’ve been pushed aside and ignored until now. Either way, all – a major change is coming.

To the point: what now? As a young, black male, I’m not looking forward to facing the fears now grappling our country. Half of our country has proven what they want, and that they don’t value those different from them, and that is beyond shameful. As much as I could rant about the fear that many of us are facing, I have to do the best I can to be the difference by just doing what God put me here to do. Nothing will change that. I am a choral director, a musician, and a friend. I need to continue making art and share this with my singers, standing as tall as possible. I need to encourage them to use our artwork to both unity us and provide solace for our audiences. I’ve always taught my choirs about the importance our music can have in dark times. I am a firm believer in this, and this will be the best time to uphold that belief. Music has always been a powerful tool, and it will always be my greatest method for unification – no matter how different, we are all people standing together to make one song in our own way.

I encourage all of you, wherever you stand in what’s happening in America – find YOUR solace. Find YOUR song. Find YOUR choir – whatever that is to you. My method of unity might look different than yours, but the love that will come from it may be all we have soon.

(Finally, please do not act on emotion today. If you regularly suffer from depression or anxiety, and you are genuinely concerned after the election results, talk to a loved one or a professional immediately. Seriously.)

Your friend,

I need you.jpg


Music Monday: I’m Black, Y’all!

Hello everyone, and welcome to another segment of #MusicMonday! In this segment, I share music of value to me to celebrate its’ artistry, and in turn ask you for yours!

Today’s song (my own personal anthem and most played song in my iTunes) speaks for itself:

That’s right: the ever-famous and truly inspiring I’m Black Y’all from highly-acclaimed artistic film, CB4. This song is a true testament to those everywhere who may be black, bear the last name Black, carry the charge of blackness upon oneself, or may even identify with others who happen to succumb to blackness. The undeniable talents of actor/artist-in-residence Allen Payne bring about the height of pride, joy, strength, and unity in this grand treasure of a statement. To the common listener, the song’s statement may sound like 3 simple words: “I’m Black, Y’all.” However, if you simply listen more carefully and dig deeper within your heart of hearts, you will find this there is much more to this! Payne pours his soul out with the embellishments such as “I’m blackity-black” and “I’m biggety-black-black-black-blackity-black-a-black!” You can’t tell me that this doesn’t represent all the emotion, the pain, the passion of one man trying to simply express his blackness! This is the kind of passion and lack of fear which all artists of any type should be able to muster when showing the people their true selves!

And perhaps, just perhaps, this goes beyond just being black. Perhaps Payne’s plea can be understood and applicable to all people of all creeds. He is proud to be black. If you’re a Latina woman, be the proudest Latina woman you can be. If you’re a middle-aged Caucasian male currently balding, make it the proudest bald spot that ever shined. If you’re an over-the-top political person who uses FaceBook as their platform to showcase your obvious knowledge and love for America which includes arguments you may or may not engage with people face-to-face, make it the proudest and most American FB argument that ’twas ever typed. If you’re a creepy subway personality who drives fear and suspicion into the hearts of passengers on the daily…well, maybe find some better habits, but do so proudly! And then, maybe one day, we can all hold our heads high together and say that we, too, are indeed…BLACK.

I hope you all have been truly inspired by this song and it’s plight, and feel inclined to share your inspirational songs as well! When you see someone on the street today, hold that fist up and say “I’m Black, Y’all!”

Have a good week, and stay black, my brethren!