I n d i G o| b L u

WordPress.com

Archive for Culture

3:07 PM

53sonnenuntergang-m181It’s amusing. The very same people who vigorously shake their heads YES, obviously in agreement concerning white’s (white people’s) “blind eye” to racism, has that same sort of “blind eye” concerning colorism in the US along with other things. The response seems to come to an abrupt stop or somewhere around “No, let’s focus on other people” or “Black folks don‘t have issues with color”. In realizing myself, I quickly realized others around me. For the past, I’d say 8 months, I’ve seen an increasing number of “hits” for “white power”, though I can’t say I’m surprised with a black man as president and all. What comes to mind besides the obvious burning crosses and Ku Klux Klan, is black pride. Yeah, the real black pride. I don’t mean the artificial black pride that comes with trying to pretend everything black is great and that black people have no issues, because that’s just foolishness.

Some things are just too obvious to address, and when you know that, you know these people are lodged somewhere between trying to defend something they know little to nothing about or blind patriots of blackness kind of like blind patriots of America. Black pride as little to do with pretending everything is great with black people, and more to do with acknowledging the good with the bad, that’s black pride because if you don’t acknowledge it, you are just ignoring it which shows a lack of concern or an inability to address the issue at hand; it’s like knowing you are sick and not going to the doctor to figure out the problem—the problem will likely persist. It’s not going to go away simply because you say it has gone away.

 

I remember growing up in MS. My family never really had much but I never felt it. My parents made sure I never felt it. I had a wonderful childhood, a sheltered little black girl, who in at least my sister’s eyes, was spoiled and full of potential. I never felt wronged by the word black, in fact I felt it was something that was more or less a part of me simply because it was just as I was and not because it shouldn’t be.

My immediate family is a range of shades of brown. My father, brother, and I of a darker hue and my mother and sister of a lighter hue. Though this was the reality, in my family, the range in skin color was not discussed but our common blackness was, and it was almost always a pleasant conversation or at least one full of humor.

I can recall looking in the mirror as a young girl and admiring who I was physically and mentally. Again, I had a pretty good childhood, family always around, and again…a pretty sheltered childhood as well. Then into society and away from my family’s protective words, hugs, and kisses, things changed. An unsuspecting child that thought that every other black person more or less had the same ideas about blackness as myself. Wrong. WRONG.

Wow, did I quickly get the low down and dirty on the many divisions that exist between black people by personal experience and through others’ experiences from skin color and class to black Americans and Africans who came to America—not useful things, not productive things, but hurtful things. I don’t want to go into too much detail then this entry would be entirely too long, but Africa, which is now divided up into countries is divided because some colonialism, took place at some point, with that being said color would by virtue play some part to that exposure, just by virtue [skin bleaching, perms, etc]. In America the same sort of thing but much worse, and the same can be said for the Caribbean and for similar reasons. It use to really bother me a lot all, today in my mind, it’s just another ill of this world.

Black pride to me is the same as it was 17 years ago, black people, regardless of where they are from, who share a common blackness, though different cultures because the one thing we can not change regardless of how rich, poor, smart, the language we speak or the language we don’t speak, African, or African American–black is the color of your skin, and that’s not a bad thing–not at all. It makes me wonder when I hear black people say “She/he thinks he/she is too good, or he/she says they are mixed with Indian, well, he/she is just plain ole black like everyone else”—wtf is plain ole black or plain ole anything dealing with blackness? Is black a step down from everything else? I’m going to need people to think first, speak later. Now, I have a letter to write.

Exotic|Beautifully|Created|Music

Ayo

 “Life is Real”|”Down On My Knees”

Born to a Nigerian father and gypsy mother; Ayo’s stylish and flavorful music and sound are a very unique mix. Her name simply means “Joyful” in one of the many dialects of Nigeria. Her voice has a bold yet shy and sweet quality to it that is all together halcyon and redoubtable.   “Life is Real” is defiantly one of my favorites; it reveals a beautifully crafted spirit that is not afraid to be herself and face all the things life has to offer, good and bad. One can’t help to respect that because it shows much respect for self and a love for life. It’s no wonder she’s a beauty not only physically but intrinsically.

Artists she can be compared with:

I really can’t think of anyone; the lady’s got her own eclectic style.

 

___________________________

Zeritu Kebede

“Yenem Ayne Aytoal” |“Endaygelegn”

Rough translation: “My Eyes have Seen”|

 “Please Don’t Break my Heart”

Ethiopian born singer, Zeritu Kebede is one of a kind. Her voice is strong, confident, and consoling to the mind. The style and music of Ethiopia is very rich, diverse, and embedded in the culture. However, Kedebe offers something eccentric, fresh, and different to the scene. Most of her influences are of English origin (Classic/RnB). Even if one does not know Amharic, which is the language she sings in and the official language of the country, she will undoubtedly pull you in as it becomes unmistakably obvious that she is very talented.

Artist she can be compared with:

  • Mariah Carey
  • Celine Dion

___________________________

Les Nubians

“Makeda”|”Temperature Rising”

These two stunning Cameroonians singing in French, the official language of Cameroon since French colonization, spew soulful, African flavor, neo-soul, jazzy, urbane and most certainly beautiful music. Their smooth sound is like a soft, steady rain on a summer afternoon. Like Zeritu, their music is clearly English influenced, but they are more in tuned with Jazz and soul music genres.”Makeda” is in reference to Ethiopia’s Queen of Sheba.

Other artist they compare with:

  • Floetry
  • Goapele
  • Jill Scott
  • Other neo-soul artists

(I  will have a separate post for these and other artist)

Muse|Me

 Music in of itself is inspiration; it’s refreshing, it’s invigorating; it’s enlightening. As a little girl, in the fresh scent of the morning air and illuminating sun, I would abscond to a secluded area with a small, portable radio under the shadow of a tree. Although my life was not convoluted and fairly austere, music kept it more interesting, so it became something I met with alacrity. It assuaged the long, summer kissed days.

 Oldies

This stuff is all my parents ever listened to, so I grew up to love  the now very familiar and disparate sounds of “Reasons”| “After the Love Has Gone” by Earth, Wind, & Fire,  “A Love Of Your Own”|“Cloudy” by AWB, “Never too Much”| “Power of Love” by Luther Vandross,  “Boogie Nights” by Heatwave, “Do It Again” by The Staple Singers, “For The Good Times”| “Love & Happiness” by Al Green,  and “Ohh , Child”| “Because I Love You” by Lenny Williams. At barbeques and family gatherings the music would blare “Outstanding! Girl you knock me out!” or “Yearning for Your Love” by Gap Band and we, as kids, would all dance and were met with approbation by the adults.

 Bobby Womack

“Harry Hippie”|

“That’s the Way I Feel About Cha”

                                                                                                               Bobby Womack and Marvin Gaye quickly became two of my all time favorites. They are the embodiments of authenticity; they were connoisseur in their professions. Womack looked into a mundane society and gave veracity in a story. Gaye displayed disabuse for the world in all its injustice in songs like “What’s Going On”| “Mercy Mercy Me”| “Inner City Blues”.  Maybe this was my first, real window and lens into a world that was hurting and still hurts today even as his words echo on an old record or through speakers many years later. He enervated me directly in “Distance Lover” while experiencing fresh, young love in all the numerous ways one is to experience it.

In contrast to most of the discordant music of today, the soul of these artists is evident in their sound- undoubtedly clear, eloquent yet effrontery, honest, and full of life.  It becomes axiomatic to me as I listen 17 years later to their soulful voices and it still fills me with so much love and inspiration…even more…wisdom.

Jazz

Rachelle Ferrell

“I Forgive You”| “I Can Explain”

                 It was years ago! I think I heard her beautiful voice in a movie and wondered who she was and what she was like, all together. Her words and voice were powerful, distinct, and lucid. Who was this woman?! I didn’t know but just last year, I heard the voice again. BET Jazz was hosting a show with yours truly—Rachelle Ferrell—and her voice was just as memorable as before. She defiantly possessed magnanimity and her music and personality portrayed it; her words were like an exigent rush of water that ironically remained calm.

Louis Armstrong is a multi-talented classic. His immediately recognizable raspy yet mellow, deep voice singing “What a Wonderful World” can easily capture anyone; he makes you believe it. Seeing this man play his trumpet with such passion and ease may have been part of what inspired me to pick up a saxophone and later …….my own enduring inspiration, the violin