Did you feel it? The rumblings caused by the drums, the cries of the horn, the strumming of the guitar—the call to march on? Did you hear the melodies voicing our cries, the rap telling us to think, the songs telling us to rejoice?
Hallelujah BET! We needed that. The tenor of my heart shifted. Can I get an Amen!
Isn’t that how we, Black folks, do? When we feel lost or broken, we go somewhere deep and find THAT thing that takes us through pain into absolute joy. Music has always been one of our primary vehicles to take us THERE.
We came, my sistas and brothas, from various countries without being able to communicate with each other – as we were stolen from many tribes. BUT, we had THAT THING, that strumming, those rumblings, THAT rhythm coursing through our veins. And we communicated.
We hummed, we whistled, we sang on the fields, in the underground railroad, in the churches every Sunday no matter how tired, no matter how angry, no matter how discouraged. Music moved us when we thought we were too weary to move. Music gave us direction literally (as the way to freedom was often in our lyrics) and figuratively, as it seemed to direct our spirits.
Music has always bonded us. Different tribes, different cities, different socio-economics, different lifestyles, degrees of education, religions—we all get down. You can’t play Bootsie Collins or De La Soul in the hood or in the White house and not get folks on their feet. There are no lines of division with music, unless it’s a soul train line.
Black Thousandnaires and Black Millionaires purse and poke out their lips when their groove comes on. Did you check out President Obama when The Roots were playing? He had his lips in the proper Black position to tear up a dance floor. He was holding on to his hands as if he had to fight to act somewhat Presidential throughout the performances of BBD, Usher, The Roots, De La Soul and Common. Michelle was clearly ready to get crunk. Do this same concert in late January and you might see some droppin!
Though the Obamas tried to hold back a bit, I didn’t; and I know my sistas across the country didn’t. I wasn’t partying by myself. I wasn’t the only one in her living room dancing till I had to slow down cause I didin’t want to sweat out my edges.
Cause I needed it. I needed the healing.
Janelle Monae’s gave voice to my actions this week. “Smile though your heart is aching.” And Yolanda Adams’ voice waltzed with my heart. I swear, I laid my head on the shoulder of her notes and allowed her voice to make me weightless. And Jill Scott strided in and poked my soul. It wasn’t a mean poke—but the way a friend pokes you when you are laying on the couch in your sweats and don’t feel like going anywhere. “Let’s get going girlfriend. Get off of the couch. Let’s go, Sista. I got ‘chu.”
“I got ‘chu.” We’ve got each other. We have our history. That was the stanza of the night. Jesse L. Williams, Angela Bassett, Leslie Odom, Jr. reminded us of that. No one can take away the 8 years that one of us, a Black man, was the leader of the free world. No one can erase his impact, his impact on us, on the children who have only known a Black president. No one can take his legacy of achievement, of grace, intelligence.
No one can take that special rhythm, those hummings, that THING that connects us all, that lifts us up, that makes us keep moving when we are weary.
Do you feel it? The rumblings are all around us.
My intention is for Black people to love themselves and each other. It sounds somewhat silly, I guess; but oftentimes my people are overwhelmed with negative images, bad news, and stereotyped characters about us. I’d like to flip that script. I’d like to remind us, as often as I can, how incredible we are. Read more