Thought For The Day:
“The truest expression of a people is in its dance and music.”
Agnes de Mile
Question For The Day:
What’s your soul’s soundrack?
Today at work, we were focused on music therapy as a coping skill. All of the therapists were urged to work with their groups on how to use music to manage symptoms of depression and anxiety. This was of course a pleasure for me because one, I love music, and two, by Wednesday I start to get sick of the sound of my own voice. What I chose to do was ask each client to think of a song that spoke to them personally and I would pull it up on my phone and play it for the group. I was pretty impressed with some of their choices. Because my clients are all in addiction recovery, many of them chose songs that seemed to speak to the desperation they felt when they were using drugs or alcohol like Guns and Roses’ “Knocking on Heaven’s Door” or Rihanna and Paul McCartney’s “FourFiveSeconds.” Others chose songs that keep them motivated to stay sober and positive like Kirk Franklin’s “Smile” or Petra’s “Dance.” It was cool. They hipped me to a lot of other heavy metal, punk, and pop songs that I had never heard before but enjoyed because the messages in the songs resonated with me on a spiritual level, even when the music itself made me secretly wish for ear plugs. I even shared with them one of my favorites which is Ledisi’s “Bravo” to remind them to never stop praising themselves even when others have stopped. Today’s events inspired this post because music seems to touch us all on such a deeply personally level. We attach intimate memories and accomplishments as well as our greatest disappointments and heartbreaks to the music in our lives. Certain songs end up becoming our personal soundtrack and when one of those songs finds its way through the radio speakers, everybody better be quiet, not even think about volume complaints, and endure all of the head-bobbing and finger snapping because baby, “that is my song!”
I am lucky though because my generation and those before were blessed to grow up with real music. Back in the day, we had real artists who understood the soulful purpose of music and the responsibility that comes with creating something that has the power to infiltrate the spirit. We had James Brown’s “I’m Black and I’m Proud” for inspiration, Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” for introspection, Heatwave’s “Always and Forever” to fall in love to, and the Clark Sister’s “You Brought the Sunshine” to help us find Jesus. The music was truly rhythm and blues, reflecting the rhythm of life and the blue underbelly of pain, hatred, and bigotry. The soul music of my generation was just that, from the soul. Music and the soul are so intertwined that I believe a quote I heard recently that says you can always tell the state of a people, by their music. (Side note, I hate I can’t find who said that. If anyone knows please message me.) Anyway, if this is true, which I am inclined to believe it is, then lovers of this new school music of today are some misogynistic, materialistic, sex-crazed, dope boys and big-bootied gold-diggers, I suppose. I still can’t get over the best R&B performance award at this year’s Grammys going to Beyoncé’s “Drunk in Love.” Are you serious right now? The song that was chosen to represent the music that people like Patti LaBelle, Chaka Khan and Marvin Gaye forced the world to respect, boasts of mastery of the “Surfboart?” I’m not trying to shade Beyonce’. The song is fine for getting crunk with your man, but let’s not pretend that it’s deep enough for a Grammy.
Where are we as women when “our song” is K. Michelle’s “Love ‘Em All” that talks about sleeping with every Tom, Dick, and Harry out of low self esteem and fear of being alone? What does it mean when you turn up to Taylor Swift’s latest “Blank Space” that screams, I’m an emotionally unstable and manipulative wreck who sees love as a game of kill or be killed. And don’t get me started on the rappers. I will always have a place in my heart for hip hop. It is what I grew up on and I still play my old school tapes for my kids. But most of my generation’s hip hop spoke to having fun, falling in love, racial consciousness, and pickin’ boogers in extreme cases (shout out to Biz Markie). However, today’s rap music is so raunchy, I feel violated just listening to it. I can’t even let my kids listen to most of it which is a shame because they are missing out on what was once a poetic expression of the heart and soul of minority youth. I don’t want to listen to you tell me that you’re screwing me tonight as if I have no choice in the matter. Yet, my ladies are breaking their necks to get to the dance floor when these songs come on, twerking like mad while Chris Brown sings that “hoes ain’t loyal.” (smh) If music reflects the spirit of a people, then it’s time for a soul check. Music should inspire, educate and uplift, not degrade, exploit, and destroy. If we as women are working on going higher and getting better, it is worth reviewing what music is in heavy rotation in our cars and on our ipods. Don’t purposely pollute your spirit with music that calls you out of your name, insists you are less than what you are, and glorifies dysfunctional behavior. Make sure that the soundtrack of your life is not killing you softly… with a song.
This is my soul soundtrack (Okay, maybe Volume I of too many to count):
- A Song For You – Donny Hathaway
- That Girl – Stevie Wonder
- Never Too Much – Luther Vandross
- Roni – Bobby Brown
- Ye Yo – Erykah Badu
- Get It Together – India Arie
- Love – Music Soulchild
- Pretty Young Thing – Michael Jackson
- Alright – Ledisi
- Hate On Me- Jill Scott
- I Feel Good – Fred Hammond
- Bravo – Ledisi
- Love’s Melody – God’s Chosen
I’d love for you to share yours with me! Be blessed, and let the music play.