The sun sees the same…over and over and over…nothing new. Music has always been therapy. It’s been our voice. It’s been our release. It’s been our attempt at processing tragedy. And it has been a large part of our contribution to this country’s culture. But we’re not here and we’ve never been here to simply entertain. Art and music should enlighten, empower, elicit and catalyze.
“They built their religious and secular rituals, festivals, and social gatherings on the foundations of song, dances, and rhythms they invented to cope with and express their New World realities…
In the United States, the dominant forms of contemporary American music and vernacular dance are also derived from America’s African-based slave legacy. This has occurred despite the fact that drums, the rhythmic foundation of African music and dance, were outlawed in many slave communities in the United States.
When slave “masters” and overseers in the United States discovered that drums could be used as a secret means of communication, they were banned. But African rhythmic sensibility would not die. Nor could it be suppressed.” (An excerpt from a National Geographic News article that explains the connection between African slave’s roots and American culture.)
If you’re having trouble processing all that’s happening in our country, especially this past week’s killings –mind you, it’s nothing new–I’d encourage you to try making some music, or find some type of creative activity to release your emotions. And then, if you feel led, share what you create to uplift and educate other people. It’s not the only way to respond, and it’s certainly not going to fix our society, but it breaks the silence and it counts in it’s own way. I spent some personal time yesterday reflecting, writing & strumming. Here are the lyrics and a clip:
We only want the same things that you’ve got,
but we pay much more.
What will it take for you to recognize our worth?
From the time that the drum was silenced,
our desires stirred
for us to matter and our voices to be heard.
Now you can watch,
but you see what you want to see.
You can hear the screaming,
but are you listening?
Every moment, we’re moments away
from another tragedy.
Does that matter to you?
Because it matters to me.
©Maya E. Hairston, 2016