The first annual Black Music Honors was a victorious event that should be celebrated internationally as it illustriously praised cultural achievements and monumental successes of artists and music industry leaders worldwide. Nashville, also known as Music City, will soon hold the key to an expected world renown museum that will honor Black Music 365 days a year. It will be known as the National Museum of African American Music and is set to open in 2018.
Expressed all throughout the magical night, was the notion that people should know Nashville isn’t just country music. Moreover, Black Music is a music of all genres: country, pop, gospel, bluegrass, blues, hip-hop, folk and so much more. Melodious tunes floated through the air of the Tennessee Performing Arts Center’s Jackson Hall enticing us all to dance, cry, laugh and make history. After all, music does have the power to evoke all emotions and heal all hearts. Ledisi and Malcolm-Jamal Warner led the audience through the momentous night of legendary honorees including Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Big Daddy Kane, Clarence Avant, Paster Shirley Ceaser, Dionne Warwick and Stax Records.
I, like, many of you are just being introduced to this new happening in Music City. Therefore, it is my prerogative to lay out the red carpet to you through this blog about how awesome it is to appreciate real music and commemorate it through a national museum. I’ve always had dreams of covering a red carpet, but my dream was written, sealed and delivered when I got the opportunity to aid in the celebration and publicity of the Black Music Honors. I’ve been around the music industry my whole life with my father promoting such artists as Prince, Selena Johnson, Bobby Womack, K-Ci and JoJo, Mint Condition, Archie Bell and the Drells, Tyrone Davis and much more. Though my father wasn’t present on this stellar night, I carried this warmth in my heart that he too played a vital role in the production and promotion of Black Music.
Black Music should be honored as it has laid down the tracks for major motives and movements. It’s timeless tunes that we charade to at weddings, reunions, protests, cultural events and more should be celebrated every day. For the last couple of decades, June has been celebrated as African-American Music Appreciation month. It was decreed by President Jimmy Carter in June of 1979 as Black Music Month. On May 31, 2016, President Obama proclaimed the meritorious month as African-American Music Appreciation Month.
He declared, “Songs by African-American musicians span the breadth of the human experience and resonate in every corner of our Nation ― animating our bodies, stimulating our imaginations, and nourishing our souls. In the ways they transform real stories about real people into art, these artists speak to universal human emotion and the restlessness that stirs within us all. African-American music helps us imagine a better world, and it offers hope that we will get there together.”
Live tribute performers of this first year’s event definitely helped in this mission of togetherness and commonality. Soon, television audiences will be able to experience this new dawn of accolades on behalf of Black Music Honors. That list of must-see performers includes Andra Day, Tina Campbell, Chubb Rock, Stokley Williams, Ann Nesby, The S.O.S. Band, Jekalyn Carr, The Temptations Review feat. Dennis Edwards, Kool Moe Dee and more.
During production breaks, I sat in awe of what I thought I knew about Black Music. There’s so much to learn, so much to experience, so much to be proud of, so much to be a part of. I could hear Kid Cudi’s lyrics, “This is the soundtrack to my life” as I sat there reminiscing on how music, in general, has been such a vital part of all of our lives. The National Museum of African American Music will be a place where we can not only celebrate joyful noise but a place where we can study the derivation of Black Music. It will truly be an honor, just to say, “I’ve been to this miraculous place that inspires the masses.”
It is without further a due that I pledge my accordance with President Barack Obama’s proclamation: “NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 2016 as African-American Music Appreciation Month. I call upon public officials, educators, and all the people of the United States to observe this month with appropriate activities and programs that raise awareness and foster appreciation of music that is composed, arranged, or performed by African Americans. IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirty-first day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand sixteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and fortieth.”
This blog also appeared on Huffington Post.
For more information about the National Museum of African American Music, click here.
Black Music Honors will air in Nashville, on WTVF-NewsChannel 5 on Sunday, September 4, 2016 at 3:00pm (CST). The show will premiere nationally on the Bounce TV Network, Friday, September 23, 2016 at 9:00pm (EST) and will re-air on Sunday, September 25, 2016 at 11:00am (EST). The show will run in syndication on Bounce and Aspire between September 23 – October 9, 2016.
Music City felt the vibes of English singer-songwriter-guitarist, Corinne Bailey Rae as her voice reverberated through the small crevices of the packed crowd. It’s wonder how international artists make their mark in cities all over the world. Though music is universal, it must be an adventure to Bailey Rae as she spreads her rhythmic lyrics to very receiving audiences internationally.
Bailey Rae showed Nashville a sultry, spiritual performance of her latest album, The Heart Speaks in Whispers. The infamous Cannery Ballroom hosted her soothing notes as she belted them out, line by line. It’s been said her music has the relaxing feel of coffee-shop music which alludes to awesome wonder that the historic Cannery building once served as a coffee-grinding place. Perhaps, this connection is spontaneous or perhaps this is part of the puzzle that perfectly plugs artists into the exact place they need to be. The irony. Past performers of this legendary venue include Adele, Lenny Kravitz, Chris Stapleton, Bon Jovi, Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings and more.
The two-time Grammy Winner gave Music City a vivid show through crowd interaction. Her show narration took everybody in the historic venue, not on an international journey, but on an internal journey. Songs like, “The Skies Will Break” shared motivational messages with a cohesively singing audience that figuratively raised the roof of Cannery Ballroom. “Like a Star” from her self-titled, breakthrough album, Corinne Bailey Rae, took the historic music hall to a lounge of love.
It’s the Corinne Bailey Rae experience that helped many of us realign our days of the week. It is safe to say, not a soul in the house left unappeased. Bailey Rae just released a series of podcasts that you may find beneficial as she delves even deeper into her thoughts and therapeutic ways in which she utilizes the power of music. On the first podcast of the series, Bailey Rae says “I’m going to take you on a journey through the themes and personal experiences that came together to form the songs on my record, The Heart Speaks in Whispers.” Nature. The body. Intuition. And the subconscious. The healing power of music and the value of being present. These are ideas I’m passionate about.”
To hear her podcast, click here.
Mrs. Bailey Rae, we are delighted to hear more from you.
Signed, Your Music City Fan.
Read my Huffington Post blog here.
Nashville. A city known originally as Country Music USA is slowly shifting its aura to a more modern, contemporary approach of crossover artists. The launch of Live on the Green concert series proved this notion to be true with the soulful and fervent voices of Allen Stone and Andra Day. A different crowd surfaced to embrace the melodious reverberations of these world-renowned artists. One can’t help be entangled in their lyrical stories while gracefully meandering with the dance vibes of the crowd. It’s a new age of Nashville that is refreshing as more and more people stake their claims in a city also known as Music City USA.
According to Mayor Megan Barry, an estimated 10,000 people gathered for the free festival at Public Square Park. Mayor Barry, the first woman mayor of Nashville, made her debut, just before Andra Day graced the stage, sharing factual information about the festival. How does a city put on a free festival with international artists you may ask? It's under the direction of meritorious leadership who values it citizens, transplants and all, and hears their quality of life needs. Music does heal souls after all! The fact that various organizations and corporations work together to create community is remarkable in and of itself. Uber, RedBull, Transit Now Nashville, Double Tree, LP Field and more have all work together with the festival’s host, Lighting 100 to produce the free event since 2009. Each year, attendance increases and vendors fill the streets surrounding Public Square Park all becoming components of a historic shift in Music City USA.
Public Square Park is right in front of the Nashville Metro Courthouse. This park is home to justice for all in Nashville. Hosts of peaceful protests led by the #LGBT community and #BlackLivesMatter activists and much more have all gathered to digress and heal in this very location. If you visit, this plot of land, you can surely feel the liberation and validation, as its ambiance never seems to leave. Andra Day must’ve felt the emanation as she performed. Her raspy, powerful, unique voice told the stories of so many victims of injustice ranging from Sandra Bland to Philando Castille. An unexpecting and emotional audience gracefully received the vibes of the show and belted the words of Day’s most infamous song, Rise Up. Spectators and listeners throughout the halls of downtown heard Day’s words so pleasantly that no void soul was left. All could proclaim inspiration. All could proclaim Music City USA is the wave of the future.
For all of the friends who are wondering what's happening. Nashville is happening at Live on the Green for the next few weekends! Grace the green with your presence for the next few weeks. See the schedule here.
Photo Credits: Live on the Green
I don't know about you, but I don't look like much when I'm going to my usual workout regimes. I'm usually mentally taxed out and ready to turn in by the time I get to ready to turn-up at hot yoga or to my gym. I must say it's refreshing to see women like Gabby Douglas look normal! Shes sweating profusely day in and day out to achieve perfect stunts, flips, and tricks that would leave any of us with broken limbs, let alone, as some of you have called out, "raggedy edges." I can appreciate a real woman who's focus is not her appearance but her craft. Take notes, we could all get some inspiration here.
We, women, are hard on each other. I'm sure it takes confidence to achieve the kind of perfection these ladies exhibit on the world stage. Gabby Douglas is well aware of her hair and her heroism. Perhaps, we should find that same grounding in ourselves.
I'd like to propose a serious question: Why is it that men can fumble around on a football field with bolstering bellies and interesting hair, but no words are spoken? Moreover, Football players are hiding under helmets and padding. Gymnast literally bare it all!
As a pageant girl, the swimsuit competition is the scariest thing I ever did. I'm just not that comfortable showing my body to the world. Again, I'll resort back to my first premise, it's refreshing to see real women compete for what they want in bodysuits and as bare as they can come with hair in a bun, minimal makeup, and chalked bodies. Gabby Douglas isn't hiding from you. She's sharing with you that it's okay to be bare it all and be you. Find that same grounding in yourself!
Workout videos of the past and present show women in full faces of makeup and perfectly styled hair. Truthfully, these very videos create distortions of reality that make women feel inadequate and cause negative commentary against perfectly skilled Olympian,Gabby Douglas. I'd rather be in a gym full of any kind of women than to be tortured by unrealistic expectations of a workout video.
I guarantee that if I walked on that world stage, I'd be picked apart for various flaws. I can appreciate Gabby Douglas for being real. For making me feel like, it's okay to be real too. Gabby Douglas is the complete package of everything!
It's been known for Olympians to get endorsements for cereal boxes, etc. I suggest we all buy a deluxe box of Gabby Douglas Everything?! Perhaps we will attain some of her most prized qualities: Confidence, Poise, Determination, Charisma and the list goes on!
That persuasive voice that talks us all into feeling like we are aliens in a perfect world is exactly how I describe it. It’s the daunting music that plays and tension that we feel before doubtful lyrics start to chorus in:
Am I ready for this?
What if they say this about me?
But, they don’t know the truth about the who, what, when, where and why…
Who do I think I am to be so bold?
It’s called impostor syndrome, and no one person is excluded from its grappling clinch.
I’ll never forget my first time stepping into the pageant world. I was 4 years old. The day of my pageant, my mom was still making finishing touches on my dress, styling my hair and applying a minuscule amount of makeup. I’d been playing with my four front, top teeth as most kids do at that age. They were loose and wiggly and quite frankly, I didn’t understand their importance at that moment and probably for good reason. I tugged and wiggled all 4 teeth right out of my mouth just hours before the pageant. I don’t remember my mom freaking out, and she would’ve never expressed her negative digressing of my new found smile anyway, but I simply didn’t have a care in the world that I was now the snag-tooth pageant hopeful. That night I got on stage without all four of my front teeth, and I left all my talents on the stage. I walked away with 1st Runner up in Little Miss Humboldt.
Despite what you may know, that was a pretty big deal and a major accomplishment in a town population of fewer than 8,000 people. The point is, as a kid, I had no impostor syndrome because I had no awareness of my flaws. There was no voice telling me what was wrong and how the world may perceive me. However, the older we get, we become aware of our imperfections, and if you’re human and we all are, feelings of inadequacy may cloud you at times.
If you’re sitting behind your screen right now, saying, “no,not me.” I’ve got news for you, you must be anointed to some miraculous, immortal degree. I’ve worked with big-wig people who still wonder how the world views them. Truthfully, it’s inevitable to avoid. It's reality. If I were sporting my 4-year old smile at the current age of 26, someone might assume a plethora of negatively connoted reasons why. Naturally, my impostor syndrome would commence.
The key to succeeding your impostor syndrome is talking to yourself in a more pleasant, convincing voice. I like to pretend that Morgan Freeman is talking to me because he’s someone who convinces us all how great a variety of different platforms are from the Olympics to American Express to Hillary Clinton. Find your voice, however, it sounds. Once you train yourself to hear this voice the loudest, you will find yourself channeling a more productive, vibrant, nonchalant spirit.
Sharon Jones, a world renown, musician recently told Rolling Stone Magazine: “In the 1990s, a record producer told her she was "too fat, too black, too short and too old." "I looked at myself and saw ugliness," she said.
“Jones retreated from music, taking various jobs that included two years as a corrections officer at Riker's Island prison.” Sharon said that taking this job fostered her on stage persona: “fierce and demanding respect.” She said, “The inmates didn’t scare me. I had to put a mean face on, but it went away in a second."”
She said, “I told myself, God blessed you with a gift, use your gift.” It was her inner voice that led her to a remarkable musical career. To all of you, it wasn’t until Sharon’s 40's that her persistence paid off! So, listen up, your inner voice is so important. It’s okay to listen to the impostor in your head, but don’t let it be the reason you aren’t your best self in every situation!
Here are 3 more tips to dealing with that vicious visiting voice:
1. Stay in your own lane
2. Expect Outside Commentary
3. Tread through Fierce Waters
The things I write about are the love of my life and the life of my love!