With all that is happening in the world, I choose to be light. I choose to be beauty. I choose to be love Continue reading
There is nothing more constant in life than change. Since I last wrote you, I’ve lost two jobs; one from being fired, the other the business was liquidated. I’m doing my best to build my lesson studio, create new music, build new avenues for content to be consumed by those that need it the most, and learn more about me. Life isn’t easy. Bills, family, health, things can go wrong instantly. Nothing is certain and nothing is forever. Sometimes those words scare me. Music saved me. I used to laugh at that line before. It didn’t make sense to me. I never felt so desperate that I needed to be saved. I was looking at how “saved” can be interpreted. It saved me because it made me. I am myself, fully when I am singing, writing, educating about and with music. This is not all of me, but so much of me, that without it, I was lost. I needed to be saved from the world that everyone tells you should want. That wasn’t it for me. And music helped pave that way.
With that said, I had the opportunity this afternoon to sing at a Black History Month (yes a month late) at the Islamic Center of Long Island, which happens to be a 10 minute walk away from my home. I’m grateful for being in a town with so many different places of worship, and with so many different cultures calling Westbury home. Today, they were honoring a woman who I know and admire, Dr. Irene Betty Hylton. They also honored Senior Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby-If you don’t know her look her up. A wonderful friend and mentor, Fred Brewington was the keynote speaker and asked if I could accompany his speech with a song. This was an event that felt like a Who’s Who of Black Westbury. But in that room, as each person spoke. I felt this overwhelming feeling of peace and purpose. A slide show played in the background. Watching Shirley Chisolm, Rosa Parks, Coretta Scott King, all of these beautiful, intelligent, prolific women pass by on a screen made me scan the room. There were women in this room that were making Black history for their families, their communities, and their world. In a silence of my whole being, I wept, I prayed, I said Thank You to God, to my ancestors, to the universe, for placing such amazing Black women in my life. I spoke with someone the other night about being mixed, and how I like to identify myself. I told her I am a mixed race Black woman. I feel no need to qualify this statement. I am blessed to have seen all of these amazing Black women of all different shades and sizes growing up that colorism was not an issue for me. I understood my privilege, but I also understood the depth of the beauty of the Black woman both inside and out. I was reminded of that beauty when I was no longer constantly surrounded by it. I am determined to, in my life, surround myself with it. I am also determined to be like those women-myself. I realized that I know some of the mistakes that these women have made, and that does not tarnish my love for them. How can, then I think less of myself because of my mistakes if she is I?
Words; their importance and their strength were a large theme of todays celebration. I realized how important #sayhername is in that moment. Isn’t it frustrating, yet magnificent when we can become aware of something that affects us so deeply in an instant, in our own time? Think of people who you admire for one reason or another, you wouldn’t forget their name. Their name carries all that they are, because it is that name that we associate any story, memory, event, like or dislike. Our names are so important. Without them, we can be erased. Without them, we can be dehumanized. Without them we become abstract. With them, we are full, human, significant, and honored. When I say the name of someone I love, It’s as if it is a door to a memory bank of our shared experiences. This is such a beautiful thing, that the choice of not saying ones name, or changing ones name will be for me held with so much more significance than ever before.
This post seems all over the place, but know and understand that I’m so very grateful for my life, my gifts, my talents, my experiences, all of it. Life. I’m full and ready.
It’s not only about gentrification. But we are much more comfortable around those we are familiar with. How then do we grow as humans? This is where communities play an important role. Continue reading
At the beginning of last week, a friend began a conversation about how his friends do not support entrepreneurs. He spoke of how people would rather talk down to stepping out on your own and speak highly of those who … Continue reading
In the past month since I’ve posted, I’ve been elated with joy and beauty and then disheveled and broken. I’ve felt every emotion from love, angry, betrayal, denial, sadness, loneliness… so many emotions.
There is one thing that I’ve been paying attention to, maybe not perfectly, but paying attention to nonetheless; the words I use.
I found it terribly important to speak what I meant, and communicate in a manner that did not tear another soul down. So often insults and hate filled speech roll off our tongues and we don’t even blink an eye to them.
What does my opinion of someone have to do with ANYTHING to the point where I would speak negatively about them? Could you imagine if we got a wrinkle each time we speak badly of someone? Or gained a pound of weight?
I think in a way, we do. We send that energy, those vibrations out into the world, never to come back, only to radiate. But because we said it, we acknowledge it and we live it. That’s the problem. Why live in a world where your words tear others down? Why think negatively of someone? Especially when it’s superficial or opinions about someone?
Before you start gossiping about someone, before you start tearing another person down think of what those words could mean to you if you. Why do you feel that way about the person in the first place? Why do you believe that what you are saying is O.K. to be spoken?
Negative thoughts can enter our consciousness, but it is each of us who allow them to become thoughts and words. Think of how you could turn that language around to words that could encourage that person, or words that could change your perspective about that person.
Or, you could simply worry about yourself. You could deal with the negative thoughts and words that you create about yourself.
If what you said about someone else would make you furious if you heard someone say it about your child/mother/brother/father/husband/wife, maybe you shouldn’t say it at all.
Speak love into the world. Speak light into the world.
One word at a time.
With love and gratitude,
Originally posted on Jeanette Berry and the Soul Nerds:
If you know me, you know I talk and sing about love often. Romantic, platonic, familial, self, overwhelming – whatever kind of love it might be, I like to explore it.…
One of my favorite quotes from Erykah Badu is from the beginning of her song, Tyrone, where she explains, “Keep in mind that I’m an artist, and I’m sensitive about my sh!t…” It was the first time I’d heard someone acknowledge…
If you know me, you know I talk and sing about love often.
Romantic, platonic, familial, self, overwhelming – whatever kind of love it might be, I like to explore it.
I woke up this morning, the last day of winter break before classes begin tomorrow, in a small bed in a small apart in a small town. I woke up with the need, the desire to help people work through what love means to them on different levels and through different spaces in our lives.
As an educator of college-aged young minds, I find there to be a responsibility in making them think. It is not just about me giving answers, or me telling them my prospective, but how do I share moments with them, in hope that they can learn to think and express their thoughts? My first idea is that we must share in a safe space our likes, dislikes, opinions and perspectives. A friend and I speak often about music and good vs. bad, if there is a good vs. bad and what it all means. The one word that comes up so often is context. Everything in life happens in context. As an artist, some feel context should matter, some feel it shouldn’t. As a Black mixed Woman in the United States, context always plays a role in my day to day.
Love, for me, is accepting and honoring EVERYTHING about what it is you love. I love Black People. I love my Black culture. That means ALL of it, some stuff that I may find distasteful, some stuff I secretly bump to, but cannot let all my circles know, some stuff I praise unknowingly and some that you can’t tell me not to like! I love my curly hair. Not everyday do I like it, not everyday is it perfect, but those should not matter when it comes to love.
If I love you, it, that, him, she, they… whatever it is, my goal is to never degrade or dishonor that in which I love. I may not agree, I may not like, I may loathe something about it, but that does not mean stop loving it.
Loving something means helping it be its best, for itself, not for anyone or anything else. But this means, whatever you love, whoever you love has to know what’s best for it. This means, there has to be an honoring and a self love and appreciation that happens. Quiet times, educational times, exploring times, fun times, relaxing times, hard times; We are multi-faceted, life is not a straight path. You cannot expect to behave the same in every situation. You cannot expect everyone who you love to behave like you. You cannot expect everyone to love you. (Whatever you is at this point, place in any noun with the word “you”)
Love is a word. This word is used in so many ways. I just looked up the meaning of this word at dictionary.com-I have to say I did not love the definitions. Be careful how you use it. Context is important, so is intent.
Love, to me, is an idea, an action. With it, we can change the world, we can change our worlds. With it, we have the power to be better than ever imagined. It’s just about understanding it.
What is love to you? How do you express it? What is something that you love? What is something you don’t like about the thing that you love?
Hello Soul Nerd Family! I hope this finds you well! Just a little update. The album has been out for a little over a month and we’ve been getting such a great response from those who’ve purchased it! If you … Continue reading
It was the fall semester of her senior year. July decided at the beginning of her junior year to spend at least one semester overseas. She had already interned for several publishers and magazines in New York and North Carolina … Continue reading