Technology and globalization: Where have our neighborhoods gone?

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


Language, thoughts, life

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.

There’s that.

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,



“She Knew” A short story

As I’ve been listening to the album (which will be out SO SOON), and thinking about what I want to say about all the injustice in the world, I decided to try my hand at a narrative with my album and my screen play, “Parisian Dreamin”. Each character will have their own story, and the songs will also go with the stories. Here is the first, “She Knew”. Subscribe to our mailing list to get each short story and more updates about the album and all other things soul nerd! 

This day hadn’t meant anything to Akiva in several years. After getting back from Paris, working with her aunt for the Black Paris uprising, and coming back, immediately working in Baltimore, she knew. She knew that something was going to happen. She didnt know it would take this long, but she could feel something boiling under the surface. All the tell tale signs; Twitter had been set ablaze in the past couple days, people fighting in the streets for weeks, clashing with the police, it’s happening.

As she sat up in her bed she looked to her left and remembered him. He was so alive, so passionate about life and about freedom. He enjoyed good food, good music and great sex. Akiva rubbed the pillow and turned away. When would she see him again?  She didn’t know if it would be behind bars, or hanging from a tree. All she knew was her fight was to make his capture not in vain.

She turned on the t.v. and saw that the tanks were coming in.

After years and years of doing this and working with her aunt Ci Ci, she knew, she knew today would  be different. She knew preparing herself for the rest of her life may be just preparing herself for today. July gave her a call.  July warned Akiva not to do anything irrational, but Ju Ju knew. She could feel it over the phone. Akiva was ready. Akiva knew that the work that had been done up to this point was for this day. The people were tired, the people were fed up. No longer listening to what the news, what the radio, what their pastors, what their religions leaders had to say. All they wanted was freedom. The only way to get freedom is to take it. She knew this wouldn’t be easy, so she decided to start writing her message. Maybe if written those that were against it would understand, she knew that there wasn’t much hope in that, but maybe then the ones were with it would understand better.

She stood up, went to her computer at the window and typed,

If bravery is found through love, let me never tire of the act, let me choose to be brave each day. If words spoken in hope and grace mean more than those spoken out of envy, let me know them of the former and less of the latter. Let darkness fade on the coward. Let light shine, let love glow. Even if painful, let it be triumphant in my heart. I pledge allegiance to love.

She hoped that writing this and sending it to the right people would get out in time. So she pressed send. Retweet after retweet after video after facebook share came. And as she prepared herself for the worst, the first bomb fell. This was the second civil war, and her fight, her allegiance, were in love.

Jeanette Berry

What it look like….

Haven’t written anything on here in a while. I decided to share some words I’m working through. What do you think? It’s called “What it look like” 
y’know what freedom looks like?

Freedom is wearing sneakers onstage when everyone thinks you should wear heels.
Freedom is not wearing make-up.
Freedom is wearing make-up.
Freedom is wearing what you want no matter what size.
Freedom is exploring your sexuality honestly.
Freedom is opening up your heart.
Freedom is art.
Freedom is curly hair in a straight haired world.
Freedom is pink lipstick with yellow teeth.
Freedom is pursuing your happiness while respecting anothers’ pursuit.
Freedom is a hopeful heart.
Freedom is security.
Freedom is risk taking.
Freedom is loving
Freedom is bravery.
Freedom is courage.
Freedom is being uncomfortable.
Freedom is




1. the quality in a person or society that arises from a concern for what is regarded as excellent in arts, letters, manners, scholarly pursuits, etc.

2. that which is excellent in the arts, manners, etc.

3. a particular form or stage of civilization, as that of a certain nation or period: Greek culture.

4. development or improvement of the mind by education or training.

5. the behaviors and beliefs characteristic of a particular social, ethnic, or age group: the youth culture; the drug culture.

6. Anthropology. the sum total of ways of living built up by a group of human beings and transmitted from one generation to another.

When I think of culture in the United States, I unfortunately do not see this as much as I’d like to. So much of our time is spent arguing about things we don’t like when we should be building things up that we do like.
The term art, the term artist is thrown around so easily these days, just like the word love. What does love really mean? Love is not simply a feeling, but an action. Art, the idea of art, the art society has been ruled by people telling us what art should be. While, I’m a firm believer that “art” should still be held in high esteem, it doesn’t mean that you need the stereotypical schooling to be an artist, but you have to value what it is you are doing. I know there are many people that create in spit of creating. Almost poking fun at the idea of creating, at the idea of putting soul into products. Soul is what separates art from creations to me. Putting life into your creations makes art for me. There needs to be a palpable presence of care, a presence of vulnerability to make something human. Why do we create? Who do we create for?
So much of our media and world is focused on the fame, the culture of fame and money. Where are our artistic traditions as a society? Appalachian music and art, Creole music and art, blues, jazz, grunge, rock n roll, hip hop. But if it’s not selling, we don’t invest in it. If we can find the profit, we will invest.
Is being a well rounded, open minded individual important to us?
Arts Education is being taken away in schools so quickly? Why? More and more we are removing our humanity. What makes us human? Our ideas, or thoughts, our creations-and yet, these are the things they are taking away from us. Some might say, and I might agree, that we are trying to be pacified. That if we just keep by routine, never explore, never question, never up end, never nurture difference. Why can we not love? Why can we not appreciate differences? I believe we cannot because we are not encouraged to think, discuss, be vulnerable, be wrong, appreciate those who are better, different, worse or in different circumstances. And I believe that all of these human actions come from the arts. When we lose them, we lose ourselves. When we lose ourselves, we will buy what they sell. When we buy what they sell, we are their slaves. When we become slaves without knowing it, we don’t believe in ourselves or any better.
You want to change things? You want revolution? You want acceptance? Have the conversations, create, work through your ideas, create based on how you feel and what you understand, then listen to others and how they work through their thoughts and art. But…. if all we are worried about is money…
We’re already enslaved.

It’s about that time…

     I am a follower of Jesus Christ. I am not perfect, which is why I lean on the Son of God to help me each and everyday. Jesus was a leader, whether you believe in him being the Messiah, he was a leader who wanted to spread his agenda for the sake of the people. Jesus wanted nothing but for us to live in love and do as his Father told us to do. It was not about his power, it was not about his wealth, or fame or fortune. Why has this style of person gone out of style? My lenten covenant is to stop comparing my life with others and live gratefully. I want to live in MY lane, live in my gifts and blessings, and not live comparatively to someone else in their journey.
     As we approach the end of Black History Month, the past behind us, the future before us and the present in our midst, I want to acknowledge something; The individual is powerful. The sum of the whole is less than the sum of it’s parts in terms of the people vs. the governing structure. Governing structure does not only deal with our politics and government, but trickles down to our entertainment and education as well. When the power of the individual is met with the power of community, we begin to see results. Governing bodies have always wanted it their way to uphold their comfort while in power. But, what is this “power”? It feels as if we have been “trained” to believe that we have no voice, no say. The reason why we have hip hop today was because people didn’t want to be invisible and silent any longer, they couldn’t be, their lives depended on speaking up.
     Now’s the time. As we walk each and everyday into the future, we have to look and make choices. What community do we stand with? What do we believe? What is it, that, while we are alone, fuels us to get out of bed another day? Then we continue this conversation with ourselves, as we reflect, read, research and listen. I do not want to tell you how to think, just to think. I do not want to sway your view any way other than simply opening your eyes to a view that is not your own.
     So what do you think? What lane are you in? Where do you believe we should be? What are your gifts and blessings that could push us closer to that place?