Culture….

Culture:

noun

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.
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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?
*JB*

Smells Like Teen Enron: Pandora Sues Songwriters Again. Why?

Interesting.

The Trichordist

Pandora is currently suing BMI songwriters over the rate it will pay for the next 4 or 5 years.

Pandora wants to pay 1.75%.  BMI songwriters would like them to pay 2.5%. In 2014 Pandora paid BMI $16.1 million dollars.   So basically Pandora is using the entire apparatus of the federal courts to get a reduction of less than $7 million dollars in 2015.  If it’s a 4 year deal that means Pandora saves $28 million dollars (Pandora growth has virtually stopped).  Court cases like this have typically cost the parties tens of millions of dollars.  This does not include the millions it costs taxpayers.

But let’s look at these numbers  in context to see just how ridiculous this case is.

(source for all of these charts are SEC filings and court testimony)

Pandora revenues in 2014 vs amount paid to BMI songwriter revenues  

Screen Shot 2015-02-12 at 1.02.27 PM

BMI represents about 48% of all…

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There is so much going on….

There is a lot happening in the world around us, and in our own little worlds.

It’s been a while since I updated the blog, and I knew I had to write to you whether I’m ready to write or not.

Between the Grammys, Chapel Hill Killings, Fashion week and everything else going on in our daily lives, it’s hard to keep cool, to keep a calm spirit, to have an open heart and open mind.

It’s time for us to make time for love.

Yes, love. Yes, I’m talking about it again. Art is made about it, we make it ourselves, we live in it and we nurture it or we ignore it.

Not just the Valentine’s Day love, not just the romantic love, but the understanding who you are and respecting that and radiating that kind of love.

We need to have these discussions. Why is there so much hate, so much cultural theft, so much confusion? We haven’t taken the time to listen to one another. That’s love. Anyone who has been in a relationship or is in one, failed or otherwise will tell you that one of the most important things is COMMUNICATION. It is not always vocal, it is not always loud, it is not always written. Communication is present always, just as love is.

Can we stop for a moment, just to take time to think about what we love about ourselves.

I will give you that moment.

Have you got it?

Good, now, do you realize that somewhere in this large universe, someone is reading this and thinking at the same time as you are? You are connected in that small way. The humanity in all of us is finding the small things that create our similarities. It’s so easy to spot the differences, to create a fake idea of superiority. But the work comes in the loving.

Will you be doing that work today, tomorrow, the next moment? I will.

In other news, we are launching our website on February 22nd. 22 is my favorite number! Until then, head over to soulnerds.com and sign up for our newsletter!

Peace, Love and Music

JB

Thoughts to start the New Year

*I started this draft in September. I never got to it, and as I searched through my drafts, I found it, and thought it might be some interesting thoughts to start the New Year with. Share your thoughts and ideas below the post. Happy New Year!* 

 

In dealing with life, and you deal with it if you are alive, whether we like to or not, we deal in relationships. Everything we do has an affect on someone or something else.

Let me say that again…

Everything we do has an affect on someone or something else. 

I’ve never had very healthy romantic relationships, and I’ve had some very unhealthy friendships (which are relationships please remember). Much of that has to do with me not understanding what I, my emotions and my time are worth. I believe it is our call to love people in this world, no matter who they are or what they believe. Sometimes you may dislike a person very much, that doesn’t mean you can’t love them. We need to learn to understand our role in our relationships, and step out of ourselves to try and understand what the other party is observing, going through or challenged with.

My belief is, if I am trying to be a good person, and treating you with respect, then our relationship has a healthy start. Now, if you can do this for me, and try to be a good person, then we have a healthy foundation.

But what happens when something goes wrong?

If you respect that relationship, you don’t just run away. First of all, YOU MATTER-ESPECIALLY TO THE PERSON YOU ARE RUNNING AWAY FROM! We may run away for many reasons, but we often run when we are afraid, when we do not understand how to handle a situation, or when we do not have control. I put that in bold purposefully.

We will never have full control over our lives, what we do have control over is the way we react to situations.

That shows who we are a person.

If you respect the other party in your relationship, you do your best to communicate everything in the situation. Some may say that’s wrong, but I think we’ve learned many social “norms” because of people wanting to be in control. Relinquish that control and listen and be in the moment.

It is my duty as a friend to love on you, and as my pastor said this sunday, to “put on Christ” to aid you.

Can we learn how to love again? Not just that disney love, that real, everyday love and passion that creates stronger nations and beautiful cultures and a world of hope and peace. Can we? It starts with you and your relationships. What can you do to better yourself, relationship, situation and this world?

I love you.

JB

Happy Holidays

Wherever you are, whatever you are doing-stop, take a moment to say Thank You. Stop and say I love you to yourself. Breathe.

I wanted to record some videos of christmas songs, but I didn’t get the chance to. I am emotionally fatigued by a lot. So I decided to re-release my first EP and get the first single to the masses for our new album, Allegiance to Love.

Here is the link!

https://soulnerds.bandcamp.com

This will probably also serve as the last post of 2014. Thank you to all of you who engaged with me this year! Let’s do it bigger next year!

JB

To my Future Husband….from me as a future wife.

My love,

Know that as you are reading this, I love you. You are a blessing on my life and others.

There are some things that I want to make sure you always remember:

1. We are a team. Between you, me and God we have NOTHING to worry about. Do you remember what we said the day we wed? Hey, let’s continue to talk about those things okay? It’s important that we stay connected.

2. Keep pushing me; spiritually, mentally, emotionally. I will keep pushing as well! I only want your best. I know we’ll both grow and change, but if we are in this together, and we continue to work as a team, we will continue to be on the same page. Help me work out, help me think more deeply, help me pray more passionately.

3. You are handsome. But guess what? your mind, spirit and heart make you THAT much more handsome.

4. I love you, to the moon, till the end of time. My love for you is unconditional. Even when I’m mad and want to throw things at you, it’s because I love you.

5. What’s most important to us is for us to know and believe and grow in only.

6. I love you.

For the moment darling, that’s all I’ve got to say. I hope your day/morning/evening is going wonderfully, and if you need anything, never hesitate to ask. My heart and ears are always open for you, unless we are in our separate alone time.

Love you.

J