Posts Tagged ‘music activism’
If you have been to http://katinaraestapleton.com in the last day or so, you might have noticed something a little different. My blog “Song-in-Action” has been retired and replaced by my new blog “From the Desk of KRSProf.”
A few weeks ago, I was looking at my Song-in-Action posts and realized two things – the first is that I wasn’t blogging very regularly and when I did blog, the posts were about lupus. That begged the question, why were there so many blogs about lupus on my blog about music and social activism? The answer seemed really clear; I have had a change of focus. So I rolled with it and made two major adjustments:
- I finally created a freestanding lupus blog so that I would stop hijacking the blog on my http://katinaraestapleton.com with lupus posts! The new blog is called Butterfly Lessons (http://butterflylessons.com) and officially launches on Sept. 13, 2010 in honor of Invisible Illness Week (http://invisibleillnessweek.com/). The Butterfly Lessons blog is all about living a fabulous life with lupus. I hope everyone in the lupus community enjoys it and is inspired to live their life to the fullest. You can also follow my Butterfly Lessons tweets (as @Butterflylesson).
- I refocused the main blog on http://katinaraestapleton.com into a more eclectic blog that reflects my tendency to be interested in all sorts of things. Look out for From the Desk of KRSPRof to have posts on music, pop culture, politics, fashion, and anything else that strikes my fancy.
Hope you enjoy the changes,
“Music hittin’ your heart because I know you got soul” Public Enemy, Fight the Power
Lately I have been in an old school state of mind. My best friend from college convinced me to go see the Brand New Heavies last weekend at the Birchmere. I am so glad I went. It gave me the chance to fall in love all over again with the group’s ability to fill a room with sound and bring voice to everything from the ups and downs of love to the power of following your dreams.
I think my favorite song by Brand New Heavies is Brother Sister. The lyrics move me:
There’s no need to feel you’re on your own
Just let your intuition guide you through
Take one step toward what you believe
Don’t be afraid to make your move …
Don’t be scared go out there
Be strong go out there
To the real things that matter
‘Cause no one’s gonna hand’ em to you
On a silver platter
I left the concert thinking – “boy I need to listen to live music more often.” It inspires me. The right song can make you want to move mountains, save the world, and fight for causes that you believe in. That’s what this blog is really about – music serving as the inspiration or catalyst for individuals and communities to bring about social change.
When I think about social anthems that really were about shaking people up and pushing them towards action, I always come back to Public Enemy’s Fight the Power. Watch Here
The words are so . . . . well, powerful
Fight the Power
As the rhythm designed to bounce
What counts is that the rhymes
Designed to fill your mind
Now that you’ve realized the prides arrived
We got to pump the stuff to make us tough
From the heart
It’s a start, a work of art
To revolutionize make a change nothin’s strange
A couple of days ago, I received an email about tickets for an upcoming Public Enemy benefit concert to benefit a homeless shelter in DC. The group has been on my mind ever since (and in my ears, much love to DJ Dredd for putting PE in the mix at Bhangraween). For my readers that grew up during the height of Public Enemy, you remember how large the group’s presence was. Love them or hate them, the group had the energy and power to light things on fire with their music. I am really excited to see them in DC using their music to call attention to a problem that really needs the full force of America to solve it – youth homelessness.
So let me take a minute to plug the concert and the cause –
“Public Enemy’s Number One - While Public Enemy have made ground-breaking hip-hop since their start over 20 years ago, they’ve also done their fair share of raising awareness for political and social causes. In an effort to help fight youth homelessness, Public Enemy bring their bass-heavy, manic live show to D.C. this November. Those who saw them at this year’s Virgin Mobile FreeFest know that Chuck D, Flavor Flav and crew still dominate socially and sonically. Virgin Mobile Presents PUBLIC ENEMY To Benefit The Sasha Bruce House, a homeless youth shelter. @ G.W. Lisner Auditorium • Washington, D.C. November 18 7pm Doors”
So for $25 (plus all those fees) you can Purchase Tickets and be part of the PE family again while supporting a great cause. The Sasha Bruce Youthwork is a cornerstone of youth services to at risk children in DC. The Sasha Bruce House is the only open access shelter for youth in D.C. For more information on the Sasha Bruce House and other SB Youthwork programs see www.sashabruce.org.
Fight the Power People,
One of my favorite things to do is to support groups that empower young women. It’s a double-bonus for me when the organization is related to music. Black Girls Rock! is a nonprofit youth empowerment mentoring organization founded by celebrity DJ, Beverly Bond.
On Saturday, October 17, 2009, Black Girls Rock! is hosting the 4th Annual Black Girls Rock! Awards to raise money for the organization and give much love and respect to women (and one man!) who serve as inspiration and role models to young women of color.
It’s going to be a fantastic event and I just hate that I can’t make the round trip to NYC myself this weekend. If you are in NYC, make your way by to see co-hosts Regina King and Tracee Ellis Ross honor the achievements of
- Mary J. Blige – “Icon” Award
- Raven-Symoné - “Young, Gifted, and Black” Award
- Naomi Campbell – “Fashionista” Award.
- Janelle Monáe – “Who’s Got Next” Award
- Dr. Sonia Sanchez – “Living Legend” Award
- Dr. Mehret Mandefro – “Community Service” Award
- Iyanla Vanzant – “Shot Caller” Award
- DJ Spinderella, “Jazzy Joyce DJ” Award
- Anthony Hamilton, “Soul Brother #1? Award
Ticket information can be found at http://www.blackgirlsrockinc.com/Awards09/.
You can’t make it? You can still help by donating funds to help the organization continue its programming. For more information on their programs, including the The Black Girls Rock!/ScratchDj Academy Program, see http://www.blackgirlsrock.org/. You can also check out their blog or follow Black Girls Rock! on Twitter.
[Thanks BlackGivesBack for the heads up on this great organization]
Sometimes it seems like good manners are hard to come by. Recently in the US, we have seen a spate of public figures act a fool for no good reason. When watching the news, I would think to myself, didn’t anyone teach Kanye West good etiquette or sit Joe Wilson down with Roberts Rules of Order? While standards of conduct differ around the world, there seems to be a call to action around civility.
Today – October 10, 2009 – The Washington Post featured a project in Iraq that exemplifies Song-in-Action. Karim Wasfi, conductor of the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra, saw a way to link music and good manners as the country rebuilds. He created the Peace and Music Academy to “study music, and more important, etiquette in a war-ravaged country that at least for now seems to have forgotten some of its manners.”*
In addition to music, the Academy covers manners & etiquette, including how to behave in different social situations, how to dress appropriately, and how to speak and carry oneself.
How important are good manners for the future of Iraq? Consider the words of these Iraqi citizens:
- Hussein Hammoudeh: “Survival has had to come first . . . We forgot all about good manners. It wasn’t easy what we had to go through.”*
- Azal Abdel-Naseer: “People here forgot how to treat each other after the war.”*
My favorite quote about the Academy comes from a blog by the TheCatalystPoet on Current.com:
“In a country full of war and hate, there is a lighthouse of hope shining in the dark seas of uncertainty and unrest. As most change, the youth is bringing this about. Iraqi youth meet in the former embassy to learn about music and better themselves for peace.”
If you would like to learn more about the Peace and Music Academy (also referred to as the Academy of Peace through Art) check out these posts: Current.com, Washington Post, BBC and Christian Science Monitor.
“You have a choice in life. You can choose a weapon, a Kalashnikov, or you can try a musical instrument” Karim Wasfi in “Iraq’s Academy of Peace and Politeness.”
* All quotes in this blog, unless otherwise indicated, are from “After Years of War, a New Decorum” by Washington Post Foreign Service writer Nada Bakri, 10/10/2009.
I was raised in Bowie, Md. Last week, my mom received a call from my high school voice teacher Mrs. G asking if we wanted to join her for a recital today. Mom and I love Mrs. G, we’ve adopted her years ago as an honorary grandmother. So when she called, we said sure we’ll be there, no questions asked. The event turned out to be such a blessing – not only did I get to hear great music, I was able to particpate in an example of Song-in-action. The recital, “Teachers Perform!” was organized by the Music Teachers Association of Bowie. It had a music community (the music teachers) and a cause (raising scholarship funds for students to take music lessons and collecting food for the Bowie Interfaith Pantry and Emergency Fund).
If you would like to donate to either of these causes, check out their links above. The pantry is currently in need of school supplies, canned foods, and monetary contributions.
P.S. “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” Winston Churchill