Monday, February 15, 2016

MUSIC MONDAY: Lost In The Movement

 "An artist's duty, as far as I'm concerned, is to reflect the times."- Nina Simone

Our girl Nina was a true talent forever etched in history and her music and spirit remain in our hearts.

I'm sure many of you have seen "What happened Miss Simone?" via Netflix. If you haven't, you're in for a treat and a greater understanding of the magnificence that is Nina.

I found Nina's dedication to the Civil Rights movement commendable and thought Nina's involvement is one that should be constantly recognized and discussed.

The music of the civil rights movement was instrumental providing the soundtrack, inspiring the people and simply enough... promoting the cause. The music got out the message. In Nina's case, her music expressed what I imagine was the consensus of the people.

In the Netflix documentary we learned about Nina's mental illness and we are left with the assumption that her illness explains her total consumption in the movement. Not only was she dedicating her time and and art but her mind and spirit were very much so invested. Whenever your total mind, body, and spirit is involved in something or someone, it's a dangerous space to be in. Her mental illness seemed to only swell her passions to the point where it was almost impossible to live a healthy and socially functional life. Can you imagine empathizing too much? What if you felt every single blow of all your peers and you carried your own burdens in addition to every one else's.

It's just too much for one woman, even a queen.

Like Nina, there have been several other artists dedicated and maybe even lost in the movement.

I immediately think of Fela. If you don't know him, he's a great idol to read up on. *BHM fact check time*
Fela Kuti was a Nigerian musician and artist(an amazing one) who decided his music would always represent the people and the fight for equality in his home and abroad. He let the rest of the world know what was going on in Africa. Fela was a no nonsense man. He called out the corrupt leaders and often literally went to war with the oppressors. Fela was a natural born leader and the amount of people that followed him is outstanding honestly. Was he "lost" in the movement? I don't know about all that but his lifestyle was one that paralleled the civil rights movement and it was evident in the music. There were things that happened during his life that changed him forever. *Sidenote: Speaking of Fela's lifestyle, he was a no-nonsense man but what he was not was a one woman man. Fela did die from HIV/AIDS. Whether you want to charge that up to the movement or the lifestyle is subjective. What can not be denied is the music. You must listen for yourselves.

Being "lost" in the movement also brings on eerie thoughts of the 23- year- old Black Lives Matter activist, Marshawn McCarrel who committed suicide last week. There's some speculation that McCarrel was depressed. Before his death, McCarrel posted, "My demons won today, I'm sorry." on his Facebook page. He was not known as an artist but as an activist. His work in the community speaks for itself and his legacy outlives him.

These individuals are not here to see their impact on the world but the fact that I'm discussing them speaks to their heavy influence and their honorable dedication.

When you think music to the movement, you must mention...
from back in the day...
James Brown
Bob Marley
Billie Holiday
Miles Davis
Today's artists
Beyonce' (Umm Formation hello!)
Kendrick Lamar
J. Cole
Who else?


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