About The Funk...

Observational Spittle from the mind of a man of color in his 40s, without the color added (most times). Come in, laugh, and you may learn something...

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Saturday, January 2, 2016

A tune to help life's swoon

I was going to write about this the other day while on break, but my loathing of my existence (self-imposed, I know) distracted me from the thought.

Those who know me are aware of my grand love of music.  I am a fan of all genres, from hip hop to country to classical to rock.  There are times where my car stereo is blasting Kendrick Lamar one moment, followed by Sinatra the next.  I believe that music is the universal way to connect people; a way to escape life's problems, even if it is for a few minutes at a time.

I have my headphones on as i write this, listening as "Say Something" by A Great Big World, with its soaring piano clearly lifting my low spirits.

But this song wasn't meant for my ears.

In my last book, 90 Things That Irritate The Sh.t Out Of Me​, I wrote a chapter about music and how it is another way it divides us.  I know this as fact, since I let it divide me from folks.  I believed that there was "white music" (rock, classical, country for example) and there was "black music" (hip hop, R&B, soul, jazz).  I've had many a debate about this subject with associates throughout the years, and up until i went to college I felt that any music that wasn't what I "knew" wasn't for me.

I eventually found out that I was depriving myself from some great songs.

CCR.  Clapton. Pink Floyd. Zeppelin. Metallica (who I thought were the devil's music; wait, that's KISS, isn't it?).  We won't even bing up country artists like Garth Brooks (the thing that hooked me into country), Brad Paisley (one of the best guitar players I've ever heard) and Toby Keith (despite his affinity for performing stone drunk it seems). These are just a small sample of folks I've discovered just in the past 15 years that I enjoy thoroughly today.  Don't get me wrong, out of the 23,000 songs I have in my collection, at least 50% of my tunes are either R&B/Soul or hip hop.  I am aware that culture plays a part in the music that you end up liking in your lifetime.

But here is the thing that I learned, and I wish others would too.  How do you expand the most powerful tool you have, the mind, if you refuse to open it?  If you simply stick to "what you know" because you believe it is the "right thing?" If we all just stuck what we "knew", we'd all be still suckling on our mother's test, wouldn't we?

I believe that is the only thing we were "pre-programmed" with when we first got here.

Music and its genres are necessary; I am aware that when it comes to the fact that music has different directions, separation like this is necessary.  But man, wouldn't you think that if some Caucasian bothered to actually listen to the raw stories (note: not the disrespect of women, which I never am cool with) hip hop artists have to tell based on the environments they were born into, they might not just think it is just the "songs of thugs"?  Or folks like Darius Rucker, a southern man of color who reinvented himself spinning the stories of Americana via country music? (Note, "Hootie" was nothing but a sneeze away from a country band, folks).  Music, whether it is telling a frivolous tale or taking up social matters, is a gift from God, not necessarily designed to divide us, but to unite us over a melody with poetry mixed in.  It is why we dance fast or slow, or put on our headphones in our camo pjs with a white t-shirt typing on a 6 year old MacBook to get your mind off things.

Division solves nothing.  Unity makes peace.

That is why I love music.

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