Sippin on Some SZA

I just heard SZA's latest song, "Drew Barrymore" the other day, and that she's getting ready to release a new album, CTRL! 

I've been keeping up with SZA for years, and I'm liking her growth! Love her fashion sense, songwriting, voice, and big hair

1st video is the music video for one of my favorite songs by her, "Babylon":

2nd video is her recent live performance of her new song, "Drew Barrymore":

**Edit: Sza has since released a music video for the single, which features an apropos cameo by Drew Barrymore, and is featured below!**

What You Say To Me?

Aaaahhhh if only I had a dollar for every time someone asked me if they could "touch my hair?"

No one wants, or should be made, to feel like a novelty toy. There is a difference between appreciation/admiration and fetishization. Thank you Solange for using your creativity to make a simple, but profound statement!  

This song is laid-back, but groovy! This video is BEAUTIFUL! Thank you for showcasing the versatility of natural African hair! Also, showing versatility in fashion and dance/movement! African culture across the diaspora is rich and diverse!

Gaga for Gaga! Superbowl LI Halftime Show!

I have recently regained my appreciation for Lady Gaga. She really is a true pop artist, and I'm glad she's out here kicking @$$ and taking names! I've watched this Superbowl halftime performance several times, and every time I watch it I'm engaged and happy to see her!

I love artists who stay true to who they are no matter the setting. Gaga stayed true to Gaga throughout this performance. I love that she goes into the audience to have physical contact with fans, shouts out her parents, and has unexpected leaps in the beginning and end of her performance - she keeps you guessing!

Thank you for your quirkiness, your AMAZING vocals, flamboyance and outrageousness! Go Gaga!

A Clue For the Clueless ...

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
— Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Ooookay *sigh* ... Chrisette Michele has caught a lot of heat for agreeing to perform at Trump's inauguration, and for good reason.

I have followed Chrisette over the course of her career; this is not the first time she has done something confusing, but this particular situation is a bit unnerving.

There are reasons to take the opportunity, such as:

  • Exposure
  • $Money$
  • A Sense of High-Esteem/Bragging Rights - "Inauguration" is a BIG thing to add to an artist's resume...

Please notice I wrote a "sense of high-esteem"...

These reasons are cliche, but they are reasons nonetheless. Even with these 3 points (and there are probably others), in this case, there are still a ton of clear reasons to NOT take the gig. So many that instead of listing them, I have included a video that goes through them in depth. Not only is the YouTuber evocative, but for real, for real ...

I don't even want to begin to get into the list myself because it's so long that it could stand on its own as a think piece.

Check out the video below, and continue reading afterward!

As an artist, it can be easy to say "yes" to every gig offer, especially the more an artist loves to perform. Nevertheless, sometimes you have to say "NO".

Digressing briefly, I find it interesting that a lot of artists (Chrisette, especially) mention "being able to reach/connect with people" in their reasons of why they love performing, BUT get upset when they are held accountable for not acknowledging their audience. I mean if you value the connection you have with your supporters, show it! Chrisette put out a statement that she is acting as a "voice for voiceless". As far as I'm concerned, Chrisette has not only been silent regarding issues outside of herself, but she (arguably) has acted as an agent for the "Trump Agenda".

Without a doubt Chrisette Michele's audience is mostly comprised of "the voiceless": people Trump has condescended, disclosed intention to disable [in some form or fashion], and now is utilizing his power to follow through on those intentions -

Just today (Jan. 24 - Day 2 of Trump's official "president" status) Trump signed acts to approve the Keystone and Dakota Access Pipelines ...

Audience aside, Trump has made statements and actions that would presumably offend Chrisette Michele, herself, to the point that she would decline. Chrisette did not display any sense of conviction, or social-consciousness in her inauguration performance. She contradicted her statement about being a voice, which she tried to support with a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

So okay ... you get to say you performed at the president's inauguration, but WHICH president did you help celebrate and welcome into the White House?

Chrisette's decision to accept the offer, as well as her reason to follow through with the performance, is unclear and naive. With artistry, it's imperative to have clear conviction and integrity. Your art should reflect the times, enhance your culture, and help push the culture forward. Your endeavors should highlight the status of your career, and be embarked upon with a vision to not only progress, but beyond that, excel.

Though the deed is done, there is still a lesson to be learned, especially for artists and public figures:

Be clear and consistent with your message. 

Also, deliver your message with compassion.

D'Angelo sets a great example in his performance of his song "The Charade" from his Saturday Night Live appearance last year. SNL, like the inauguration, is a MAJOR platform. If Chrisette came out on this tip ... this would be a different story.

Though Dr. King's quote is powerful, I think Chrisette's understanding and attempt to exemplify the sentiment of his quote was confused. Here is another quote with an analogy that might paint a clearer picture.

If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.
— Desmond Tutu

Us "mice" don't appreciate your pseudo-hippie/peacemaker approach to this situation, Chrisette.

Day By Day, and Night and Night!

This song has been STUCK in my head for some time now - I LOVE IT!

I always have enjoyed it, but lately this song has really met me where I'm at in terms of what my ears have been lending themselves to ... 

Personally, The System is underrated, but not by my mom! Shout out to her for introducing this band to me! 

A Gift of Love

We are trying
To say thank you
Through the message of
All the songs that
We’re giving you
All love
Is our music
Take this love we have
As a sign of our gratitude

We wanna thank y’all
Gift of love
And your faith in us
Your gift of love
— Kool & the Gang

Art (in this case, music) is a gift that keeps on giving, in many respects.

An artist's talent is often referred to as their "gift". Artists create something that they give to their audience. In the case of music, the audience gives a listen, and it goes on from there ...

My music and this blog are my "gifts of love". I hope you receive them with that intention.

"Gift of Love" is featured on Kool & the Gang's 8th studio album, "Open Sesame".

"Gift of Love" is featured on Kool & the Gang's 8th studio album, "Open Sesame".

"Oh, this is the start of something good ... Don't you agree?"

In the spirit of starting this blog, I've got some musings in mind around themes like ...

  • starting something new ...
  • introductions ...
  •  "Welcome" ...

First musing, is in the title of this post - a lyric from Gavin Degraw's first single ("Follow Through") from his first album, "Chariot".

I've loved this song since I first heard it! It has played a significant and symbolic role in my life, helping set the tone for new relationships. Check out the music video below!