I’ve wanted to do a cover of “Redemption Song” for years, but as is usually the case, life got in the way and I have been distracted by a million other things. As luck would have it, I was able to see The Wailers perform here in my neighborhood at SOPAC- The South Orange Performing Arts Center a few years ago and they did “Redemption Song.” I love all of Bob Marley’s songs that I’ve heard, but this particular one is my favorite. It is still so relevant and timely today. I finally sat down and practiced it last October to perform at a local Green Day event hosted annually in my town.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have a lot of time to work on it since I was still playing and rehearsing with Dollar Store Riot, and when I played it for my husband, he was so critical of my rendition that I couldn’t even play through the song once and decided to scrap the idea. Fast forward to January 2018, when a new Open Mic event was announce at a local music store called Finlay & Gage. Even though I am not performing live much at the moment because I’m concentrating on writing songs for my new album, I decided to dust off “Redemption Song” again and do a rendition at the Open Mic on February 3rd. The timing couldn’t be better as Bob Marley embodies the spirit of the Black Lives Matter movement and worked during his lifetime to achieve peace, love and equality for all.
The fact that today is also Valentine’s Day is also great timing as I just finished recording the video and editing it last night. I wasn’t planning on releasing it for Valentine’s Day, but I think the song is perfect for this day as it is also about love and self love too. I of all people know how important it is to “free our minds” and “emancipate yourselves from mental slavery.”
Not that the years before this were much easier for people that care about the state of humanity, but this past year in America has been a trying experience to say the least. Even though I am grateful to not be starving, homeless or destitute, I have still managed to make myself sick over this past election – both mentally and physically. It is so difficult to not let this stuff get inside you and destroy your sense of peace and well being — especially when you have brought children into this world and are concerned for their future.
I could go on for pages and pages about my health struggles and mental struggles. Believe me, I would love to just get it all out on paper as a therapeutic exercise, but I will spare you the details and just say that I am working on sleeping more. Also, to be honest, I am avoiding the news stories beyond a fleeting glance so that I can overcome the insomnia and sickness to get stronger and work for change. As bleak as things often seem now, I think my mother is right when she says that these forces of evil and greed are bringing the forces for good out more than ever. The Black Lives Matter, Our Revolution and Me Too movements are proof of that. Sometimes when you are house cleaning, you have to disturb a few infestations to have a healthier environment to live in.
On a side note, I also just received a message from The Sanders Institute with links to some great content (See excerpts from the message below)
Black History Month is about celebrating the work and achievements of African Americans. We need more than a month to do this. Black history is part of American history, yet it is woefully missing in our history books.
Our Fellows at the Sanders Institute have been dedicated to educating about African American history–the men and women who have inspired them to continue to fight for justice in America.
This documentary, co-produced by Founding Fellow Danny Glover, was created using archival footage from the Black Power movement including interviews with prominent leaders, such as Stokely Carmichael, Bobby Seale, Angela Davis and Eldridge Cleaver. It serves as a reminder that the fight is not yet over.
In this article, Ben Jealous describes the life and activism of Frederick Douglass, a pioneer for civil rights. He traces Douglass’ legacy and spirit through to modern events: “Douglass’ influence was in the actions of lawyers who flocked to American airports to help immigrants caught in Donald Trump’s Muslim ban. We saw it in the marchers who descended upon Charlottesville, Va., to say no to the Ku Klux Klan…”
Senator Turner at the We Will Not Be Moved Rally: In her speech, Senator Turner calls on the crowd to not be discouraged by the situation in which they find themselves. Rather, they should look back at where they and their ancestors have come from, be proud and gain courage from that struggle and many of the successes that have led to a better, still imperfect, world.
Black History Month encourages us to understand, learn about, and celebrate the entirety of our history in America. Please join us in educating and informing all Americans of the many accomplishments of Black Americans, not just this month but every other month of the year too.
The Sanders Institute
And if this is all too cerebral for you, at least go check out the new Black Panther superhero movie because we definitely need more superheroes of all kinds!
Peace and Happy Valentine’s Day on Ash Wednesday during Black History Month!
Note: As I was busy uploading this video and blogging about it, unbeknownst to me until a few hours later, the 18th school shooting was taking place in America. I have since written another blog post (or more like a rant) about this here https://wp.me/p4sBf9-is.