In today's edition of throwback Thursday, I want to acknowledge and give respect to the beloved social and musical icon that is Nina Simone. This morning, I came across the song
Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood and thought she would be a perfect example of what self love is. I grew up listening to her because she was a favorite of my mother, and her soul has always seemed so powerful.
Nina Simone was born in 1933 and was a singer, song writer, pianist, and social activist most known for music which took on elements of jazz, blues, folk, and gospel. She broke boundaries, and her career lasted over 2 decades before she passed in 2003. She sang about the true human experience: romance, relationships, heartbreak, joy, sadness, sexuality, feminism, social stratification, colorism, and even racism. With more
Her presence was unique because she heavily promoted cultural pride and self ascribed beauty, but she always included her whole audience which consisted of all backgrounds. From her afro, to the ebony hue of her skin, to reminscing on the experiences of blacks in the deep south, she wanted the world to embrace her and the black experience. She was a mirror to what healthy consciousness could look like. We could all take pride in and love ourselves, whilr being respectful and unifying one another. In the 60's and 70's she stepped out as a civil rights activist.
Today young spirit bird, Willow Smith, released a song entitled 8. The song, title making reference to her numerology Life Path number, explores the importance of identity, security and confidence. It's a rather interesting topic to be sung by a 13 year old because most teens and even those "adults" up to their mid-twenties are more concerned with abiding by societal expectations rather than living as individuals.
When most songs nowadays are talking about bottles, twerkin, poppin, flippin, partying and living a careless yet "wealth inflated" lives, she's singing about one thinking twice before creating images on social media that are not indicative of your true lives; letting go of obsessions over materials things and learning the importance of understanding the truths of life.
I find the song to be potentially transformational for many. Whereas most entertainers feed the idea of projecting false images, this will hopefully plant a seed of enlightenment for those who listen to the song and grow to love it. A mental renewal is so necessary in our society. People are spending money to create images of themselves that do not exists. Women and men alike are investing in cosmetic surgery to satisfy ideas of perfection, when in actuality no matter how high or low your confidence is, your spirit is dead and you will continue to live a life of dissatisfaction.
Living your life for the mere attention of or pleasure of others leads to a lonely life. People will be attached to an image of you that does not exists, and this can in turn truly cause loneliness because you will get to a point of frustration when you cannot be yourself. Living a life to strive for perfection for the mere satisfaction of others is the antithesis of self love. Enjoy life. It's okay to love fashion, music, and the YOLO mentality, but the only truth that matters is that, which is reflected in your mind during silent times, when no is around; when silence forces you to reflect and answer to yourself.
True happiness and satisfaction starts with you; loving you and knowing you. Whether on social media or in real life, when you find yourself having second thoughts about just being authentic, ignore it. Just BE You. At the end of the day, there's power in who you are.
Written by: Tiffany W.
There is value in history. There is emotion in history. There are lessons in history. So from now on, I'm going to participate in my own version of Throwback Thursday. Honoring events, people, movies, music of the past that in someway or another represents the BE! core value: Self Love.
Today's feature is none other than Lady Day herself, Billie Holliday. Billie Holiday is one of the most pivotal icons in music, blues and jazz. She had an iconic voice, and graceful stage presence, always known for wearing a fresh Gardenia in her hair and was popular between the 1930's-1950's.
Billie had her challenges, as we all do, but she resonated a strength that could only come from pain and heartache. Her songs celebrated the ups & downs of love and life. She was the epitome of the Blues. In life, there's no such thing as perfection. Challenges will arise, as well as sadness, but the greatest strength is to find a reason to celebrate life, love yourself despite the imperfections, do you and BE you. When I was young, I was obsessed with her famous song, "Ain't Nobody's Business." Which is basically an ode to her living her own life, not giving 2 cents about your opinion. Whether she gave all her man her money, he beat her, she went out Saturday and to church on Sunday, her life was her prerogative. Now of course, some of the message isn't the most healthy or fully reflective a total love of one's mind, body and spirit, but the level of tenacity of understanding, accepting, and being satisfied to a certain degree with your own life decisions, is a major lesson that many of us attempt to understand. Amongst her many popular songs was also her rendition of the poem, Strange Fruit, and emotional piece of work about the lynching of a man. The soul that emanates from her voice, is nothing short of powerful. When anyone gives of themselves, to impact others, that is Love. There is no greater manifestation of love than the gifts you give to others. As many creative spirits, it was easier for the Lady to shine her heart thru her art as opposed to seeing the light in her life. She unfortunately took her own life, but her legacy and message to Love you and your life no matter what others think, is a powerful message that will never go out of style! We love you Lady Day!
Written By:Tiffany W.
This is going to be a very interesting piece because the first part was half written...I left it in my drafts because I didn't feel compelled to finish it or post it. The second half of the post comes from my current state.
Written: January 6, 2014
Lately I have been consciously working on living with intentions of happiness and joy to battle any feelings of pity, distress, or discontent that may arise. Creating different buckets of happy can allow people to pull out whatever pieces of joy they choose to at any moment. What is a "bucket of joy"? Well that would be any form of expression you feel boosts your happy. My number 1 bucket of Happy is MUSIC! I love music and research shows that different tones in music can stimulate different responses from the brain. Faster tempo songs create more positive feelings, as opposed to slower, deeper tones stimulate feelings of sad, or melancholy. Which is why most r&b, love, blues songs are in such tones, and why house, pop, and electronic are more upbeat.
Written: March 7, 2014
The above excerpt continues to stand true. I created a "Happy" playlist because I felt almost anything but Happy: Debt, broken hearted, seclusion, confusion, lost...those were the most prevalent feelings (even though I know those are circumstances). Fortunately at the time I was still operating, for the most part, in gratitude, so I had faith my "feelings", mindset and situation would change, but in quiet moments it was overwhelming sometimes, and even though I did have support, I felt alone...so I turned to my music, prayer and writing once again.
Music is such an amazing tool that allows you to shift your mind and emotions. Every since I was a child, music was something that allowed me to escape into the being I wanted to be! My grandfather has countless videos of me dressing up and singing to Music Box Mariah Carey, Mary J. Blige, Whitney Houston, Luther Vandross, Sade, Paula Abdul, Michael Jackson and you wouldn't believe, Michael Bolton ( I can totally laugh now because I was never allowed to watch BET until about the age of 9/10 ,so I only saw VH1 videos which at the time really only had pop, and smooth sounds). I escaped to a place in which I was on stage, accepting awards, talking to the world and performing! I was even escaping "reality" as a child. That was feel good music.
I discovered how therapeutic music was when I was about 15. At that time, I was often having suicidal thoughts, and made several attempts, but clearly it was just hurt that made you feel like you want to disappear. It was the release of Lauryn Hill's Miseducation of Lauren Hill...wow that saved my life. I must have listened to it at least 3 times a day for about 8 months and wrote in journals EVERYDAY! Once I realized how important my presence in this world and my struggles were, I really had my first spiritual transformation. I switched between Miseducation, and a lengthy Gospel playlist filled with Donald Laurence, Kurt Carr, Clarke Sisters, and Fred Hammond. I became so in tuned with how impactful your environment is on your mind; environment meaning the people you surround yourself with, your physical environment, what you watch, read, and listen to.
I believe that our lessons of joy and pain are not to be kept to ourselves. That's why I don't mind being transparent about anything if someone asks me, or if I feel they are reaching out for love, comfort or insight. Therefor I wanted to share some songs that I love, and make me feel good. I'll probably break this up in a couple of posts because I have several different types of playlist. Happy, Grooves, Lets Get It, Women Rock!, Hyped Praise, and Lifted Praise (Now of course, I have way more than playlist than these, but just providing some general grouping) Below is some of my fave songs on my Happy Playlist. I typically play these songs throughout the day because they are about living a great life. They are not about love, hurt, materialism, but joy, individuality and power! A playlist of songs that I really needed to hear at the time I made it!
1. Pharrell- Happy
2. India Arie- Just Do You
3. Jill Scott- Golden
4. Goapele- Closer
5. Rihanna- Hard
6. Michael Jackson- Jam
7.Mary J. Blige- Just Fine
8. Nina Simone- feeling Good
9. R. Kelly- Happy People
10. Whitney Houston- I'm Every Woman
11. Outkast- B.O.B.
12. Michael Jackson- Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'
13. Blackstreet, Mya, Mase & Blinky Blink- Take Me There
14. Michael Jackson- Butterflies
15. Janelle Monae- Electric Lady
Do you have goto songs you can listen to that make you feel good? If not, think of them, write them down, and make them readily accessible. What are some songs that put you in a Happy Mood?
Written By: Tiffany Wright