Positive Music Matters
As many of us are witnessing the tragic events in Baltimore, my thoughts turn the present state of the African American people, our collective health and well being as well as our future in this country. The year 2015, represents 150 years since the end of the Civil War and the beginning of Reconstruction; slavery was abolished by law. President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in 1865. I just continue to think about our on-going freedom journey! Regarding the uprisings in Ferguson, NYC, Baltimore and other flash-points of racial tension, I am reminded of a recent movie that stared Don Cheadle. Talk to Me was based on a true story set in the 60s and 70s about a Washington DC radio disc jockey, Petey Green; a charismatic, controversial, witty, flawed and much-loved man of the people! Petey Green’s daily radio show on WOLAM was a powerful mix of social commentary and music that healed—Soul Music. He was widely credited for his efforts to promote peace that led to an end of the riots in the nation’s capital after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968. Today the circumstances have changed, many problems are still with us, but the truth remains ever clear: Positive Music Matters.
We now find ourselves in the midst of a most challenging media and cultural environment. The New York/New Jersey metropolitan area represent the number one black consumer market in the USA; the highest concentration of people of African descent on the North American continent. Yet in New York City, the media capital of the world; the advertising capital of the world; the financial capital of the world; the fashion capital of the world, no one from the black community owns a single television or radio station, nor are we owners of a cable franchise or major newspaper. We have left it to others to decide what’s important; what is best for ourselves and our children and how our image is projected to the entire world. But, let us not despair; there is hope; it’s packaged as an opportunity: positive music matters! In the coming months, TPC seeks your support as we collect and archive our best recorded music from the past 100 years to the present. We need your help. All you have to do is pick your top five to ten selections of songs with positive, community-building themes. It could be from any musical genre: Negro Folk Songs, The Spirituals, Gospel, Jazz, Blues, R&B, Hip Hop, Neo-Soul or Spoken Word. Post them online at www.thepositivecommunity.com or on Facebook . Share a conversation with family members and friends. Encourage them to take the Positive Music Challenge!
Talents and Gifts
Our first task is to inspire community activation. Nothing of any real value can happen short of a sustained conversation about the African American ethnic identity—our group personality—our own collective talents and gifts. Over 50 years ago, America was for the most part, black and white in composition. The racism of that era was physical, tangible and mean—Jim Crow segregation.
Many other ethnic groups from around the world have since settled into this country in large numbers, as the And this doesn’t even include the many special interest groups demanding legal rights for their own cause! The challenge of our times is to address the spiritual and cultural crisis in America, among the African American people in particular; to respond to the negative by affirming the positive—now. I believe that today’s “racism” is largely a news media and entertainment industry driven phenomenon. The image of African Americans, especially our young people, in the news and in popular entertainment is just awful. In the news, we’re referred to as African American’s, mostly in matters related to crime and dysfunction; otherwise we’re an obscure “people of color” who seek inclusion in diversity and multicultural activities and initiatives of the marketplace.
In short, as a result of our own cultural naivety, we have allowed for our creative attributes and contributions to become compromised, marginalized, suppressed, ignored, forgotten and even denied. Our children are being led astray, estranged from the values, traditions and ideals that have sustained us for generations. Market forces and the enemies of progress conspire to enslave an entire generation to fashion and debt! Therefore, the progress of our children and the integrity of our African American culture must now become the number one priority of every single, forward-thinking man, woman and child of God! If “Black Lives Matter”, then “Positive Music Matters” too! Is it possible to have the one without the other? Black music represents the very soul of America’s best in world popular culture! Ideally, only the music that inspires progress, wholesome fun, love, thoughts of freedom and unity; hope and faith in a brighter tomorrow will be archived. We seek a meaningful, dignified way to, preserve, protect, promote our creative talents in music and song—then and now— for the edification and continuity of generations yet unborn. It will be this present generation’s faith-gift and investment toward future success and enduring health, happiness and prosperity.
Through social media, faith institutions, schools, colleges, businesses, private and public institutions and other means, young people will be invited to take the Positive Music Challenge. Over the next year (Black Music Month June 2015–June 2016), we seek to record songs,
Spoken Word and Rap from artists of the “Hip-Hop” generation. The best of these creative contributions will also be included into the archives of the cultural time capsule. Finally, in 2063, when the Great African American Cultural Time Capsule is unearthed and opened, my grandson will be 50 years old. His generation will witness the 100th anniversary year of the March on Washington, and the 200th commemorative year of the Great Emancipation. We cannot afford our attention to what really matters to be diverted to time-bound claims of racism and police brutality, exclusively. Two negatives cannot produce a positive. Can lasting justice, mercy and peace be secured in absence of a thirst for righteousness and hunger for truth? On matters regarding the progress of our children and the integrity of our culture, the mighty African American people are sovereign and absolute; we can only be denied if only we deny ourselves. Cultural literacy and music literacy is the key! America’s great cultural and spiritual movement led by King, Malcolm and countess others, successfully overcame the negative with a soul inspiring, positive music soundtrack that affirmed the dignity of our humanity and revealed to all mankind, the truth, beauty and goodness of a loving and gifted race. The people of God will prevail! The Spirit of Truth will reign in our hearts: