On Mental Health, Spirituality and the Future: Positive Music Matters

There is an urgent need to recognize the crisis in culture and spirituality in our society today. This is especially true regarding the state of Black Music in America. So much of that which is called “music” is basically non-musical. Hip Hop, an original American art form, has been so marginalized and obscured, almost completely taken over by commercial interests and market forces. Big Business is now in control of the creative process.

Through either ignorance, fear, or for sale, the African American people have unwittingly, all but surrendered their God-given cultural sovereignty—our collective soul—to the very few who sit atop the entertainment and media industries: the record companies, radio stations, television
stations, print, and social media conglomerates. Enemies of progress dictate and control the narrative of what becomes fashionable, trendy and popular. Packaging and selling false liberty; masquerading as freedom; taking unfair advantage of the young, the poor, and the unlearned has become a multi-billion dollar industry. The results are absolutely devastating. An entire generation, immune to insult, is plunging headlong toward a sad, uncertain future in abject bondage to fashion and debt!

The Answer What could better illustrate this diabolical trend and ominous decline than the rapid rise of female rapper and ex-stripper, Cardi B, to the #1 position on the national Billboard music charts in November? The hit record is nothing short of adult (pornographic) entertainment featuring all manner of vulgar, obscene, and suggestive language. The entertainer and her lyrics are very well known amongst 14, 15, and 16 year-old children!

Does a “music” soundtrack that celebrates violence, greed, lust, envy, slothfulness, fear, and even death present behavioral health and quality-of- life issues for our communities today? How does all of this escape the attention of community leaders, the wisdom of elders, or the traditional gatekeeper institutions—moral and ethical standard-bearers— the home, the schools and our faith institutions?

How can we simply allow the image of our young people to be paraded before the entire world as morally degenerate, culturally backward, cowardly, crime-ridden delinquents? What should our response be to those who are currently waging this cruel, relentless, and unholy war—cultural
genocide—upon the very souls of our children, our future; How do we arrest this wicked, enslaving trend? What can we do now to insure the survival and safe-passage of values from this generation to the next? The answer: Positive Music Matters!

The Questions
The Positive Community will introduce a series of roundtable conversations about The Future of Black Music in America. The panels will feature knowledgeable and wise thought leaders—our
very best and brightest minds. Now more than ever, it is time to consider the essentials, the fundamentals, the absolutes:

Should a conversation about the future—the destiny of the African American people in this land— include a wholesome discussion about our music?

It’s been just over 150 years since the Great Emancipation of 1863. Are we, as liberated sons and daughters of the Most High God, aware of the tremendous blessings—the enormous contributions of black musicians, singers, and other performing and creative artists to American and world popular culture?

What is music; what does a musician do?

What is a song; what does a singer do?

Are the children aware of the great sacrifices made on their behalf by our forefathers to foster community pride, intelligent patriotism, and world progress?

Have we established any means through which our very best music and art is preserved, protected, and promoted for the edification of future generations?

What is cultural literacy; what is music literacy?

Is there a connection between music and spiritually; Can music reflect divine attributes, spiritual ideals, and eternal values: truth, beauty, and goodness?

In the Civil Rights era, there were the hymns, the soul singers and the songs of freedom. Today, is it necessary or even profitable for the artist to devote his music or songs to positive themes, a righteous sound? Morally, should the creative artist commit his or her art and talents toward the advancement of the people?

What is the ideal role of the artist, particularly as it relates to the community that nurtured his or her natural talents and gifts? Does the popular artist as spokesman on the world stage have any obligation to his community of origin?

What about the future of Hip Hop? What music will our young people listen to 10-20 years from now?

Does the future of our collective health, prosperity, and happiness depend upon the quality of our music; the quality of our thinking?

If we, as a people, are to move forward, it will be through our own shared wisdom and comprehensive understanding of past/present events—our history. We must now decide
for ourselves—on our own terms—which values to carry forward and those things that must be left behind. What are those values?

Are the inspired harmony of social discipline, melody of moral responsibility, and the rhythms of teamwork and progress within our grasp?

Does Positive Music REALLY matter? . . . 3Whose side are you on?

Stay tuned . . .