The first song I thought of with this writing assignment was Zoom by the Commodores. This was a favorite of my mother’s. She loved this song. When I first heard it I didn’t really pay much attention to it. I wrote it off as one of the many oldies that I’d like. One day I watched her sing along to the lyrics of this song. She closed her eyes, swayed, and sang along like she felt every word.
This song spoke to me about the personal need for Freedom. It speaks of admitting one’s struggles and desiring to be free from so many weighty things. It speaks rebirth and rejuvenation. Did I already say Freedom? Freedom is so interjectional. It can mean so many different things to so many people in so many ways. Zoom is to Freedom as Shakespeare is to Poetry.
Next in the running is “So Good” by Destiny’s Child (the originals) I had just graduated from high school when the first Destiny’s Child album was released. Destiny’s Child was regarded to be one of the best girl groups since TLC. They were an inspiration to all young girls that wanted to be in “showbiz”. The song “So Good” was the ultimate nose thumb to everyone that doubted their success. It was a response to every hater and negative comment made. It was a pride song. Do you wanna know how Im doing? Im doing SO GOOD!
Some of us have faced harsh criticism for doing the things we want to do with our lives. Some people are so unhappy with themselves, they can’t be happy for anyone else. They can’t be supportive and they will sabotage you if they are given the chance.
I thought about how often people had denied me. How hard it had been to get just through high school graduation. I watched many of my peers excel in so many different areas and at so many different things. I wanted those experiences too. I didn’t know how to get them but I managed to do the best that I could. But when you look around that the people standing on the sidelines of your race in life, some may be cheering, some maybe glaring and secretly hoping for your downfall. Some will flat out tell you that you will never win! To those people I say:
Wasn’t it you that said
Thought I was all that and you said I didn’t have a clue
Wasn’t it you that said
That I wouldn’t make it through
And wasn’t it you that said
That I didn’t look too good, that I wouldn’t do too good
I’d never make it out the ‘hood
I want you to know that I’m doin’ so good
The final of the 3 but not in the least is the Black National Athem. Life Every Voice and Sing. This song started as a poem by James Weldon Johnson and was later converted into a song by his brother. Im told that this song was made vocally famous by Melba Moore and several other vocalists in 1990. Im not sure how it became known as the Black National Anthem but in 5th Grade I learned this song backward and forward thanks to Ms. Whitely and Ms Hampton. They were two teachers at my elementary school. They made a very big to-do of Black History Month and this was one of our performances during the festivities. This song resonated so sweetly the stories that my parents told me about their growing up in the south and how by 1981 when I was born things had changed greatly. My favorite part of the song is when the tenors kick in with the lyric “Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us,” I don’t know why but this was my favorite part of the song. I fell growth every time I hear it. It says that we are moving forward to the future and we are recovering from our dark past. To illustrate and verbalize this movement, we (the black people) have our own song. And that’s not to say that it cannot belong to anyone of any race or nationality but its something to call our own. Its our stake on America. Its our contribution.