Letting go of the pacifiers and tools we have developed to survive is a daily challenge. How does one move forward when the very things that once propelled you through your darkest moments are now hindering you?
Music is a big part of my self care practices. I have songs for everything.This summer I deleted most of the gospel music from my music library. When I get really emo and home sick, missing my mother in particular, I fiend for my gospel hits. My mother put me on to Fred Hammond and my old soul gravitated towards Shirley Cesar and Betty Griffin Keller when I was teenager. I think I love gospel music for the same reasons I love rap music, it is fantasy, myths, truths, and reflections of the black experience wrapped in the drama and creativity that happens when Africans make music. I think some call it soul. They both weave stories of our lives with a boldness that speaks to the core of what it means to be human.
On the flip side I can only listen to but so much of both gospel and rap music because with those reflections come the legacy of violence, trauma , self hate, and all the other isms that color our experience as Africans in Amerikkka. The music I’ve used to get through in the past can perpetuate the same things I’m working daily to unlearn and resist.
My use of gospel music as a coping mechanism and false sense of security was blocking my ability to develop sustainable tools for dealing with reality. The tools that are instrumental to this thing called liberation. Its difficult to take the meat and leave the bones in any situation. There are still many songs both rap and gospel that I will use as tools of survival and inspiration but every now and than you gotta clean house and reduce some harm.
Its a difficult tightrope I walk every time I click through my iPod. Music is powerful it can indoctrinate you with your oppressors propaganda while showering you with the strength needed to step back from the myths again and again.