The rally in Charlottesville nearly two weeks ago rattled all of us. If nothing else, it was a sad and scary reminder that hate and prejudice are still alive and well in America.
In the face of the all the hatred and prejudice that come to the light, it’s easy so say nothing and give into the fear. What is right and harder to do is to stand up to the hate.
Musician Billy Joel stood up to the hate. He wore a yellow star at his concert last night. Jews were forced to wear yellow stars during World War II, marking them for persecution and ultimately death.
“The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.”-Albert Einstein
I think the one lesson that I personally take away from Charlottesville is that we have stand up and fight. We have to be vocal, we have to be loud and we have to drown out the voices of hate. If we don’t speak up and speak up loudly, hate has won once more and we not learned the lessons of the past.
There are only a handful of artists who are known by the first name. Michael, Madonna, Bono.
But before Michael, Madonna and Bono there was the one and only Elvis Presley.
He died 40 years ago today of a heart attack. To invoke the name of Elvis Presley is to invoke a certain image. In his prime, Elvis represented a youthful rebellion that had not been seen before in American culture. Teenagers loved him and adults at best tolerated him and at worst tried to censor him.
While there was some controversy in hindsight (he was not actually the pioneer of rock and roll, he just started playing the music that the African-American community had been playing for years), he is still an icon who is still respected, adored and worshiped four decades after his passing.
RIP sir. Your physical presence maybe long gone, but your music will live forever.
Filed under History, Music
I’m not a huge fan of the classic musicals, but sometimes, one of them resonates so deeply that it is as relevant in 2017 as it was when it was initially introduced to audiences.
Rodgers and Hammerstein’s 1949 musical, South Pacific is set on an unnamed island in the South Pacific during World War II. The underlying message of the narrative is basically that racism of any kind is wrong. The story focuses on the will they or won’t they relationship between two couples: an American nurse and a French expatriate plantation owner with mixed race children and a soldier and a native girl.
While the show has it’s lighter moments, one the best remembered songs (in my opinion at least), is “You’ve Got To Be Carefully Taught”.
The rally in Charlottesville yesterday proved that America has a long way to go in achieving the ideals of the Founding Fathers.
It did not help, of course, that President Trump’s statement was vague and he did not outright condemn the hate filled marchers, but honestly who is surprised by that?
We were warned, btw by Hillary Clinton last year.
Heather Heyer lost her life to this hate. I hope this is a wake up call for all Americans. The progress we have made as Americans in reaching the ideals set forth by the Founding Fathers represents the work of multiple generations. But for as much work as we have done, this weekend proves that we still have a long way to go.
You know you have reached a certain stage in your life when you say something like “kids today” or “when I was your age…”.
This week, I was reminded that I can say that now.
There is something about certain songs from when we are young that always take us back to that place in our lives. Todrick Hall’s new video of 1990’s music me back. Now I can say “when I was your age, this was music”.
Thanks for making me feel old and taking me back ;).
I can’t think of a better way to slide into the weekend.
Randy Rainbow’s latest video, Sycophant Italiano was just released this morning.
In a political climate filled with tension and stress, we need to laugh and breath.
Randy allows us does just that.
Depression, like any illness, knows no bounds. Whatever labels we or others use to distinguish ourselves are meaningless in the face of mental illness.
The suicide of Linkin Park front man Chester Bennington last week hit many people hard. Linkin Park’s music is powerful, raw and real. It was not just the loss of one the great rock singers of this era, but of a man who lost the battle to the demons in his head.
One of the podcasts that I sometimes listen to is WNYC’s “Here’s The Thing”, hosted by Alec Baldwin. His guest on the most recent episode was actor/singer/Broadway superstar Audra McDonald. One of the things that she spoke of was her suicide attempt during her college years and how surviving it helped to create the person she is today.
The old saying “you can never understand a person until you walk in their shoes” is an especially potent statement when it comes to mental illness. Unless someone knows what it is like to live with mental illness, as well-meaning as they are, they cannot the difficulty of living with mental illness.
I will leave you with the video above. We have lost one too many to mental illness. How many more will we lose before we do something about it?
In the wake of the sudden loss of Linkin Park’s front man Chester Bennington to suicide earlier this week, the outward pouring of grief from fans, his band mates, fellow musicians, friends and his family speaks of the collective heartbreak of the loss of a man who will be missed.
Korn guitarist Ben “Head” Welch initially called Chester a coward before altering his statement.
Is suicide the act of a coward? Some may say yes. It is giving into our personal darkness instead of fighting and finding a way towards the light.
To label suicide as the act of a coward is wrong. It does not help those who are dealing with the pain of mental illness and it does not help the loved ones who lost someone to suicide.
Mental illness and suicide are a call for help. To label someone who has committed suicide as a coward only ostracizes those who are haunted by the specter of mental illness and the thoughts that lead to suicide.
I understand that grieving often brings us to say and do things we would not do otherwise. I also understand that we are all entitled to our opinions. But at the same time, the statement that suicide is cowardly only hurts the effort to prevent suicide and help those who feel that it is the only way out from their pain.
Randy Rainbow’s new video, The Room Where It Happened is out. Based on the lyrics from the song of the same name from the Broadway score of Hamilton, it speaks to the lies and the secrecy that is not only poisoning the office of the President Of The United States, but also our reputation of living under a true democracy.
It is also the perfect way to end the work week.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that love is not something that can normally be found by using a credit card.
The Beatles 1964 song, Can’t Buy Me Love is also the name of a 1987 high school comedy starring Patrick Dempsey and Cindy Mancini.
Ronald Miller (Dempsey) is your average high school nerd. Awkward and unpopular, he is at the very bottom of the high school social strata. To achieve popularity, he pays Amanda Peterson (Mancini) to go out with him for one month to appear that he is no longer the uncool nerd that his classmates assumed him to be. He becomes popular, but as the saying goes, not all that glitters is gold.
The movie is full on 1980’s. But there is a truth to the underlying message that being yourself is more important than appealing to those who look down on you.
In 2003, the movie was remade into Love Don’t Cost A Thing. The title again borrows from another popular song, Jennifer Lopez’s Love Don’t Cost A Thing.
Stepping into the shoes of Patrick Dempsey and Cindy Mancini are Nick Cannon and Christina Milian.
The only difference between this film and it’s predecessor is the racially diverse cast and the then updated references. Other than that, it’s pretty much the same film.
Do I recommend it? Maybe.
Suicide has claimed another life today. Chester Bennington, front man for the rock band Linkin Park, took his own life.
He was 41 years old.
It hurts because I know the pain and the agony that can bring on suicide. I also know that this man was an amazing musician. I am not a huge fan of Linkin Park, but I understood their music. One of their most recent hits, Heavy, hit a raw nerve. The lyrics spoke to me in a way that few songs have.
Suicide claims too many of us. It smothers our light and takes away the possibilities that life can bring.
My heart goes out to his family, his friends and those who knew him best.