Tuesday, May 03, 2005

the spoken word was HOT!

i went to this cafe called Java'ology, a newly established black-owned coffee cafe on the corner of boulevard and edgewood ave. i got there mad early, and had to wait about two hours before the poetry actually started. the vibe in there was awesome! it was culturally textured with cocoa and ebony colors threaded throughout. the artwork of local artists was displayed throughout and it definitely had a community feel to it. there was mad love in the room.

i watched with envy as people got up to expose themselves, unafraid of how the audience would accept them. there were folks up there singing songs they'd just composed, voices cracking and unpolished, but they were up there anyway. i had to give them props for making themselves vulnerable like that. i was simply amazed at the courage all of the artists displayed up there on stage. the mc was so spiritually connected as well. he spoke to us in a way that made everyone feel as though this was simply a gathering of good friends sharing their creative gifts with each other.

the night started off with a sista who broke into old negro spirituals. her voice was low like a breeze thieving through the night, and it's brown notes clung to my skin like a morning mist. the question within her song: "is the end coming?"...i felt the power of her words as they questioned the actions of the human race, wondering if those actions would lead to our destruction. as i glanced around the room, i felt the love emanating from everyone there, and i realized that the world would be aiight cuz i was surrounded by people who were just as concerned by the state of the world as i was.

the second artist was a music composition student from georgia state. i could tell she was brand new to performing, her fingers hesitantly gliding over the guitar strings as she fought back the fear to sing about a lost love. talking about losing love in front of strangers is a scary thing, but the vibe in there was so comforting, it was like she was talking to her close girlfriends about a man she begged to stay with her. the strains from her strumming shimmered around the room, shining light upon her loss. the words verberated throughout my bones, and for a moment, i was the one begging silently for my man to come back to me, asking him to stay to comfort me. damn, that song had me caught up! :)

the third artist was actually a group of young brothas calling themselves "the sharecroppers". they rapped about the importance of seeing the patterns of destruction and how they're ruining our communities. i loved their message for the most part, except for when they talked about how the helplessness of black folks is somehow the premeditated design of white folks. i didn't agree with that part, as i feel power is something that is given to someone, and self-empowerment begins within. despite that, i still enjoyed the mostly positive message they brought to the stage.

i'll skip over the next couple of artists so i can talk about the featured artists for the night. the name of their group is "venus", and it's two sistas, both with beautiful singing voices and an ability to play the acoustic guitar. i absolutely loved them! they were comfortable on stage and really engaged the audience, bringing us into their music. there was one song they sang that really had me thinking. it was about prostitutes and how they're women making choices to do things so they can survive. however, the lyrics spoke on how folks get so caught up in the act of survival, they forget they've gotta live. that really hit me.

i think that message is applicable to damn near everybody. we get so caught up in working for a living that we forget we've actually got to live. our work should reflect our lives and our passions, not simply pay the bills. we spend so much time at work that it becomes our lives. think about it...at LEAST 40 ours a week is spent working so that we can have the things we want and spend our leisure time the way we want to spend it. i know there are plenty of us whose goal is to be financially and materially wealthy, and i ain't mad at that. however, for those of us who have aspirations to simply be happy with our lives and contributions, i would think financial and material gain are secondary to the goal of living our lives as truthfully and meaningfully as possible. in either case, self-empowerment is very necessary.

in the case of those prostitutes, many of them don't feel empowered enough to control their lives in such a way as to make prostituting their bodies unnecessary. in my case, i'm still battling as i try to find my way towards a more fulfilling job that embodies everything i want to bring to the world. working with femtech is just part of the puzzle. ultimately i want to create either a charter school for kids in underserved communities or a non-profit organization focusing on bringing technology to underserved communities. working at georgia tech is affording me the opportunity to get the training i need in order to do these things (i hope).

but that's just my path. what about you? when you wake up in the morning, do you feel as though what you're gonna do during the next eight hours is bringing you closer to the goals you've set for yourself? if not, i hope you find the inner strength necessary to locate that power within you. i hope your life is what you want it to be, and not just a bunch of time working a job you hate.

you can do it. i believe in you. i believe in all of us!