Celebrating Black Music: Then & Now

The black community not only has always appreciated and produced good music, but they have brought forth many good hits with various rhythms and sounds. These tracks have carried a sense of soul and tradition from our ancestors, and have created chart toppers in funk, soul, pop, motown, gospel and numerous other genres. We have many proud and loud black musicans and vocalists, many that have passed on, many that are in their prime time right now, and others emerging. Music is a way to tell stories of trial, triumph and tradition, and this is part of the reason that music has always unified black communities and still does today. Please have a listen to the following tracks I selected, and I hope you enjoy these favourites of mine as much as I do. Also, please research the artists of these songs, and check out their other music, because what I’ve listed here is a very, very small percentage of black written and/or produced music. If you haven’t heard one of these songs, or most of them, well for goodness sake, go listen, it’ll do you good! Pictured is the stunning Mary J. Blige, the 2019 recipient of BET’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

 

Takes Two to Tango – Ray Charles & Betty Carter

This duet is a lot of fun, though it wasn’t written by Ray or Betty, they did their own spin on it for their 1961 album, and succeeded quite well. Ray Charles has also performed this song with Aretha Franklin.

 

 

Sugar on the Floor – Etta James

I truly believe this is one of Etta James’ best songs, and it’s in the lyrics. If you listen to the words closely, it’s truly an emotional song that makes you feel. Kiki Dee is behind those lyrics and the original, but in my oppinion Etta James took those words and didn’t just perform them, she put magic to them.

 

 

 

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Joy of the Lord – Tamela Mann (Pictured above)

This gospel song is upbeat, and one of Tamela’s best sounding tracks in my opinion. She and her husband David Mann stay closely connected in their relationship and to their faith; Tamela shows much of this through her music – ironically enough, the two play father and daughter in the hit Tyler Perry series, Meet the Browns.

 

 

 

Get Low – Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz

This is one of my favourite party songs to dance to! Many people probably don’t know Lil Jon came from a large family with parents both in top notch professions; his father was an engineer, and his mother was in the military. He is a self taught DJ, and he took a different path in life than probably what his family imagined, but he proved himself to be successful through releasing many top charting songs, and also being a grammy recipient. I also love the fact they used this song in a Sandra Bullock and Betty White movie (The proposal); that whole scene allowed me to adore these two brilliant actresses even more!

 

 

 

One Thing Right – Marshmello & Kane Brown

I write about this song to show the significant value of Kane Brown’s role to this song, from writing it, to singing it, and to marking a musical acomplishment to be able to colloborate with a DJ artist as famous as Marshmello. The Chattanooga, Tennessee born singer not only proudly represents bi-racial people like myself, but also helps in making a larger black presence in the country music industry. It’s rather apparent that the modern country music scene is not a place of music that happens to have many black artists, so this is all the more reason to appreciate artists such as Kane Brown, Darius Rucker, and many others who have decided to go that direction. Kane Brown is also strategically smart, as he is making some pop music and pop collaborations, as often at times that is where the money is and/or your voice is heard.

 

 

 

Little Wing – Jimi Hendrix

This is one of my most favourite songs, sung by the late master guitarist, Jimi Hendrix; though short, this song is brilliant. Jimi, believe it or not had Canadian ties; his father ‘Al’ Hendrix was born in Vancouver, British Columbia. This song also shows that Jimi had a huge interest in psychedelic rock, and was greatly influenced by many forms of American rock and blues.

 

 

 

 

 

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Carribean Queen (No More Love on the Run) – Billy Ocean (pictured above)

Trinidadian-British artist Billy Ocean co-wrote this song, and then performed it with much gusto and funk, making this another great party song. His success in music, especially within the U.K is something the English communities of colour can most certainly be proud of.

 

 

 

 

Ladies Night – Kool & the Gang

Members of Kool & the Gang wrote this song together, and it has become one of the most popular party songs. Robert Bell is the man behind the (still existing) group, that of whom has touched on numerous musical styles throughout the years, funk, jazz, rock and pop.

 

 

 

 

My Girl – The Temptations

This all time favourite of mine was actually written by talented Smokey Robinson. He co-wrote this song with his ‘Miracles’ partner Ronald White, and then The Temptations recorded it for the Gordy Motown record label. This stunning hit was thought of, written by and performed by brilliant black men.

 

 

 

 

Be Without You – Mary J. Blige (title featured photo)

Mary J. Blige has been an inspiration to not just females of colour, but to all women, especially those facing barriers, pursuing arts, and those facing similar trials Mary J. went through within her life. Her life story is quite remarkable and one to look up for sure. And it is her faith, and strength that has brought her to where she is now, and her resilience is what makes her inspiring. And that is what landed her the BET Lifetime achievement award in 2019; this is a remarkably incredible acomplishment. This song of hers is one of my favourites, and is co-written by Mary J. herself. It is also black produced, by Bryan Michael Cox, a Black American record producer who has also made a large name for himself.

 

 

 

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Stomp – Kirk Franklin (pictured above)

I absolutley love this song, and it never fails to get me moving, ‘makes me clap my hands, makes me want to dance’! Kirk Franklin truly has been a motivational icon in the gospel music industry/community. It was a very pleasant surprise to see his collaboration with Tori Kelly and For King & Country on the Global Goal Concert. There is also a remix version of this song, I enjoy both equally.

 

 

 

 

 

If I were Your Woman – Gladys Knight & The pips

It’s a hard toss up between this song and Midnight Train to Georgia when determining my favourite song by Gladys Knight & The Pips. I somehow decided to choose this 1970’s hit with lyrics so many women can relate to. One of the composers of this song is black artist and United Kingdom famed Gloria Jones.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Can’t Feel My Face – The Weeknd (pictured above)

While I really enjoy the 80’s vibe to the song Blinding Lights, this was the song I chose as it was rather life changing per say, for Abel Tesfaye, better known as his stage name, The Weeknd. This song went BIG, impacting what would be a large musical career ahead of him, allowing him to create more top hits, and also, collaborations with notable artists. Funny thing is, he has now become the ‘notable artist’ that others would dream of working with. He’s not only a young and successful black artist, he is an artist that has made the Ethiopian-Canadian community very proud.

 

 

 

 

 

Girl on Fire – Alicia Keys

I couldn’t make this list without my girl Alicia, but seriously, do you know how hard it was to choose one Alicia song of so many great ones? Well, this particular song feels very woman-empowering to me, and to me this is one of the many traits I love about Alicia, she empowers and lifts up other women, and is a role model for young girls and women. She speaks up and out for communities of colour and is proud to be black and proud to be of mixed heritage. She is proud to be from New York, and carries confidence into all her many musical talents.

 

 

 

 

These Arms Of Mine – Otis Redding

Otis redding is one of the many greats of his time, with too many enjoyable songs to name, whether they are covers, Christmas covers, or original songs by him. This orginal R&B hit of his was recorded and released in 1962.

 

 

 

 

 

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Sit This One Out – Solomon Burke (pictured above)

I love this song, along with Solomon’s more known hit Cry To Me. The difference is Cry To Me is a 1962 song, and this soul song was released in 2002. This song was released just eight years prior to the death of this very motivational preacher and singer, that of whom had a large impact on the music of soul and R&B, especially throughout the 1960’s.

 

 

 

 

 

Will You Be There? – Michael Jackson

This has to be one of the most beautiful and emotionally capturing songs sung by the legendary late Michael Jackson. Many may associate this song with the film Free Willy, however, Michael did release this as a single in 1993, and he wrote the song himself. That said, it became not only a part of the Free Willy film, but the main theme song. And Free Willy being such an emotional, powerful film surrounding controversial subjects to begin with allowed this song to piece all those emotions together into one beautiful masterpiece. Of Michael’s work, it is the longest – and most certainly one of the best!

 

 

 

 

 

WTF (Where They From) – Missy Elliott

Missy Elliott has always been creative in delivering a strong hip-hop presence, many moons ago and still today! This 2015 track of hers has a bit of a old-school hip-hop vibe, along with a strong ‘Missy’ personality presence, and that’s what I love about it. It’s a great dancing song, and super catchy, perhaps this is why it was featured on the pilot episode of the hit series Council of Dads!

 

 

 

 

 

Queen Of The Night – Whitney Houston (pictured below)

Here I am saving one of the greatest artists of all time for last, the late Whitney Houston. We all know Whitney, and it may be apparent this is not one of her most vocally strong or famously sung songs. That said, this song is a Whitney original, and was co-written by her with an incredible line-up of other black composers, consisting of: Babyface, Daryl Simmons and L.A Reid. This black produced AND performed song hit many points of achievement through peaking at it’s time when it released on American radio in 1993, and through being released as a part of the Bodyguard film soundtrack. Whitney Houston’s journey is for sure another life story to know if you don’t already.

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Remember, these are just some of the many amazing songs and artists of the black music world, start your research as there are so many more greats!

Far from Silent

June. 2nd, 2020 was dubbed ‘Black out Tuesday’ as a part of the Black lives matter movement. I posted a black out picture to support this motive, but I would like to clarify something since I haven’t posted anything since. I do not want anyone mistaking my lack of posting since June. 2nd for being silenced – because that is not the case. Through other social media, I have been posting and sharing anti-racism posts, educational resources about indigenous and black history and present, posts that support the black lives matter movement and posts that disregard those saying all lives matter. A fire in me was most certainly ignited. I feel the need to be a part of this, and not just on the sidelines. All communities of colour have faced cultural and racial discrimination, and I really hope some day I live in a world where that is of the past, and not the present, and history is not repeating itself. Indigenous people of Canada have been silenced far too long; if you don’t even know half of the history of our indigenous communities in Canada, you have no idea the heartbreak that sits within them. Black people everywhere are held back because they’re black; they are held back from opportunity, equal access to services, equal treatment and respect. Despite all this hitting home for me, it’s important to note that part of my reason I speak of our indigenous brothers and sisters is because the level of brutality and force we saw on George Floyd is the level of hatred exercised toward our indigenous population. It is exercised by the Canadian government and Canadian people of power, such as police officers. They treat our indigenous brothers and sisters as scum to our Earth, and that’s how it’s been through history to present. So, Canada has a long way to go, especially in convincing our black, indigenous and communities of colour that they have our backs, and that it’s all okay. They have a long way to convincing us of that, and till then, we will not be silenced! 

Self Isolation Day 15-33: Images of Mothers

Today, on Mother’s Day, I want to share with you pictures and words about the women we all should be celebrating today … and everyday. Please note that I am not the artist of any of the pictures or paintings in this post, and I am including the artists’ names right here, thank you. Artists/Sources: Mary Cassatt, Orange County Register, Christian Krohg, Konstantin Razumov, Sarah Job, CafeMom, Eva Gonzales, Justin Taylor, Kerolos Safwat, Today’s Parent, Tristen Jenni Sanderson, Kaite Gliddon, Brittany Luby’s ‘Encounter’, Marcello Castellani, Prekladateľský Blog, The Boston Globe, Simon Silva, Michael Dudash, Sally Bartos, Miriel Smith, Umberto Boccioni, Mai Trung Thu.

 

On Mother’s Day, we should be celebrating …

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Biological mothers, that of whom carefully and wonderfully grew a human inside of them,

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Foster mothers who grow a love and bond for a child only to see that child go,

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Godmothers and Guardian moms who love a child like their own, and care for that child when life presents difficult circumstances,

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Single/Solo moms by choice or by circumstance,

dp-481943-30Mother-in-laws who do their very best to welcome their child’s spouse into the family, and maintain some sort of relationship for their child’s sake,

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Stepmoms who put forth the uttmost dedication and love for their partner’s children,

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Moms of the future who will raise children in 5, 25, or 50 years in an unpredictable, rapidly changing world,

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Animal mothers who strive to foster good lives and good health for animals,

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Grieving mothers who have lost a child at 12 weeks gestation, five months gestation, thirteen years, or fifty – loss is loss, and all these moms deserve to grieve.

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Moms of special needs children who put forth an incredible energy and instant love for their child’s well-being,

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The live in nannies who are many times more motherly figures to the child than their own mother,

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Mothers expecting by pregnancy or otherwise,

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Women missing their own mothers, grandmothers and mother figures in heaven,

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Adoptive mothers who have found children to love, but most of all, to strive to give the best life to,

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Grieving mothers who live in the unbeknownst, moms of children snatched in India, and moms of daughters that are the missing and murdered indigenous women of Canada, they need to grieve.

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Incarcerated mothers,

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Child advocates that fight for the best life for each and every child that crosses their path, 

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Women who choose not to be mothers, for whatever reason, and still feel a deep void,

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Mothers who are sick and unwell, 

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Mothers who are working the frontlines and cannot see their children, any mother unable to hold their child,

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Surrogate mothers who give hope to families yet never get to raise the baby they grew inside of them,

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Aunts who put all their maternal energy and force into love for their neices and nephews,

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New moms who are uncertain and scared, new moms going through maternal mental health struggles,

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Women trying to concieve, longing to be a mom,

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Grandmothers, who are simply that – grand, as they continue to be the glue within families.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Self-Isolation Day 3 – 14: Sad Times

These are indeed sad times for a place I am so glad to call home. For something so dangerous and reckless to happen in the midst of Nova Scotia’s people battling Covid-19 is brutal; it has left many of us in misery, wondering why this would happen. And now we are dealing with the aftermath: pictures, grieving those lost, property loss, body recoveries and so many questions left unanswered. Here is a statement I made on my facebook page, which sums up most of my concerns. I ask that you keep my home province, our people and the families of those lost in your thoughts and prayers. Please send all your love to Nova Scotia, thank you!

 

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Self Isolation Day 1 & 2: Motion Picture Comfort

My self isolation period has been reset, and I am back to square one. Unfortunately, I had to go on a supply run. While it felt good to go for a drive, get out of the house and feel the breeze in my hair, I remained anxious from point A to B, and back. I should have taken a picture of myself to share, I wore quite the get-up. I had a springy bright orange scarf tied around my hair and head, and a white industrial mask over that, and my glasses over that. I was very nervous. I attempted to avoid this outing, and all couriers for grocery delivery were overwhelmed and unavailable. My face felt hot in the mask; my arms were covered in a white knit sweater I had under my red coat. I took deep breaths to calm myself before exiting my vehicle. I watched people abiding by the rules, and distancing themselves, following the arrows, waiting to enter an aisle, and respecting the space of others. But in the same moments, I had an unruly teenager brush up against me, I watched people trying to enter aisles backwards, and individuals become disgruntled from waiting in line, all to get liquor! I felt overwhelmed, and quite impulsive, I spent more money than I should have, in hopes that I don’t have to face any of that again anytime soon. I bought fruit and wine, cheese, brioche, condiments – you name it! My cashier explained to me that he had just returned from a seizure clinic, and that is why he had a mask on. He felt the need to convey to each person why he wore a mask. He has at-risk family members at home, so he is protecting them, but he is also protecting the public by wearing a mask. I spotted two women working on merchandising in the aisles, and they seemed rather concerned if any public member would approach the aisle they were in. It all…rather broke my heart. It’s so bloody depressing to see the media, and the realness of this virus and its impact around the globe. We all have watched I am Legend, Children of Men or The Walking Dead, but we never are quite prepared for when our world is faced with that level of chaos…such as now. And it seems to hit you harder when you go out into your community, and notice…the damage. If you’re from a small cove or town, or from a Maritime province of hardworking people, and a whole lot of good – you’ll understand the misery. 

Please pray for our front-line workers, and pray for the small town heroes keeping a bit of peace in a time where peace seems nearly impossible. And for goodness sake, please stay home if you are not one of these people, and if it is not essential. I will be relying on my grocery delivery service, and food boxes to avoid going out at all.

I am refraining from going out because I don’t want to be a part of the problem, and I don’t want to put myself or my family at risk. But it goes so much deeper than that. 

I am not going out because it is sad to see the streets I grew up on empty. Prior to the pandemic, ten or fifteen cars lined up meant traffic, but now there’s not even one car. I am not going out to see my favourite local businesses dark and closed up – as their owners sit at home stressed about a recession. I am saddened by this, as there’s a spot I live nearby where I’ve seen so many businesses come and go, like a revolving door. And finally, we had some mo-jo, things seemed to be ticking at the right pace, for the city, the community and its people and the business owners – and then this happened. I am not going out because I’ll see the long, undefined line of people lined up to get their alcohol fix. I am a Maritimer, I know we love our drink. But it’s sad, because it reminds me of all the mental health issues that are worsening or developing during this time. I think of my students I work with, and I just pray they are okay. I see the street I drive down for a while to get to my school, and that makes me miss routine, work, and the children. COVID-19 will impact each place different, and it doesn’t make one force of impact any worse than another. But just as it hits an overpopulated, polluted city hard, it’s hitting my beloved little peninsula just as hard. While it’s a sad time for everyone, I feel an extra sadness in my heart for Atlantic Canadians right now because everything in me is rooted in my Maritime blood. 

So, that was a rather long way of explaining why I am staying home, but I hope it’s suffice. And I just ask that you all working from home like myself, or those of you laid off work adhere to the isolation recommendations/rules. 

On a brighter note, I wanted to recommend some excellent films I’ve been watching the last couple weeks – and films that have brought me a great deal of laughter and/or comfort. 

First up is, An Uncommon Grace. This is a Super Channel/Heart & Home feature, and it is a wholesome, romantic, interesting Amish film that explores Amish-English relations. It presents realistic views of Amish culture, and Amish-English dealings, and it has a great ending!

Love on Iceland is my next recommendation. If you know me well, you will know of my great admiration for Iceland, the gorgeous island it is and the people that inhabit it. I love Icelandic horses, they are a stunning breed and good listeners. My horse I rode in Iceland, Glampi, might have set the bar quite high because he was super cute, and extremely cooperative. My fascination with Icelandic culture has for sure deepened within my travels; I’ve come to learn facts about Iceland that make it quite appealing to me, such as they have more writers per capita than any other place; literacy and books continue to be a large part of Icelandic life! This movie is captivating for someone like myself that is into all things Iceland, however it does also play out a very romantic plot – it’s worth a try!

Lastly, I highly recommend a movie called The Healer, it is superb! I may be a bit biased, and overly excitable about this film because guess what?! It was filmed in Nova Scotia, Lunenberg to be exact! Being from the East Coast, there is no word to describe how awesome it is to watch a movie knowing it was made here. And it’s even cooler to know Jo Karev/Wilson from Grey’s walked the streets I have! British/American actress Camillia Luddington came to Nova Scotia to make this excellent film, and plays a veterinarian. I would greatly spoil the movie if I said even one thing about this funny, and heart-warming film, so you just have to find it on Canadian Netflix or elsewhere and watch it yourself! Enjoy!

 

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Please feel free to share movies and television programs that have been comforting you during this time, be well and stay safe!

Written and published Thursday, April 09, 2020.

Self Isolation Day 8-14: Positive Images

This one will be short and sweet. Just a reminder in these uncertain times, it is important to surround ourselves with positive images of things we love!

Please enjoy my photo selection; this artwork contains a soft-coated wheaten terrier, christmas decor, and snow – all things I love!

Let’s not fool ourselves into thinking it is easy to stay in the right mind-set during these times; some days it is difficult to not let negativity roll in, especially with COVID-19 in our faces 24/7. That said, it is important to do what we can to remain content, and keep our families safe and happy.

Find a few google images that make you happy, and feel free to share!

Written April 07 2020

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Self-Isolation Day 5, 6 & 7: Musical Aid

I do believe great admiration for music is genetically leaked into my blood, I can’t imagine my life without music, and not being able to hear the gift of song in various ways. I am quite lucky to be musically cultured and I have my mother to thank for that. She sang in our church choir while growing up, as did my sister and I. My father played guitar, and my sister and I took up piano for a bit. A family event of ours is not complete without some booty shaking music. Afterall, I am a proud Maritimer, and we are known for our kitchen parties, which seem to always involve some singing, or dancing, foot tapping, a fiddle player or perhaps, a Newfoundland ugly stick. My passion for music goes beyond that though, and as I mentioned, my mother is the one to thank for that. I’ve met people who have said they could care less about music, and others who do not see the value in an excellent film score or the effect of music in dramatic theatre. I can’t imagine; so much of life is connected to music from first moments, to the film industry, to personal events, like weddings and funerals. Certain songs can make you feel happy and then rough all over again, it is incredible. Songs can empower, and instill confidence in a person. Songs can provide a sense of mental comfort and peace of mind…and that’s why today, I write to you about musical aid for COVID-19. Keep your bluetooth speakers charged people, and if your ears aren’t tuned in elsewhere, keep that playlist going! It’s hard being isolated for these long periods, but people have proven to be keeping busy through cleaning, crafting, and taking up new skills. And the best company to do all that with is music! Here’s some of my suggestions for your musical aid and why I love them, add them to your playlist, and hit play!

 

This is America – Childish Gambino – This first suggestion of mine actually comes from appreciation for the music video and social concept of the song, so in order to understand this, you’ll have to watch the music video first. Once you watch it, you’ll get it. I also adore Donald Glover’s abs and dance moves in this video, always a bonus, right?

Your Song – Elton John – This favourite of mine is quite magical in the Moulin Rouge version by Ewan McGregor, and I often listen to that version. And when I break out in song singing this, it’s most often to the Moulin Rouge version. That said, we must give solid credit to Sir Elton John for his original version, composing this song himself and bringing forth the magic!

All of Me – John Legend – This song is so beautifully written, the lyrics are on point! Lines such as, “What’s going on in that beautiful mind? I’m on your magical mystery ride’ and ‘You’re my end and my beginning, even when I lose, I’m winning.’ make this song! I really do admire John Legend as a musical artist, he’s very talented, and proved that with this song, even though he didn’t have to! This song was the first dance wedding song of my sister and her husband. Their interethnic wedding joined together two people from two different backgrounds, and they had the song half in English, and half in Portuguese, which made it even more heart melting – simply gorgeous!

Bad Liar – Imagine Dragons – This is probably my favourite Imagine Dragons song, I love the line that says, ‘It’s been a loveless year, I’m a man of three fears, integrity, faith and crocodile tears.’ I have a greater knowledge and respect for the lead singer of Imagine Dragons, I learned quite a bit about him on CNN’s United Shades of America with W. Kamau Bell. Dan Reynolds is a devout mormon, and has suffered from an autoimmune disease since his youth. He is an excellent advocate for children and youth of the LGBTQ2+ community, specifically those that are mormon. He has achieved incredible shelter and outreach work for mormon youth of the LGBTQ2+ community, and speaks of the importance of outreach in maintaining the mental health of these youth. In his segment with United Shades of America, he talks about the division between the mormon church and LGBTQ2+ community, and gives some very interesting perspectives on this topic. Sadly (I do believe) due to the pandemic, CNN has been taken over by everything COVID-19, and I was unable to find an airing of United Shades of America for at least a week. W. Kamau Bell is a well educated, funny American man of colour and his show, United Shades of America is worth a watch for anyone. You can find it on youtube, and search his episodes for a topic that really interests you!

Don’t Stop Me Now – Queen  – It’s just a fun song, fun to sing to and dance to, so put it on your list. I’d also love to mention the Queen film, Bohemian Rhapsody is ten stars out of five, and worth a viewing for sure! – I learned SO many things about this band and Freddie Mercury that I never knew!

Cry to Me – Solomon Burke – Full of rhythm, love it!

Truth Hurts – Lizzo – I enjoy many Lizzo songs, I find them catchy, sassy and fierce- and I like that! Lizzo’s reputation for being full of sass and confidence shines through her songs, and then I guess her love for little clothing shines through her videos, lots of booty shaking!

My Heart Will Go On – Celine Dion – Oh my goodness, Jack and Rose! I can’t believe I haven’t watched them during this pandemic yet! Dirty Dancing, Grease, Footloose and Titanic are all masterpieces of their time and still are today. And often people will gravitate towards one, even though they like them all; one will be their absolute heart throb film. For my sister, it’s Dirty Dancing, and for me, it’s Titanic. So, hearing this song, man it’s powerful, and I can picture every scene of the film. 

Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)  – Backstreet Boys – I had to throw some 90’s hits in there, really a bit of this and Spice Girls should be on the list. You never know til you try, turn it on, and rock your body, alright!

If I Ain’t Got You – Alicia Keys – No good music list would be complete without the beautiful Alicia Keys. Now listen, people go on and on about Beyonce, and she’s queen bee, and she’s this and that. Let me be clear, she has nothing on Alicia. Alicia is beautiful inside and out, and does not have the need to flaunt her body to portray her talent. She’s a natural vocalist and musician, her piano skills are out of this world! She’s soulful, and unique, she has it all! Personally I think young girls aspiring to be like Beyonce should be aspiring to be like Alicia keys instead, she’s the girl on fire!

Tomorrow – Chris Young – This man’s voice, man. Him and Brett Young have remarkable deep voices, and voices that are so rustic and unique to the modern country world, they are simply good at what they do. Also, take note, despite their last name being the same and their equally as good incredible talent, these men have no relation whatsoever. As for Brett Young, Mercy would be one of my most favourites by him. I’d recommend getting to know both of these guys, and watch out, their voices may make your loins ache!

Jessie’s Girl – Rick Springfield – One of my all time favourites, and then when Glee did their performance of Jessie’s girl, it made me love it even more. Finn’s performance was not stellar but it was fun because it was Glee and because it was Finn, you know? It’s sad now thinking back on that, as he, Canadian actor Corey Monteith has passed, and he left the world far too young.

Can’t Stop The Feeling – Justin Timberlake – This is such a fun, positive song; I have a fond memory of this song when my cousins all got together and choreographed a dance to this song for my aunt and uncle’s anniversary party, it was awesome! And don’t we all just love J.T? If you’re not a J.T fan don’t worry Ellen Degeneres will make up for it, I love the friendship between the two of them. I’d also like to mention this song is from the Dreamworks film Trolls, which is super cute, and worth seeing while you are in isolation/quarantine. 

 

 

 

Self-Isolation Day 5, 6 & 7: Exercising Faith, Part 2

Day after day, an empty bus drives past my house; of course this bus contains one person, that of whom is the driver. On the odd occasion, there is one other person on this bus. It’s strange. 

Our schools are dark and empty, hallways eerie and barren, there are not even any children scattered about the playgrounds. It’s like a scene out of The Walking Dead. 

Police and Military are disciplining and arresting people not abiding by public distancing rules; some cities and countries are exercising precaution and issuing fines, while others are physically beating the civilians. 

If you take a good hard look at the world right now, it’s both mind-blowingly sad, and bizarre what it has come to. And because of this, there will be numerous people that will just give up. They say with their words and actions:

Let’s give up on hope.

Let’s give up on faith. 

Let’s stop trying.

I give up. 

They give up on themselves, they lose motivation to fight the battles through this time, they stop caring, and become apathetic, and problematic to disease control, rule following and social distancing. 

One of my favourite holiday films, The Santa Clause, quotes that seeing is not believing, that in fact, believing is seeing.

We can’t give up, we can not lose this fight. We can’t lose faith, we must believe that it’s going to get better, it will get better and we will be there to see that. We must surround ourselves with positive affirmations such as these, because nobody said giving up was an option. 

Canada, the true north, strong and free, you better remember that – we  don’t give up, we are the true north, strong and free. We must exercise faith, because with faith will come that strength and sense of freedom in our minds, easing much of this anxiety and uncertainty most of us are facing. We live in the north, we are the north, but we must demonstrate that we are the ‘strong and free’ as well. 

And it won’t be easy, don’t get me wrong, I understand that not only is it a boring and depressing time, it’s scary as well, and you never know who are the good and the bad people are, and who is sincerely helping and who is out to get others.  It’s sad that we’ve come to a time in the world where this has happened and safety, persecution and harassment are among many of the hurdles we face. These are hurdles that we may fear, but keep in mind exercising faith can control that fear. 

A family member of mine discovered that his parents had been using tissues as toilet paper for weeks, and apparently they didn’t know anything about the shortage. Neither of the parents pay much attention to social media and I am not sure how closely they watch the news, but either way, English is not their first language. They knew to stay at home and self isolate, but sadly they did not realize quite the extent of supply shortages. So when their son discovered this, he called an Ontario Wal-Mart to ensure they had some, and explained he’d be right along to pick it up for his senior citizen parents. They set it aside and let me be clear saying there were none on the shelves. He went into the store, paid, and carried out this large pack of toilet paper. He said at least two people asked him where he got it from, he felt the need to run back to his vehicle, and he was rather frightened for his life. I know and love this person, so to hear this story of fear being instilled in him from the threat of these times, it’s so dis-heartening and sad to me. 

But, we have to believe (even without seeing) that moments like this will diminish, and things will improve for each individual. Small business owners have to keep the faith knowing that this too will pass, and I pray their community gravitates towards them when this is all said and done, so that way, they can continue to service their local communities. There will be a post to come addressing the issues facing small, local business, stay tuned!

In the meantime, don’t forget to set your goals, and remain motivated, and positive. Exercising faith during this pandemic can look very different for one person to the next; how a person exercises faith will be dependant on their personal beliefs, values and views. Nonetheless, however you do it, just do it. Some examples of how people will exercise faith within their life are:

Connecting close and spiritually with the outdoors and nature

Regularly scheduled prayers

Bible studies through video chat

Listening to uplifting hymns

Being a devoted servant and helping those in need during this pandemic

Checking in on your church family and the elders in your family and community

Sending positive, uplifting messages to people through social media, email and snail mail

So, Canada (and everyone), remember to do these sort of things, stay motivated, positive and put faith into action, for we are the true north, strong and free!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Self Isolation Day 3 & 4: Exercising Faith, Part 1

Monday, when I had to go pick up my things from my office, I recall having a good ten minute chat with another person that works within the school. He’s an older individual in a different line of work, but we found such comfort to just talk to someone about everything that is happening in the world, and how it is affecting our family and our community. I suppose it also helped that he and I have a pre-existing rapport. But one thing that really stuck out is when he exclaimed that in all his years, he has never seen anything like this, or seen this happen. Now, whether his remark was referring to the schools shutting down, or the global pandemic itself, it spoke volumes. This is a very critical time for the world, the whole world, and that is insane! 

And for most people, even though this pandemic may present itself as new, it is not the first trial, tribulation or struggle they’ve walked through. And really it should be treated just like another one: a trial, and struggle that we’ll get through. Whether it be through faith in action, positivity or perseverance, we will get through this together. Together is a key word there because our strength will be stronger in numbers, so we have to join together, support one another and be sensitive to each other. Be grateful for the family or friends you are in isolation with, and if you are in isolation or quarantine on your own, be grateful for this community- and lean on it! We are so lucky to have an online community from videos, to bloggers, to facetime, you name it – it has allowed people have a sense of family and community while in isolation, and I hope it continues to! But don’t give up, stay positive, and know that it will get better. 

I like to acknowledge all my brothers and sisters that serve God, so here are some encouraging messages, from a multi-faith persepctive, inclusivity is important! 

 

“For many afflictions, silence is the best remedy.” Talmud, Megillah, 18a

 

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. ” – Holy Bible (NIV) Deuteronomy 31:6

 

“And never give up hope of Allah’s soothing mercy, truly no one despairs of Allah’s soothing mercy, except those who have no faith” – Holy Quran 12:87

 

If you are person of faith, right now is the best time to challenge it and exercise it, and if you are not a person of faith, maybe it’s about you gain some personal faith to help you through this difficult time. There are some things here and there that can assist us in getting through this pandemic, and one of those things is exercising faith and knowing it’s got to get better. Please watch this video, ‘Better’ ; whether or not you are a religious person, this video is full of electric positivity around the world, and we could all use a bit of that right now!