I’m proud to be a GRAMMYAdvocacy #DistrictAdvocate!
Today I join the other Recording Academy members and advocates to urge Members of Congress to take action on key #COVID19 priorities for our music community––access to small biz loans and unemployment benefits for the music community and underserved communities.
Nearly 2,000 members of the Recording Academy are meeting with members of Congress for District Advocate day, the largest grassroots advocacy movement for music.
You can also join the movement and help make a difference.
Legislators are still negotiating the next COVID-19 relief package, and we have to ensure they include critical relief for the music community. We are trying to help make a difference for all music creators and those who work in the industry and are self employed.
Tune in tomorrow June 12, 2020 – I’ll be going LIVE on Facebook and Youtube with Black Press USA pages, celebrating 80 Years of the NNPA and 193 years of The Black Press at 4 PM PST, 4 PM EST.
The BlackPressUSA is the only national website featuring news exclusively from African-American journalists, founded by Benjamin F. Chavis Jr., entrepreneur, global business leader, educator, civil rights leader, NAACP Life Member, syndicated columnist and author is the President and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA).
I’m not that great with short captions and descriptions on serious topics and so my blog is often is my place to get further into my thoughts or views. It’s cathartic to just write and not be concerned about likes or comments. My blog here is more akin to a journal entry and a quiet safe space for me. This week in general on social media trying to not get stressed and overwhelmed myself by the flood of posts since the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and with Breonna Taylor’s murder getting more deserved attention has been a lot needless to say for all of us in this country. Personally it’s added even more intensity having a protests turn into riots in my area, looting and vandalism, reading tweets on how they are targeting what they perceive to be all affluent white areas – ‘let’s burn it down’ as I read and think ok what’s my plan when there streets were blocked off, emergency alerts on curfews each day throughout the day these past few days, followed by a mini earthquake – my nerves have been frayed. Change is never pretty or easy. To a degree since the pandemic began I’ve felt a need to take a step back in many ways and appreciate not being on as frequently, trying to listen to music, read a book clear my brain from overload. Reading a particular quote meme the other day on Instagram resonated a good one to share prompting these additional thoughts that some may be feeling or experiencing as well. My song ‘The Healing’ remains on repeat – take the time.
In a conversation with someone very close to me who does very little social media they conveyed the frustration of this underlying pressure to be public and visible, brought on by co-workers on what people are doing right or not doing now for social advocacy. What are you doing? It’s like if your feed is not all protests and memes you must have apathy which is not the case. We agreed that not all of us are good at online activism, especially if you don’t do social media much anyway. My advice was it’s always best to be authentic and most of all what we do offline is what really matters and can be just as if not more impactful. This is not a contest. A lot of corporations and people are being called out for being disingenuous in a rush to ‘say something.’ I even cringed at the music industry proclaiming that the gatekeepers wanted a ‘the show must pause’ on Blackout Tuesday..the same gatekeepers that make sure black artists are paid less, shut out, rarely given positions beyond the ‘urban departments’ and have totally obliterated R&B music from the mainstream airwaves.
There are experts at advocacy and politics of course beyond posting out of emotion. We should applaud these brave and inspired people who do it for a living, it’s a life purpose. Fighting for police reform (defunding the police, holding them accountable for their brutality, racism and not dealing with bad repeat offending cops, Black Lives Matter movement, Black Trans, LGBT rights, homelessness, education a full time job for many. For an awakened portion of society at this important at this pivotal time while cell phones capture the ugliness that exists time after time we are constant virtual witnesses to so much hatred and racism. Now we do have broadened to mass attention and support worldwide as everyone can now see what black people have been experiencing for so long, marching, protesting for change, other countries deal with racism, poverty and so on as well so the world becomes smaller in it’s fatigue of injustice and an imbalance of financial and class equality mixed in. It’s important to say not all black people are not homogenous or monolith in how we do things or think to other blacks and also to non blacks. Stop with the blackness policing, something I’ve experienced as an artist my entire career. Everyone’s feed is full of outrage for one reason or another and it can get a bit overwhelming while understanding absolute need for all of it. I’ve personally been taking more social media breaks, it can’t be healthy to be consumed by the intensity of consistent bad news and violent images all day – day in and day out.
Yes it’s indeed powerful that whites, Asians, Latinos are joining the movement because blacks have been putting the time in for years – this new force will begin to make the change happen. In the midst of all of this there’s still a pandemic, people aren’t working – including artists like myself and you want to find some things to bring you joy each day without feeling guilty that you don’t want full days of anger, frustration, sadness and so on.
The positive is that with so much diversity and especially young people who will be the ultimate agents of change.I’m of the the don’t just post about it be about it mindset. This is not a competition of who can post the most or protest in the streets the most. There are many ways to help bring about and be a part of change, it’s about finding balance and what works for each individual in doing what’s right and just.
This is what prompted this blog, I added to it..
some are posting on social media
some are protesting in the streets
some are donating silently to organizations that fight for justice and equality year-round
some are educating themselves
some are signing petitions (change.org, colorofchange, blacklivesmatter..)
some are having tough conversations with friends, family and co-workers
a revolution has many lanes be kind to yourself and to others who are traveling in the same direction
just keep your foot on the gas
I’d like to add this too posted by a friend of mine on IG based on a reaction often given to “Black Lives Matter”
Another thing I’ve seen..the comment “why don’t black people protest black on black crime?” Crime as a whole is always an issue but when trying to use that, it’s as if it’s a justification or code to not be outraged by police officers who are hired as professionals to serve and protect not abuse their power and not consistently target black people while hiding behind the power of their badge – simple.
Here are resources if you are so inclined to be involved and choosing to not take it to the streets – this is an ongoing process for systemic change that will have to endure and take sustained energy beyond this moment in this country and history.
You can google the links and certainly many I don’t know about..I’m new at a lot of this myself and don’t profess to be an expert by any stretch.
Sign Petitions at Change.Org for Breonna Taylor, David McAtee, Ahmard Arbery, Sandra Bland, Alejandro, Tete Gulley, Marshae Jones, Antonio Domingos Viola (shot and killed for not wearing a mask) T and so many more that I’m still learning about.
Minnesota Freedom Fund
Reclaim The Block
National Bail Out
Black Lives Matter
National Bail Fund Network
The Innocent Project
Run With Maud
Justice For Breonna
Black Lives Matter Los Angeles
Alliance of Californians For Community Alliance
Numbers to Call or Text:
Text Justice to 66-8336
Text Enough to 55-165
Black Trans Protestors Emergency Fund
Black Trans Collective
For The Gworls
The Okra Project
What to know if you’re protesting, know your rights and have a plan; Tips
Leave a message for Louisville Mayor and demand Justice, Independent Internal Investigation for Breonna Taylor 502 574 2003 the 26 year old EMT frontline worker shot 8 times in her own home in the wee hours of the morning in her own bed as police used a no knock warrant at the wrong house. No arrests or charges have been filed..this is not a first – look up 7 year old Aiyana Jones in Detroit.
Vote in your local elections get these old guard racists out and of course in the upcoming national election systematic racism must come to an end.
It’s not enough say say “I’m not racist” – your actions must show that you are “anti-racist” that’s how the change will continue to happen long after this the biggest civil rights movement in history. 50 states, 18 countries of all races who have come out in protest.
Tuesday June 2, 2020 :: Vote primaries today – PENNSYLVANIA, South Dakota, MARYLAND, INDIANA, Washington DC, Idaho, New Mexico, Montana and make sure to vote in all other upcoming local primaries, elections.
Here are a few suggestions to make a difference today :: Support by donating funds for justice for Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, help the family of George Floyd, donate to community bail funds for protestors and organizations that fight for social justice and equality year round, sign legal petitions for justice, find ways to be an ally beyond this moment against racism and inequality, support small business, black owned businesses, don’t just post memes about it – be about it …take a break if you need one.
Posted on Saturday 5.30.2020 to my social media ::
Sometimes words can’t convey all emotions from anger, sadness, frustration, anxiety amongst thoughts and feelings in an often hateful world. Music provides a myriad of ways to try and I’m always thankful for that.
Needless to say, the couple of weeks have and this week in particular very trying leaving me drained. My heart is heavy once again, just pondering the fact that hundreds of years of injustice and racism in this country seems to have no end in sight with not enough done to some police officers who do not protect nor serve but use the power of the badge to kill along while we also have racist vigilantes hunting down a young man jogging. Several years ago I started a blog on the murder of Sandra Bland (disguised to look like a suicide) Bland was stopped for not signaling on a lane change, not the type of offense that should end in death of a vibrant women who had herself spoken on injustice. Her death recalled an incidents I’ve personally experienced that I’ve never publicly spoke on, one involving a situation for an alleged offense that didn’t happen. It was too hard for me to put all of my thoughts into words and so I never finished it, I think of her from time to time and it’s just sad.
There are so many of these tragic stories. George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery are the latest victims to an ever growing list. I mean even Trayvon Martin’s killer, another vigilante (I refuse to say his name) was acquitted when the kid was just out to get an ice tea and Skittles. I have a daughter and son though even if I didn’t, as a human being these realities can’t help but bring anxiety to anyone with a heart. I’ve lived in Los Angeles most of my life and remember the Watts riots that occurred prior to our moving there, the riots in the aftermath of the Rodney King beating acquittals in 1992 going on the Stevie Wonder owned station KJLH along with Denzel Washington and many others to try to calm things down as the area where I went to high school was being set ablaze. As a little girl living in Washington D.C. at the time, vividly still remember the riots in the city after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
I’ve signed petitions as always, called, texted the appropriate public officials to add in public pressure and I encourage you all to do so too – but as we know justice is not always served and there’s often little accountability but we have to keep pushing. We must continue to do our part and in the midst of fighting for what’s right – and not forget the good that does exist at the same time, the good within us as individuals beyond those who are filled with hate.
If needed for our wellness limit intake of the vitriol and outrage recognizing some get off on on social media – seeing our collective pain, a thousand posts from us is just a cycle – likes, clicks, hashtags – we need others in other races and walks of life and especially those in power to channel all of these acts of racism and inequality in the system into action for change.
Horrific photos of the brutal murder of Emmett Till, just a black boy falsely accused by a whole woman in the 40’s hasn’t evoked change in the hearts and minds of racists, apologists, elected officials and portions of the population – what will?
I posted this yesterday on my social media in celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day. This performance was while pregnant with my son on The Arsenio Hall Show in 1992 while promoting my “Affairs Of The Heart” album -also performed that night was my single “I’m The One You Need.’ The Arsenio Hall Show was always a great place to showcase music for black artists simply on a merit basis – long before the “what are the social media numbers, how many followers?” The gatekeepers of today would never allow a show like this.
Around this time I’d performed this single on Good Morning America on MLK Day. My performance earned me an invitation to The White House as the President and First Lady were so moved. It’s an honor I’ll never forget. I also used the opportunity to speak about equality, and support for public education – investing in our youth; definitely inspired by Dr. King. Many know I also recorded this song in honor my my father Rev. John Watley Jr.
“..the more of life I live to see, I feel more like a child – the lessons that I have to learn, I know will take a while – and if it takes eternity I hope your plans for me, surround me with a gift of joy and make my days complete..embrace me with your love and help me rise above – show me the way to keep the faith so I won’t forget to say that it all begins with you..”
We all have the ability to bring positive changes in our lives and in the world each day not to mention the ability to keep the faith and get through barriers and obstacles. You don’t have to be religious (I’m not) to believe in a higher power than all of us and the inner will we have when we keep the faith.
Welcome October! Wishing former President Jimmy Carter and Nobel Peace Prize winner a Happy 95th Birthday!
I had the honor of his invitation to work on Habitat for Humanity back in the 90’s. Both President Carter and First Lady Rosalynn Carter were super nice people, he’s a true humanitarian and man of the people.
My October greeting is on my Youtube Channel — Subscribe
It’s a community picnic you don’t want to miss – and it’s free to the people as a thank you for the Oakland City Council. I’ll be doing a few of my hits – so come on out! June 16, 2018 – I go on at 2 PM.