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.
Many best of shares on my social media and a bit of reflection – check them out on Facebook and Instagram. In gratitude for each day, I’ve never been one to focus on time – however there is a significance of not only a new year, but a new decade. 2020 baby! Let’s get it.
Just l i v e. If you never try, or set goals – you have nothing to aspire for.
In my mind there were a list of things I was going to cover but once writing they didn’t feel that important to me and didn’t want to make this super long.
What I know is each day is a new opportunity to begin anew, learn from life and lessons, continue with each breath of life to cherish each day and those we love, support them and allow their growth – and please pay attention to actions – not words from people but those words do often matter too – pay attention to the energy you allow.
Appreciate each day, opportunity and lesson, be open to possibilities. Dwell in possibility.
The past is a touchstone to let it teach, energize, inspire, and/or also remember in fondness those who have touched our lives and may no longer be present physically.
Pay attention to people, bringing this up again – especially those you allow into your life as their motives may not always be genuine or healthy. Like my Mom likes to say ‘..more will be revealed…” and that is true once you focus in with that 2020 – it’s all there for better or worse. Not everyone in your circle is rowing, some may be poking holes. Reflect, just don’t get stuck there and always use your knowledge. Recognize health is wealth – I’m not talking muscles and all of that but your overall well being, mentally and physically so you don’t end up with ailments you could have avoided in many cases – self care. As I wrote in ‘Sanctuary’ as a reminder that our home environments no matter how big or small are so important – fill your walls with happy times, peace of mind..a safe place…
People will think and believe what they want – let them, speak your piece if you choose and move on. If they don’t like you in the first place their mind is made up even if it’s fake info and don’t really care for the truth at all. This was ever apparent after my Open Letter “Jody Watley Speaks Out” to Shalamar fans in 2016 – wanting it to put to rest the lies, misperceptions, aspersions that have been cast upon my name regarding the reunion topic and beyond. Not only did I speak truth, I provided receipts to back up everything presented, still people persist with the false narratives. The invitation was extended for an American Farewell show or tour two or three times during the decade – it was not only declined but torched with more lies and disrespect, a point that shouldn’t be surprising as it has gone on for decades and so it’s something I hope people let go of – the effort was made from my end. Lessons learned as always — 2020 vision baby! Clarity.
It gets tough when your reputation and or character is being attacked – pick up Don Miguel Ruiz’s ‘The Four Agreements’ so do what you need to do..and then at a point just leave it be. “The Four Agreements” continues to help me as a practical guide for living. Forgiveness is a beauty and wellness elixir and like saying no to unhealthy fast food, be careful of what you consume on social media.
Some people are still holding on to 40 years ago – I’m not one of them. This decade reaffirmed my realization a lot of people don’t like the truth and are gullible to lies it’s all around just look at the state of American politics ..not to mention blind to the fact a cell or smart phone is not a mere toy or device but is a useful tool for just about anything you’d like to learn,listen to, etc. Be smart and remember everyone is not your friend.
Live life – forget your age…and remember you teach people how to treat you.
My song ‘Another Chapter‘ written at the conclusion of the 90’s going into 00’s still holds true.
Let’s all move forward with clarity and gratitude…. don’t beat yourself up too much no matter what – we are all works in progress as we continue on this journey of life. There will be highs and lows – missteps and triumphs. We all experience days where the mood will be despair and more days full of hope and enthusiasm.
It’s ok to change direction, just don’t get stuck, fearful of mistakes .. try to live with and surround yourself with joy. Another book I recommend that I read a long time ago and re-read not long ago is ‘Conversations With God’ – Neale Donald Walsch. The answers are always here for us and people show you who they are all the time ..pay attention.
Every day is a gift, your life is your own when all is said and done – never let anyone make you forget that.
I notice this in concert and always encourage people to put phone away and get in the moment. You can’t dance, clap your hands, enjoy the experience and who you came with if your focus is capturing the entire show in your phone. Get a few seconds, snippets and then get in the moment. Don’t miss life by trying to film every second. Just be.
I believe this is 1980 for RightOn! Magazine, a feature on my style – in this case hair. This is around the time of Shalamar ‘Three For Love’ album. The style came about because of not wanting to braid to the ends because the unbraiding would be more time consuming. It was unique at the time.
Very proud of the resilience I continue to have, the woman and artist I grew to be – still trying to be the best ME I can be no matter what. I’m full of gratitude, healthy and happy fast forwarding decades later living life and going beyond what I ever dreamed initially to create new ones.
Always choose to believe in yourself and keep growing – never get stagnant or lose faith.
One of my favorite authors and inspirations, Nobel Laureate, Pulitzer Prize winner and so many other accolades. Indeed a groundbreaker and beyond – Toni Morrison leaves behind a powerful legacy and influence that will last for generations to come.
Very said to read she’s passed away at 88. Her work challenged you and touched the spirit. I remember the first time I read early work “The Bluest Eye” in my youth losing and finding myself in her words. I’d read it again later as an adult along with many other books ‘Beloved’, ‘Sula’, ‘Song of Solomon’, ‘Paradise’ along with teachings and speeches. Morrison had such intellect and used it for the type of prose that was often challenging and always thought provoking. My love of reading and literature goes back to junior high Maya Angelou, Nikki Giovanni, James Baldwin to name a few comes from that time on my life filled with challenges and uncertainty- it is also where my love for writing and expression began through poetry, short stories, my first novel (unpublished) and later songwriting.
Rest in Heaven and thank you Toni Morrison for being.
My condolences to her family, friends and those who knew and loved her personally and best. I feel like I knew her too.
Art By Jen Troyer. Quote Excerpt from Commencement Address Wellesley College 2004