The Other Side Of 50
As the clock struck midnight, I was leaving my wonder years behind and crossing over into what I call, the other side of 50. It’s a milestone. After all, I have been floating around this great universe for half a century, that surely has to count for something! A celebration, a look back over the years full of changes, growth, and lessons learned with some being very hard and some showing me the reasons why. Either way, I was looking forward to this next journey. It goes without saying that even though I feel prepared for this next phase there are some questions about how I will handle what is to come.
Growing older is a gift that I cherish and never take lightly. Part of growing older is wondering what life after 50 will be like. Will I still be able to enjoy life as much as before? Or will I have to slow down and take things easy? These questions can be daunting, but there is much to look forward to as any of us who are faced with these questions enter the second half of our lives.
Great change and opportunity don’t magically end because you have added that extra year to your life. While it may be tempting to slow down and take it easy, there are many reasons to embrace this new chapter of life. From pursuing new hobbies and interests to spending more time with loved ones. It’s important to remember that everyone has a different story, but there is so much to enjoy and appreciate as you grow wiser and evolve into the best you.
The Tennessee Three
As a writer, I often speak on what’s in my heart, what affects me and the things that matter.
On this latest episode of Being Black in America...
Recent gun violence has and continues to take its toll on so many lives. Losing a loved one at the hands of evil is the most unimaginable pain to have to face. After the shooting in Uvalde, Texas last year, my hope was shattered, it was devastating to know that so many bright young smiles were taken away.
And here we are again. Another mass shooting in Nashville Tennessee that took the lives of three 9 year old students and three adults. When does it end and when will change happen?
Well… Rep. Gloria Johnson, Rep. Justin Jones & Rep. Justin Pearson staged a demonstration on the House floor calling for gun reform and leading chants with a bullhorn. In an effort to have their voices heard after their microphones were cut off whenever they raised the topic of discussion, they took matters into their own hands to get their points across by any means necessary.
But no one ever likes to address the elephant in the room. Imagine that
Two of the state representatives were expelled. And what a shocker, they just happen to be black. Rep. Gloria Johnson was not expelled although she participated in the same demonstration.
The message is loud, but far from clear. Saying that Jones and Pearson had a “history” of being disruptive during proceedings is backed by nothing but fear of those who are outspoken and go against the grain. What that actually means, they should have known their place as two young, powerful and brave black men and only said what the others wanted them to hear.
I commend these young leaders for speaking up, for making steps towards a change even if those who don’t agree try to silence them. The ignorance is amazingly scary… this has only wakened so many who will walk with them.
I stand in support of their message, their commitment, the bravery it took to be bold, to speak up and be looked at as strange and different and most of all I pray for this continued fight and their safety.
PROTECT KIDS NOT GUNS
#thetennesseethree #gunreform #protectkidsnotguns
This world is so wicked right?! So many opinions and hatred towards another person just because their melanin is popping. Imagine that!
I will forever be amazed by the ability of society to separate black and white and make one gesture ok for one but not the other.
As Reese stated, “I don’t fit in the box that y’all want me to be in. I’m too hood, I’m too ghetto. So this was for the girls that look like me, that’s gonna speak up on what they believe in, that’s unapologetically you.” Congrats to Angel and her amazing team in this monumental and historic victory! Keep riding this wave, living life, and shining bright young queen!
When I see her, I see my nieces. I see the beauty in who they are and I will always encourage them to be the best of whatever they choose and to go after their wildest dreams. After all, the world is all of ours, not just one race.
This has been another episode of Black Girl Magic 💜
The stories that come together due to the sounds of music will forever be never-ending. A perfectly synchronized beat. The mix of a song that leaves you with an unforgettable vibration of soul shaking and life changing tunes. It’s all for the love of the game and that game is one that true music lovers never tire of playing. A true artist and music lover to the core, Jamal Ahmad born and raised in College Park, Georgia found his love of music at the age of 5. As we know, most love stories start before we truly know who we are, but they set the tone for who we are to become. Ahmad cut his first demo at the age of 16, played in the legendary House of Funk marching band for Morehouse College during the 90s and allowed his love for the craft to carry him even higher. He is a songwriter, a musically gifted artist, a dreamer and crafter of those higher vibrations we love to groove to. Come along with me and dive into a truly enlightening conversation as we learn more about his band, The DangerFeel Newbies, the latest release of his single, Somewhat Loved and the power of music and its undeniable influence on his life.
There aren’t too many who know the story of Dangerfield Newby. The son of a white slave master who would later be freed. Newby made a living as a blacksmith and eventually joined John Brown and his raiders in hopes to free his wife and family. What was it about his story that led you to call your band, ‘DangerFeel Newbies?
That is a brilliant question. Because the story of Dangerfield Newby is so intrinsically connected to the universal struggles of the human spirit. When I first heard about him while watching Ken Burn's Civil War documentary back in 2007, I remember his name striking a big chord with me. I literally came up with the band name, The Dangerfeel Newbies, after hearing his name. It had a vibration that felt like there was more to his story. So I did research and found out there was so much more to his story and when I discovered the love letters between him and his wife Harriet, I knew that their story would be felt deeply by all humanity. Because it's a story that's essentially about what sacrifices would we make for love, family and our people. It's like the Prince song "I Would Die For You". It's the ultimate black love story. When I saw the plaquer in the National Museum Of African American History & Culture with her quote, it affirmed my deep affinity for their story.
Blues, jazz, soul, funk, hip-hop & house are all music genres that have deep history. How has the influence and culture of music inspired you as a musician?
Sometimes we as African Americans forget that one of the greatest commodities we've given to this world, outside of our epic symbol of struggle, is our music and its spiritual and healing qualities. It's changed the world many times, going all the way back to the Fisk Jubilee Singers and Ella Shepherd creating what we now call Negro spirituals. When folks like Queen Victoria, Ulysses S. Grant and Mark Twain and royals all over the world heard their songs that were once referred to as "cabin songs", they heard something so hauntingly beautiful and soulful. Even the great composer Johann Strauss proclaimed at one of their shows that this was the greatest music he'd ever heard in his life. So that's how our story begins. It starts in this deeply cathartic space where the music is healing to our people who had been enslaved for hundreds of years and then set free in a cold wilderness. And everything else that came after it, ragtime, jazz, rock 'n' roll, soul, R&B, funk, hip-hop, house, techno, whatever, came from this same place and effectively changed the globe. That's why I take all these genres so seriously. You can see how the world moves to our beat. It's not the other way around lol.
AJ is a creative writer and storyteller writing from her home in Indiana.
"This is how you do it; you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until it's done. It's that easy, and that hard." -Neil Gaiman