music

Politically Divided: Healing for Families, Friends, and Couples

This week, I talk to a guest from past times: writer Mitch del Monico! We talk about communicating, especially with people we disagree with. This is especially important in divisive times, in which disagreements can lead to relationship rupture. Mitch recently wrote a book addressing this phenomenon, called Politically Divided, which we also talk about.

You may recognize Mitch from a previous episode, when I interviewed him and co-creator Shaan Dasani about Agent of Change. He’s a writer who has also worked as a film and music video director and digital media assistant on a ship that sailed the Atlantic Ocean. His feature film, Alto, stars Annabella Sciorra, Natalie Knepp, and Diana DeGarmo.

Mitch has also written for HuffPo and has researched TV shows for the History Channel, Discovery, and the American Heroes Channel, among others, including nearly a hundred episodes of Modern Marvels. Mitch has spoken on panels at Comic-Con, Wonder-Con, the LA Film Festival, and CreatorUp! and has served as a juror for the Don Thompson LGBT Film Festival for the past three years in a row.

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The Power of Music With Nadjah Nicole

On today’s show, I interview NBC’s talented Nadjah Nicole. We talk about inspiration and purpose (a usually interconnected duo) as well as the practice of staying true to yourself and your community.

Nadjah Nicole, a previous contender for NBC’s Emmy Award winning TV show The Voice, is a Delaware native. She was introduced to 10 million viewers during her 10 week run on the show, and is a talented singer and songwriter who has amassed an impressive resume.

Nadjah’s performance, which she believes is the standard serving of soul music, complements her soothing, soulful, and melodic vocal style.

Nadjah's focus is on making an impact in the music scene. Along with her band, she performs original music as well as classic favorites.

You can follow her on Instagram @nadjahnicole.

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Music Playlist: Suggested Best Of Erykah Badu

I posted on Facebook : What's your favorite Badu song? And you all delivered! The result was a collection of past and more current songs from this wonderful soul artist. The range of emotions from song to song is also so beautiful! Hope ya'll enjoy!!

In no particular order: 

  1. Other Side Of The Game
  2. Orange Moon
  3. Out My Mind, Just In Time
  4. Tyrone
  5. Green Eyes
  6. On and On
  7. Sometimes
  8. I Want You
  9. Love Of My Life
  10. You Got Me
  11. Window Seat
  12. Didn't Cha Know
  13. In Love With You
  14. Next Lifetime
  15. No Love

Listen to the playlist on Spotify or Youtube:

Adele, White Privilege and The Grammys

Adele gets to transcend genre because she is white. It is because of white privilege that white artists are able to be individuals, moving beyond categorization.  Our privilege allows us to be just us, rather than seen in comparison to the social groups we belong to.  It is no different than any other profession.  Often times, we are rewarded for work that is really mediocre - our privilege gives us that extra bump up.

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I think Adele is a genius.  I love her music.  I have rolled up my windows and driven along passionately singing the chorus to hello many a-time.  So this isn’t a knock on Adele. It is an acknowledgement that Adele, and all white artists such as myself, benefit from white privilege in all aspects of our careers.

Our biases affect how we perceive an artist and their work.  As soon as we find out the gender, or race, or sexual orientation, or body type, and all the other aspects of their identity, our minds immediately place them into the boxes our collective and personal biases have created.  For most people, this process happens without our realization, or even permission, and is formed through our subconscious and implicit biases.

If Adele was a Black or Brown Women, perceptions of her, and her music, and the words used to describe her and her music, would be completely different.  Her entire experience of becoming a rising star would have been different.  And it is hard to imagine that she would have received the amount of awards she has this far.  Rather than being a star in her own category, she would constantly be compared to other Black or Brown Women who vaguely sound and/or look like her.

Let’s check the stats: only 10 black artists have won Album of the Year in Grammy history: Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, Lauryn Hill, Michael Jackson, Natalie Cole, Lionel Richie,  Outkast, Whitney Houston, Herbie Hancock  and Quincy Jones.

We all remember Macklemore’s Grammy night.  Macklemore has won more rap grammy awards than  “2Pac, Biggie, Nas, DMX, Busta Rhymes, KRS-One, Rick Ross, Snoop Dogg, Mos Def, Run DMC, Public Enemy, Big Pun, Jeezy, Ja Rule and Kendrick Lamar, combined” (Complex, 2015).

I’m not saying Mack is terrible either, I’ve enjoyed his music often. But I know, you know, he knows, we all know, he is not better than all of those rappers combined.   That’s the bump white privilege gets you.

Of course, Adele’s wins were in stark contrast with Beyonce not winning.   Adele even gave a great speech acknowledging how messed up (racist) the Grammy process is. Lemonade was a cultural, musical, and cinematic work of genius.  You don’t need me to talk about how powerful, empowering, revolutionary and impactful Lemonade is.  That much is obvious.  Lemonade was also Black.  Beautifully Black.  Brilliantly Black. Boldly Black. Black Girl Magic Black.  

But white supremacy does not recognize Black.  White supremacy denies Black, while claiming all lives matter.

The Grammy’s won’t reward that.  The Grammy’s are just another night of white privilege at play.

Music Playlist: Suggested By Friends

I posted on facebook: what’s a song I should check out?  The result was a diverse and exciting range of musical suggestions.  To capture the magic, I created a playlist based upon these answers.

In no particular order: 

  1. Just Hear Me by 6 Deep The Messenger
  2. All Night by The Vamps feat. Matoma
  3. Don’t You Wait by Solange
  4. River by Ibeyi
  5. Magic by Amel Larrieux
  6. Rose Golden by Kid Kudi
  7. Negro Jig by Carolina Chocolate Drops
  8. Shekinah & Kyle Deutsch - Back To The Beach (youtube only)
  9. The bitch is back - Tina Turner recorded 1990 (youtube only)
  10. My Faith, My Voice by Native Deen
  11. A Long Time Ago by First Aid Kit
  12. Yesterday by Noname
  13. The Art Teacher by Rufus Wainwright
  14. Stop This Train by John Mayer
  15. Eternal Sunshine by Jhene Aiko (spotify only)
  16. Shine by Blitz The Ambassador
  17. Playing God by Paramore
  18. Legend Has It by Run The Jewels
  19. FDT by YG
  20. Say It To Me Now by Glen Hansard
  21. FInal Day by Young MArbles
  22. Courage by The Villagers
  23. Comme d’habitude by Claude Frances
  24. Agolo by Angelique Kidjo
  25. Indian Moon by State Radio
  26. We The People by A Tribe Called Quest (spotify only)
  27. Owner Of A Lonely Heart by YES
  28. Riot by Childish Gambino (spotify only)
  29. Ego by Bibi Bourelly
  30. Papaoutai by Stromae (spotify only)

Listen to the playlist on Spotify or YouTube:

Expression Session - Featuring Wally B

Very Exciting News! I am launching an online and live expression session.  

This event will include a writing workshop, open mic, and performances by nationally recognized artists.  AND you can attend from anywhere in the world!

Our first feature for this great event is the brilliant and talented Wally B!

To register - click here or head to the events tab.  

To give you a sneak peak - here is a special episode of T.H.E. Celebration featuring Wally B.  In this episode Wally talks about how he got started in spoken word, becoming a full time artist, and he performs 3 powerful poems!  

To watch the episode - View This Video:

On the go? Listen Below:

It's also available as an iTunes Podcast:

Click this to listen on iTunes

Click this to listen on iTunes

To donate and support the Heard Em' Say BNV Team please click here or visit https://www.gofundme.com/2016hesslamteam