Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘self-respect’


Racism has been an albatross around the necks of Americans for centuries now! Imagine that something as heinous as the pain and suffering that comes as a result of skin color hatred is still occurring in the 21st century! Baffling? Yep. And, because it is an age-old collective disorder we suffer with, there has been much written on the subject. There have been plays, movies, TV series, books, spoken word performances, poems, even pantomimes on the subject of racism and the incredible damage it causes the human spirit. Yes, everyone is affected by the ugliness caused by generational hatred.

gil
One of the most fascinating spoken word artist, the spoken word “OG” and guru to many rappers, was the eloquent, dynamic, straight shooter, Gil Scott-Heron. Gil is the godfather of rap, conscious rap! Below, you’ll find the words to one of his best known spoken word pieces, “Winter In America”. No further description is necessary, because, believe me, it speaks for itself. After listening to this video, read up on this awesome, courageous wordsmith. And, know that his courage did not come without a price. For me, and many of my generation, in spite of his addictions, Gil Scott Heron was a hero. Hey, it’s even a part of  his name…

WINTER IN AMERICA words by Gil Scott Heron & music by Brian Jackson

From the Indians who welcomed the pilgrims
And to the buffalo who once ruled the plains
Like the vultures circling beneath the dark clouds
Looking for the rain
Looking for the rain

Just like the cities staggered on the coastline
Living in a nation that just can’t stand much more
Like the forest buried beneath the highway
Never had a chance to grow
Never had a chance to grow

And now it’s winter
Winter in America
Yes and all of the healers have been killed
Or sent away, yeah
But the people know, the people know
It’s winter
Winter in America
And ain’t nobody fighting
‘Cause nobody knows what to save
Save your soul, Lord knows
From Winter in America

The Constitution
A noble piece of paper
With free society
Struggled but it died in vain
And now Democracy is ragtime on the corner (Unemployed)
Hoping for some rain
Looks like it’s hoping
Hoping for some rain

And I see the robins
Perched in barren treetops
Watching last-ditch racists marching across the floor
But just like the peace sign that vanished in our dreams
Never had a chance to grow
Never had a chance to grow

And now it’s winter
It’s winter in America
And all of the healers have been killed
Or been betrayed
Yeah, but the people know, people know
It’s winter, Lord knows
It’s winter in America
And ain’t nobody fighting
Cause nobody knows what to save
Save your souls
From Winter in America

And now it’s winter
Winter in America
And all of the healers done been killed or sent away
Yeah, and the people know, people know
It’s winter
Winter in America
And ain’t nobody fighting
Cause nobody knows what to save
And ain’t nobody fighting
Cause nobody knows, nobody knows
And ain’t nobody fighting
Cause nobody knows what to save

Read Full Post »


Book Club Member, Ariel Hughes reading "For Colored Girls.." photo by Ms. Kuficha

Greetings, Emery Book Club Members!

In the month of May, we are challenging our book club members to attend EVERY meeting and bring their enthusiasm into the reading of poems we will perform from our famous new book, “For Colored Girls who have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow is Enuf”.

In this fascinating book of poetry, our author, Ntozake Shange, began with a series of seven poems exploring the realities in the lives of seven different women. From there, any poetry or choreopoetry Ms. Shange created and developed was put in her collection, “For Colored Girls…” Eventually, the collection became a best-selling book and a well-received off-Broadway play.

I first saw “For Colored Girls…” when I moved back to California sometime in the late 1970’s . Instead of attending the play with my husband at the time, I attended it with girlfriends who would be more available to the emotional aspects of the play. We found the play to be one of the most profound pieces of work we’d ever experienced, mostly because of the subject matter. Ntozake spoke the language of our hearts. She reminded us of our heartbreaks and sorrows but we didn’t feel defeated as we watched the actresses perform her choreopoetry.

By the end of the play, after shedding tears and squelching anger, we, the audience, rose triumphantly embracing the actresses with our thunderous applause! We chanted, “I found God in myself and I loved her!” Were there any more powerful words a woman could say when life had seemed defeating? This was the gift I found in Ms. Shange’s work! We affirmed that life’s hard tricks could not defeat us as we walked out of that theater. There was so much excitement in the crowd as we walked into the sunlight of an early summer evening. Conversations buzzed around ours as we all had so much to say about which part of the play’s choreopoetry most affected us. We couldn’t just return to our homes; we needed to sit together, break bread and continue to share our findings, that which opened within us due to the depths the play caused us to explore.

Let’s perform “For Colored Girls…”, each of us taking a poem that resonates with us and provokes us to thought, laughter or one that we just find interesting…

I have described for you my experience with “For Colored Girls…”, and I now will challenge you, our book club members who now have received this book, to find the poem of your liking, one that speaks to your soul or spirit. The poem you choose, you will read to the club members. We will each “perform” our poems to each other much in the spirit of Ms. Shange’s play. While you do not have to learn your chosen poem by heart, you must learn it well enough that when we hear it, we hear the voice of the poem NOT the  person reading the poem. Take time to read and reread and reread the poem you choose until its words roll out of your mouth, each word with meaning and innerstanding. A performance means that you put your talent, your enthusiasm, your sassiness into that poem! Make it YOUR poem!

This is how we will read this book. Each student chooses her poem and learns it to the point of deep connection. When it’s your turn to perform your poem, bring a prop or wear a color that best suits your poem. For example, Ariel has chosen to perform the poem, “lady in yellow”. She will bring something yellow when she reads her poem to the book club. Remember: THIS IS FUN! Step up with enthusiasm and recognize that these poems may represent something special that only you can connect with. We will choose our poems and start practicing on Wednesday.

Each student is required to subscribe to the blog! You will see a box on the right of the page: “EMAIL SUBSCRIPTION”. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them in the comment section at the bottom of the blog. Your comments are appreciated and posted after I read them. Thank you all!

Our next meeting is THIS WEDNESDAY, 4 May 2011, IMMEDIATELY after school in Ms. Rasmussen’s class, room 15. Looking forward to seeing you there! BRING YOUR BOOKS & JOURNALS! (those who have received them)

"Colored Girls" are the Rainbow: Black, Red, Brown, Yellow & White! We all be Colored Girls! So, LOVE & RESPECT Yourselves!"

Read Full Post »