NEW YORK SNIP370 – White, Conservative & Christian

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This is going to be hard to write. I’ve been listening to Nina Simone playing and singing for the last twenty minutes. She and her music are one and she puts herself raw and pain-filled into her presence in front of the piano & microphone. I am, to put it softly, an elderly man who has lived and who is living with many experiences and much feeling that I fear I can not and will not ever externalize like Nina. I am a hidden person in spite of or because of a fear that I learned very early to not show, to hide for reasons unknown to me.
Is this because I’m a coward? Could be. What is a coward? A person who is permitting power over me or learned early on that he did not have the power or actually the trust in his circumstances, and I’m thinking young, really young, say one two or three, that would could or should not be heard. I’m not thinking small things such as lollipops or a red wagon, or roughing it up in a puddle of mud from a recent rain; I’m not thinking of big things, standing at 36 inches or 1 meter small, such as asking for a hug or an encouragement to be simply my little struggle to become bigger, crawl walk talk and ask for stuff that likely or repeatedly is ignored. I don’t know. I just don’t know.
Do you see? I don’t. You might very well see and say ‘Grow up. Be. Breathe. Dance. Sing. Do as you like! Go ahead!’ I don’t know which goddamned voice I am channeling at this and so many other times. And here I am at the eighty-seventh hour of my hundred in this incarnation of me. ME. Hah hah, don’t be a fool. At least you can do that, can’t you?! This is the only presence you have and it is more than enough to be jolly and thankful for. So what is blinding you? Blocking you? Yeah, I’m afraid that I will have to live with this inconclusiveness for those thirteen final other hours that the universe has granted me to construct. I have talents enough and I am resourceful. I have brain power and I have financial wherewithal to do whatever. But. BUT.
It is of course not just Nina who reminds me of what I feel I have in terms of life experience and personal capabilities. She is a performer. She chose to be that in part because Blacks in America must mostly dance or sing or jump or run for their bread. She chose that also because she would not be heard or listened to if she didn’t dance sing jump run.
She developed a very unique style of being heard. She offers offered honesty about the anguish she feels. In her partly improvisational singing she weaves her history of seeking love and recognition. I heard moments ago when I listened on the great YouTube how magically she connects with the bass with the drummer guitarist and with the piano she plays. She moves her body parts, shoulders hands head hips to the pulse and the ambience, the story, they are creating together without knowing too much in advance what will happen when she sings, when she talks, when they drum or strum or blow. Together with them or alone, she reaches out connecting her life to the world she lives in and that we come to realize we live in as well, partly or wholly. That is a very inviting mindset that I and audience prize deeply, namely to not control, to not hold hard to long hours of rehearsed playing. It is clear from the White audiences that they appreciate that fierce trust in the universe she displays and engages and connects to on stage in spite of the likelihood not in her personal life.


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