Friday, May 30, 2008

Feminism: (noun) The radical notion that women are people ~ Linda Starr

We bought a new CD player/changer last week. Our old one just gave out after about 10 short years.

When Tom finished hooking it up, I put CD's in the new player and when I started listening I realized that all three of the CD's were done by women: Melissa Etheridge, KD Lang and Alanis Morissette. All of these women have completely different voices and styles, but intriguing, interesting and soulful in their own way.

Listening to these women sing the songs they had written, I remembered something someone said about African-Americans needing role models and how important it is to see "people like them" on a movie or tv screen or hear them on CD's. I relate to that notion.

I love music. I always have. It was my salvation, my escape when I was a pre-teen and teenager; my own private world. I knew every lyric to every song and would lay on my bed in my bedroom and listen to the radio for hours, singing along with the artists fantasizing about a life I felt was so far out of my reach. Music speaks to me like poetry does for others.

When I watch a movie, a song will catch my ear and send me running to the computer to download it: Sometimes by Michael Franti & Spearhead from Last Holiday; Feels Like Home by Chantal Kreviazuk from How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days; Fallen by Lauren Wood from Pretty Woman; or Real Gone by Sheryl Crow from Cars. One of my all time favorites is "Golden" by Jill Scott from the movie, Beauty Shop.

As you can see, I have pretty eclectic tastes.

Some of the most treasured gifts I've received are music because when someone gives me a CD that they think I would like, it means they've understood me emotionally. About 10 or 11 years ago, Mike gave me the CD DoubleWoman Of The World. It's old, from the 80's, but I still love it. It reminds me of driving my Mustang convertible along the beach in Oceanside and Carlsbad. Or when Chris lived here in Arkansas and came over one afternoon and handed me a CD by the Blues Travelers and said, "Here, Mom. I think you'll like this." I did and I still do. Every time I listen to it, it reminds me of how much I love going the clubs in the French Quarter in New Orleans or on Beale Street in Memphis. So much music, so little time.

But, what I realized last week is that when I choose something to listen to, I almost always choose women artists. They write about what I need, how I feel, what I want. They write about who I am and who we are in this world. They are people like me. Their voices are my voice.

So, when I ran across this video with Carley Simon this morning, I thought "YES !!" The movie is Working Girl, about a young woman fighting for her place in the corporate world and finding herself in the process. Oh, God, take a look at the clothes and hair! We loved that look back then, didn't we.

But, still, the lyrics for the song, Let The River Run (The New Jerusalem), are just as relevant today.

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