Happy Black History Month! Before we get into the blog, here are a few steps we’re taking to fight the systemic injustice that Black folks face every day. As always, we invite you to join us.
It also felt like a good time to reshare a blog Dann wrote back in 2018 for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. A lot has changed since then — and a lot has stayed the same. Let’s not keep repeating history.
“Why don’t they just stick to music?” “It was great until he started running his mouth…” “Why do they always have to bring up politics?”
I’m sure you’ve heard it. Either from a family member watching a performance on TV or you overheard it walking back to the parking lot after a show. Someone (usually male) complaining that the concert they had just witnessed – that they heard about, purchased tickets to, made plans for a sitter, got some kind of transportation, possibly brought food and drink for before or after the concert, with plenty of car speakers blaring the music they just heard or were about to hear – had a political (liberal) message at some point in the show. I’ve heard this most often around Pearl Jam, Bruce Springsteen, U2, and other “loud mouth” front men. And the thought which 100% of the time enters my mind is “do you KNOW the artist you came to see?”
But recently, I have started thinking about this issue differently.
People like being comfortable. Part of what makes going to concerts so rewarding is the commonality of thousands of people, fists in the air, singing and dancing along to their favorite songs. For many, a U2 concert is a religious event. A church where there are no hymnals and the words (or at least the vowel sounds) are pouring off of everyone’s tongue from the first or second note of the intro. When Bono starts “running his mouth” the guy who thinks Bono’s worldview isn’t correct all of a sudden is left out. His church is no longer welcoming to him. He is uncomfortable. He has no choice but to listen to what is going on, even if he decides this is the time to run to the bathroom or grab another beer or a t-shirt. He’s maybe even forced to question his belief about whatever it is and is either sad/depressed or angry/defensive or insulted in some other way. He is uncomfortable. And that’s a good thing.
Too many – politicians especially – point to “white and black children living together” as the “comfortable” Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I Have A Dream is easy. From the first part of the intro, words (or at least vowel sounds) are pouring off everyone’s tongue. It’s when he starts to “run his mouth” in the Letter From a Birmingham Jail, or in Beyond Vietnam, people – especially white and mid-to-upper-class – get a little uncomfortable. The speeches are no longer welcoming. They are questioning. They may make someone feel angry/defensive. They may seem even a little insulting. And definitely uncomfortable. And that’s a good thing.
Maybe we all need a little discomfort. We all need a little shakeup. We need to look at the Poor People’s Campaign or “Where Do We Go From Here?” and realize that sometimes it’s important to stop talking and listen. And that’s how we learn. And THAT is how America gets better. #blacklivesmatter #imwithKap — D
This week’s theme is books! As always, we’ll be going live at 6 pm ET on our Facebook page.
AND. If you haven’t listened to our latest collection of tunes “playlist. #notarecord” we have a brand spankin’ new, one-stop-shop link for you to find it on your favorite music platform!