Where life leads me

All of those who carry a burden for righting wrongs learn quickly there are times when even the most dedicated, compassionate person needs to recharge their batteries. Music has long been a source of respite and rejuvenation for me. In fact, I don’t know where I would be or even if I would be here were it not for the songs and sounds of the musically gifted among us. Collectively, we can raise our voices to the elite and say, “This is mine, you can’t take it.” You see, our freedom is no longer based on validation from our captors. This is the message we have to share with our fellow captives, wherever they may reside. Stevie Wonder, who recently refused to play a benefit concert for the Israeli Defense Forces, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989, as if they could keep him out. I dare you not to tap your feet and crack a smile as the rhythm section kicks in. Now, I too can finally go where life leads me…

Postscript: Here is a link to the letter that Chelsea Manning wrote sharing what she is grateful for this Thanksgiving. This, dear readers, is what courage looks like.

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24 Responses to Where life leads me

  1. Genie says:

    Malcolm X, was not murdered by the Nation of Islam, his family has stated so and made it very clear that this is a false flag accusation. I only bring this up because Chelsea Manning said so in your link.

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    • Jeff Nguyen says:

      Per Manning’s letter: “For instance, the man commonly known as Malcolm X began to openly embrace the idea, after an awakening during his travels to the Middle East and Africa, of an international and unifying effort to achieve equality, and was murdered after a tough, yearlong defection from the Nation of Islam.”

      I don’t see where Manning claimed the Nation of Islam murdered Malcolm X. She brings up the fact that the assassination took place following Malcolm X’s break with the Nation of Islam but doesn’t allege that the NOI was responsible for his death.

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  2. I completely agree with that post. The song on that clip is also one of my favorites (along with “Signed Sealed Delivered”, “Sir Duke” and “I Wish”).

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  3. I’m hearing/feeling you Jeff.

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  4. smilecalm says:

    Stevie sure can offer some heartfelt inspiration. First record I ever got, while in grade school, was “uptight”: baby, everything’s alright, uptight out of sight. Gotta have music for the (r)evolution!

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    • The revolution, when and if, may or may not be televised, podcast, live-streamed,tweeted, posted to Facebook, uploaded on Youtube, or maybe simulcast from a billion I-phones! But it’s absolutely gotta have tunes, otherwise, what’s the point? I won’t even go to heaven if they don’t have decent music! Thanks again, Jeff. – Linda

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  5. Proper respect.

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  6. Again, another example of a person standing up and taking the action he can take, as an artist. And Happy Holidays to you, even if you, as we aren’t celebrating the “traditional holiday” it’s always good to take time to be thankful for the good in our lives.

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    • Jeff Nguyen says:

      Actually, of all the Hallmark holidays the one I dislike the least is thanksgiving. While largely based on fictional historical reenactments, I do like the emphasis on gratefulness and family. There are things to be thankful for and this is as good a time as any to be reminded of that fact. Happy holidays to you and yours, Skywalker.

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  7. Thanks for posting this one Jeff!

    I’ll never forget, the first Stevie Wonder song ever sang to me was, “Isn’t She Lovely?” I am still blushing as I was on the school bus and my fellow classmates made fun of me the entire day, chanting, “Shelby’s got a boyfriend, Shelby’s got a boyfriend!” LOL! I blushed the whole day long!

    Thanks again! This brought back memories of happier times. I try to be thankful every day, but I still cannot celebrate this particular holiday and the subsequent madness that follows.

    In any event, I sincerely hope that you and your family enjoy a wonderful day together!

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    • Jeff Nguyen says:

      Too funny, it’s good there wasn’t YouTube back then. That’s a great Stevie Wonder story, though. At least they didn’t sing, “My Shelby amour, pretty little one that I adore…” I remember listening to “In Square Circle” when I was around 12, over and over on cassette and headphones. Those were the days…

      I understand your disinterest in the holiday, itself, and share your desire to be thankful not just when Madison Avenue tells us to. Best to you and your family, Shelby.

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      • “My Shelby amour, pretty little one that I adore…”

        ROFLMAO!! I am roaring with laughter over THAT one! If that one had been sung to me, I would have crawled back home! Jeff, you are too much!!! Love the humor man, love the humor!!!! LMAO!!!!!

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  8. G-Star says:

    Thanks Jeff. I remember I ‘discovered’ Stevie Wonder around 2000. I heard Fulfillingness’ First Finale and it blew me away. He was passionate, political, and as ‘funky’ as his contemporaries… when that term represented commitment to experimentation and liberation, political and musical. Prior to that I’d only known him thanks to 80s AM radio and thought he was a MOR crooner (Ebony and Ivory, Part Time Lover, etc. Of course he was still political then but those songs didn’t make the radio.) Anyhow, he was one of my entries to the world of 70s funk and soul, and if we can use Thanksgiving for our own purposes, I’m grateful that the black power movement taught us that the combination of music and politics doesn’t have to be dreadfully earnest and boring. Real struggle means real songs.

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    • Jeff Nguyen says:

      “Real struggle means real songs”…amen to that. I first heard Stevie Wonder through the radio and didn’t get into his older stuff until I was older. Have you heard of Victor Wooten? He’s a virtuoso bassist who plays with Bela Fleck. His album “Palmystery” has some serious funk in it.

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  9. Music, water, food–and in that order.

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