Barbra, Bob and Black Gospel
BROOKLYN BABY! Cheaaa Son! All day long! Being born and reared in Brooklyn, New York shaped how I see the world. From the streets of Flatbush, Crown Heights, Bed Stuy, Brownsville and East NY, I was fully immersed in diversity and culture like NO other. Surrounded by bodegas, boom boxes, Bouyon, bullets and Bekishes, I grew up living, breathing, absorbing it ALL. Diversity was simply a way of life.
My first year of college (which my mother still refers to as the most expensive vacation on record) was spent at an amazing HBCU in Virginia. Having got skipped from 7th to 9th grade, it was my introduction as a 17 yr old from the concrete jungle, to the darkest country skies I’d ever seen. “What’s a matter Brooklyn? ‘Fraid of the dark?”, the Bartle & Jaymes in him teased as we stood on campus; him leaning in for the goodnight suga he never got. “Nah, this ain’t dark baby…”, I quipped as I leaned back a bit. “This is country dark and y’all can HAVE it!”
I joined the award winning Gospel Choir at my school that had at least 100 members and a full band. I then auditioned for and got into the condensed version of the group of 30 singers called the Travel Choir. Such an incredible, life changing experience. However, to see me on stage, in uniform, displaying classic, jaw dropping Black Gospel choir vibrato and choreographed steps, you would never peg me for the girl who blasted Barbra Streisand in her dorm room…incessantly.
A fellow native Brooklynite, Barbra’s Yentl soundtrack sang me through the toughest of times. As Bob Marley rang in my soul from childhood days gone by and Black Gospel imploded in my spirit, I was a walking billboard for all things B-52’s meets The Human Beatbox. A mosaic of music, nationalities, aromas and street survival shaped my gait and mystique. Dopeness.
So the next time you extend a firm handshake, direct eye contact and hopefully a smile when meeting another, don’t cripple a potentially divine experience by deciding who they are by what you see. You could be in the presence of the Barbra, Bob and Black Gospels of the spirit realm and forfeit a reservoir of refreshing renaissance tailor made…just for you.
As you pause to reflect on and perhaps now embrace the rich, rare blend of who you are at this very moment, know that there is a God loving you for who you are, JUST AS YOU ARE, right now.
Be blessed beyond measure and strengthened for the rest of the journey….
**Photo Credits: MTV, TheWowStyle, BlackArtBlog. No Copyright Infringement Intended