Feel the Music

Many of us can mark precious moments in our lives by the popular music of the time. We recall the songs that were playing at our first dance or when our lips found its first kiss. I remember the first time I heard the world come alive by the power of music. My mother bought me a couple of 45s. James Brown’s “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag,” lit my fire and “It’s the Same Old Song” by the Four Tops. Soul music led me to my favorite group The Temptations. Otis Williams, David Ruffin, Eddie Kendricks, Paul Williams and Melvin Franklin were five elegant, show-stopping, Black men singing and stepping about love, heartache and life.

I grew up at a powerful time in America’s history. The music of the 60′s and 70′s was full of philosophy and life lessons. Integration, the Civil Rights struggle, the Black Power Movement, the Vietnam War, the Hippie scene, drugs, the Biafran Civil War in Nigeria, all brought serious conversations to the forefront of public debate. Thought provoking lyrics ignited heated discussions on street corners and front steps, in barbershops and neighborhood bars on what was good or evil, right or wrong. There were real messages of hope and aspiration, in the music…messages of human dignity, strength, endurance and loss. Marvin Gaye’s, “What’s Going On” still brings tears to my eyes. It remains powerful and relevant today.

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