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Whether it was listening to the sweet beats
of Kanye West
Or the fierce piano of the Keys,
Alicia, that is,
Or maybe it was Aretha's voice reaching
through the clouds to touch the sky
it was just poetry.
A different type though.
One which speaks its own language
through the generations
One which finds its roots in the ragtime,
jazz, rhythm and blues of Duke Ellington,
Fats Waller, Marian Anderson and Bessie Smith.
Or maybe it found its roots in the beats and lyrics of
The Last Poets,
three men who put their poetry to the beat and
bass, (and very much base) of the people.
Their people. My people.
Today it is found in the deep, stirring notes of John Legend's voice
telling us to reach for the stars because heaven only knows.
Or in the fierce lyrics of Shawn Carter telling us to
silence those who tell us we cannot do it by one action. Perform.
It is found in the words of Dwayne Michael Carter's
telling us that for him and the people of the Big Easy,
their girl, the girl they call Summer,
Summer was New Orleans, Summer was home, and Summer was
the love of their life, something they would do anything
But reminding us in his poem that this is not rap, it's a recap.
Christopher Bridges tells his people to move on,
and stop looking for the easy way out.
It is time to lift ourselves by the straps and stand on top of
the world. We have come this far, why stop now?
It can be found in the stirring words of Talib Kweli Greene
who recounts what it takes to get by,
what it takes to survive a day in Brooklyn. He reminds us
we can only go as far as our dreams take us,
we will only get as far as we say we can.
Carl Mitchell and Anthony Hamilton tell us
to be hopeful for the new day, because even
though it ain't easy, He'll make a way,
we know it ain't easy,
but that's okay, just be hopeful.
Christopher Wallace once told us
'It was all a dream!'
and our people must dream as
big and as far and as wide as possible
until we know we can be and do anything
and we must tell our children to do the same.
Tupac Shakur reminded us that God is
never finished with us, He can do what no one
expects and what we only dare to dream
in the wildest of dreams.
William Adams has told us that we have a
new dream if only we say that we can and believe
it from the bottom of our heart
then it's a new day
This music gives us hope. It helps us to dream.
It helps us to believe that we can be what no one
expects, we can do the improbable. It pushes us
to our absolute best; it reminds us that
the sky is the limit.
Lonnie Rashid Lynn Jr. inspired us through his name.
He showed us all
that a kid from the
south side of Chicago could
give the best of what the musical poetry of our people
has to offer. He continues today, telling us
that we can reach for the stars,
and if we play our cards right
we can find forever.