Neno Valentino – On Everything

I love the beat and this dude has great vocal skills. But when I read the lyrics, it reminded me that Rap, done well, is the evolutionary grand-child of my beloved blues, conveying many of the same sentiments. The heavy words come from deep inside the souls of people who are working hard for what they have. They reiterate that love is a colossal pain in the ass and remind us that music is an electrical current connecting us all to our suffering. Listening to On Everything I’m following Neno Valentino (Dirty Gert) through a snippet of life for many young black men in America. He’s a great story teller and draws me into his passion for the world around him; “I Don’t mess with thots (hoes)/Don’t do no weddin rings.” But then the reality of the plight of young black males in America comes into focus: “You can’t live by the code/You hit with 30 shots.”

One of the many things I have learned from my mentor, Dorothy Pitman-Hughes, is that we can’t just walk away from the oppression of the past like it didn’t exist, nor can we pretend that it has no bearing or relevance on life today. I WISH the labels were gone but there will always be something different about each of us. And we mustn’t behave as though the labels aren’t there, but find a way to share the burden of living beyond them.  So many young black men have been cornered in dense pockets of Urban Jungles. Yes, they are to be feared, as feared as every predator hunted by a larger pack. To make it out of that dense forest requires a skill-set the average white American has never been called upon to use. To survive a life in it requires courage beyond that of the most valiant war heroes. And to find success, happiness and the American dream demands a sheer determination to never, ever…EVER stop trying.

I will not presume to claim that I understand how it feels to be a young black man in today’s world. But, I am a woman and our road, albeit easier than it was, has always been hard. I have survived multiple violent rapes, beatings and the descent from middle class into abject poverty. My little brothers, what I can do is empathize with your struggle. I feel your pain. I celebrate your courage and I hear your words. At the same time, I wouldn’t be a good big sister if I didn’t tell you; there is more Love here in this world we share than there is Hate. We must not allow the Hate of the few to diminish the Power of the many, and there are far many more of us who Love. We all want a better world and the majority of us want to be better humans. Find the hands reaching out to you in love and focus your mind on the horizon. Keep singing. I hear you. Hear me and follow the sound of my voice. You build a road out of your jungle for the little ones to follow, and know we’re here; building a road in. I’ll meet you somewhere in the middle with open arms.

With Love,

Xandra sig 0

LISTEN then Follow, Like and Love this kid!

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