Most Americans and music lovers worldwide acknowledge Elvis Presley as “The King” of rock and roll. But some people have no idea who Elvis Presley is or what it means to be “The King” to millions of loyal fans.
This is what I learned from Cindy, the foreign exchange student from China that I hung out with for a few weeks.
I was taking a class on multi-cultural competency as part of the process towards my master’s degree in counseling. Our instructor, Vince Noble asked for volunteers to escort foreign exchange students and ease their transition into the USA. He may have even offered extra credit, I can’t remember. But I volunteered and was paired up with Cindy from China.
One day, Cindy and I went an art show at Cal State Long Beach. There were many paintings and several rooms filled with original art pieces created by students. We came upon a portrait of Elvis Presley. I admired the creativity of the piece. Cindy pointed at it and asked, “who is that?”
I was stunned. It was as if my life was flashing before me. I could not imagine how to describe who Elvis was. He is so many things to so many people and I couldn’t imagine what the world, or at least my world, would be like without him.
I managed to mumble out some answer about how Elvis was a rock legend and I hummed a few bars of Blue Suede Shoes and Jailhouse Rock to see if it would ring a bell.
I was speechless.
I had been slapped aside the head once again and reminded that just because I have an experience or a social construct built up around a certain object or person, doesn’t mean everyone else does. Have you ever found yourself in a situation like this, assuming the person you’re talking to knows something when really they don’t; assuming that everyone knows all the same things you do?
The Positive Hip Hop podcast is a series of shows that feature Hip-Hop with a message.
One of my favorites is Episode 6: “Social & Political Change”. This episode is jam-packed with socially aware hip hop with a great beat. Tracks include: KRS-One – “Illegal Business”, Head-Roc – “America!” and Ozomatli ft Common – “Embrace The Chaos”.
What can I say about Gene Gene the Dancing Machine except “you rocked the Gong Show buddy.” Thanks to YouTube, I can watch these tidbits of history on a whim. Click play and shake your booty, it’s good for you and good for humanity.
As a kid, one of my dreams in life was to be on the Gong Show. How about you? Were you on the Gong Show? If so, what did you do?
In this show we discussed how some people cut themselves off from creativity at a young age for a variety of reasons. Sometimes we are distanced from our creativity because of fear of rejection and disapproval or we learn to deny our creativity and authenticity because we have been bullied by others. Erin shares a story about her son and how he uses his imagination during play.
We discussed the role of creativity in innovation and the interview on OWN with Oprah and Lady Gaga. We discussed how our cultural contempt for creativity has damaged many aspects of our lives from family life to government.
We discussed how againstness and “right/wrong reality” create problems on a personal, professional and global level and how bullies suffer just as much as the people they bully. We discussed how sometimes we are our biggest bullies and the bullying we do to ourselves can often end up hurting others when we lash out. We discussed how living in the box mentally keeps you and your loved ones in prison and how to live free by accepting others as they are.
I’m creating a collage for my next Toastmaster’s speech. It’s going to be about how music and dance have been instrumental in my life. I went on the web to look for a picture of Isadora Duncan and found this video. I just wanted to share. I love to dance, it is so freeing and exhiliarating to move to music.
For many years I shut down from all dancing because I hated my body so much and I was so ashamed of it. I tried to hide in big clothes and excess weight. Now I am tired of hiding. If you’re tired too, you might like the Love Your Body, Love Yourself hypnosis and affirmation CD from Donate Your Weight.
Donate Your Weight is about listening to and trusting your body and creating a lifestyle of weight maintenance as opposed to the extreme yo-yo of weight and emotions that comes with dieting.
Words and environment impact your life. In this speech from the Toastmasters manual, The Entertaining Speaker, I outline a musical anthology of my life from childhood to adolescence and into adulthood. Influences include weekly immersion in Soul Train, Songs in the Key of Life by Stevie Wonder, Rapper’s Delight by Sugar Hill Gang and People’s Instinctive Travels and Paths of Rhythm by A Tribe Called Quest.
In the 80’s there was fun to be found in the punk rock scene. Songs mentioned and sung in this speech: California Uber Alles and Police Truck by The Dead Kennedys and New Dreams by Naked Raygun. I finished up with my theme song: Galvanize by The Chemical Brothers with Q-Tip on vocals.