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rainbow kids

a while back, i began pondering how i could write a song dedicated to "the children". if you're reading this and you didn't know, this is a term of affection coined by some members of the gay community used to describe themselves. it was upon hearing this term for the first time from a close friend, that the idea of writing a song as a tribute was born. children. the word evokes innocence,vulnerability,light,purity. i began imagining what the childhoods of some of my gay friends looked like. i wondered if they'd had loving parents, an accepting family, close friends. i wondered if they'd felt it was safe to be themselves in any space. if they'd been made to feel like they were good. i imagined what it would be like to be the parent of a LGBT child; how scrunched up my heart would be knowing how often they might be misunderstood and ostracized, my sweet child, deserving of love like everyone else with a pulse and a heartbeat. how panicked i would feel leaving them at school each day with no one to defend their little spirit from those who would attack out of fear. and how easily i would want to strike back at anyone who laid a finger on this innocent little being, a being who didn't even ask to BE HERE.
 
we fear what is "different" from us.
we fear what we don't understand.
 
perhaps people of color know this better than most, as race is undeniable...and those of us of color who venture into parenthood know there to be an innate question mark about our children's safety flashing in our psyches,passed down from the time the world decided color meant "lesser than" among other derogatory expletives. a parent to a child with a mental illness or a physical disability-all races included - will spend almost every waking and sleeping moment in a kind of worry-state, wondering if and when other children and -even worse-adults,will abuse them both verbally and physically. i cannot imagine the stress endured by the parents of a child born into societies that believe children with physical challenges or "defects" should be hidden away from the general public. some of these societies go as far as to murder these children. i wish this was an exaggeration, but shockingly, it is fact.

i was once told by a sufi that there are three ways by which you can judge what is truly in an adult's heart: how they treat animals, how they treat the elderly and how they treat children. i remember thinking how impractical this criteria was because- in my idealistic,19 year old mind- i had no one in my life that fit this profile and probably never would. i knew i was far from perfect and had my share of situations with people where i had behaved in ways i regretted, but i couldn't and still can't fathom kicking a dog, letting an elderly person stand while i sit and i can't even come up with something for children, because kids are the BEST. so how could this be?it's so utterly perplexing.does one forget that they were once a child? does one think they will never grow old? of course we have behavioral patterns and model much of our belief systems on what we were taught and what we experienced in our childhood. yet, it cannot be that every person who is indifferent or unkind to a child,an elderly person or an animal had a difficult or abusive childhood. i know a number of people who have suffered enough abuse in their childhood that they could easily be living with PTSD and they are some of the kindest people i have ever known, especially to the three aforementioned groups. i wonder why a man who is obviously gay would erase a large number of gay people rather than trying to erase himself. maybe he feared the part of him that loved other men. maybe he was taught to. with so many of these mass shootings, the aggressor has a history of some sort of mental illness and/or emotional distress. I dream of a society where routine mental health check-ups would go hand in hand with annual routine physicals,from the time a child is born until they finish high school. As a society,we’d be more informed,the stigma of mental illness would carry less weight,those who needed it could get help and even rehabilitation and we’d possibly know better how to recognize the signs of an individual at risk to themselves or the general public.   
 
i like to believe ALL kids begin as rainbows,wondrous,sometimes unexpected gifts from the universe,their nature both inquisitive and accepting of the differences and similarities that their tiny eyes behold.if only this could last forever. It feels as though,once we leave childhood, we can easily fall into making ourselves superior to everything unlike us. we might dishonor the elderly and find weakness in the process of aging instead of having gratitude for the continuation of life.maybe we think we are more important than the earth that is actually sustaining us as we bite the hand that feeds us and keep coming back for more.how strange that we judge eachother when its obvious that we are complicated and mysterious creatures.though it was decades ago , i've never forgotten the sufi's advice because it has tended to be true. i would add some other things to that list,though: how they treat people of different ethnicities, how they treat the mentally and physically challenged,how they treat people of different sexual orientations, how they treat our mother earth.
 
now that i've been a parent for over 21 years, i'm just getting that my kids will always be my babies,even when they are grown and out of the house. in fact,as i listened to the parents of the victims of the orlando massacre , i could,for the first time, relate to what it must feel like to lose a grown up child.you can still see them as this little miracle,peering up at you from your cradled arms as you feed them; hearing them gurgle the words mama and daddy for the first time; their laughter, a song you never grow tired of; their smiles,proof that you did at least one thing right.
i have yet to write that song,btw. if i don't, i hope someone else will. everybody can use some
healing.

thank you guys SO MUCH for your continued support of our Beautiful Us product! it's so gratifying to even have my family members requesting more product every few months.one of my favorite things about our product is the scent. it smells magnificent which is a sentiment that is unanimous from those of you who have tried it. on a personal note: any time my hubby uses it i'm all," ummm! you smell so yummy babe- what are you wearing?",as though it's the first time i've smelled it! try some and let us know your thoughts.

AND look out for some new products:-)

Music can be healing,yes? I’m no healer,but in making music and sharing it, i like to think i can create a space for others to have a healing experience of their own. I am full of gratitude to the universe and to YOU for supporting what it is i do and i’ll be doing it at a venue near you pretty soon:-)
 
Highest good-
mellie

 

we have turned on the light

for quite some time, i have felt as though the commitment to the continuation of the civil rights movement has become virtually invisible. the folks who have given their lives to this movement are often waved off as relics of an irrelevant era. the younger generation of folks doing this work are depicted as ungrateful, unpatriotic troublemakers. their commitment hasn’t been newsworthy enough for mainstream america, but the work involved in undoing what was done is CLEARLY an ongoing endeavor and recent events make turning a blind eye impossible, even for the average american.
 
the dismantling of institutionalized racism isn’t complete. the greater collective of americans that would boycott, march, sacrifice their friendships and jobs and lives in order to protest a system so completely corrupt from its inception,went to sleep. we took a long, cozy collective nap. underground, there have always been those warriors who trudge through the piles and piles of political, psychological and emotional racial waste, reaching and teaching the disenfranchised, doing the job the masses forgot about as we distract ourselves with our tech baubles and our fast food and our McMansions and our Tom Fords. we stand in defense of our false sense of justice and equality, our feet deeply planted in the quicksand of self-righteousness. we are not blind. we are just comfortable. speaking it out loud and taking action means admitting a truth that may be very uncomfortable. it may jeopardize our social media standing. it may become difficult to pretend we didn’t hear something offensive from a coworker or boss at our places of work. it may reveal what our friends really think. it may reveal what WE really think. all of this is uncomfortable. its uncomfortable for the oppressed AND the oppressor.
 
James Baldwin, in an interview with Kenneth Clark: “What white people have to do, is try and find out in their own hearts why it was necessary to have a nigger in the first place, because I'm not a nigger, I'm a man, but if you think I'm a nigger, it means you need it.

Toni Morrison said this in an interview on the Charlie Rose Show: “And if the racist white person, I don’t mean the person who is examining his consciousness and so on, doesn’t understand, that he or she is also a race that’s also constructed, its also made and also has some kind of serviceability. But when you take it away, if I take your race away and there you are all strung out and all you’ve got is your little self. And what is that? What are you without racism? Are you any good? Are you still strong? Are you still smart? Do you still like yourself?”
 
Its a beautiful thing when you see all kinds of americans protesting the disgusting-and frankly-embarrassing conduct of some feeble minded bottom feeders. its good to know all kinds of americans are offended to their very core and riveted to do something about it. thank GODDESS for our tech baubles-our smart phones and cameras that capture these violations to humanity and make it impossible for the violators to hide and give the entire world community the opportunity to witness these dimwits in action. which brings us to this very moment in time: the time when everybody is witnessing justice NOT being served. that our system has the indecency NOT to prosecute these individuals is not something new for African Americans. i think everybody else can finally understand our frustration and all the cynical types that might have complained, “come on: that doesn’t REALLY happen to you guys” have the undeniable evidence that we are not and have not been exaggerating, as if slavery, jim crow and the need for affirmative action isn’t enough. ultimately, it doesn’t matter how you get there as long as you DO. if you and me and we are angry and offended and sickened enough, we will make the system HAVE TO CHANGE.

in a piece by Marianne Williamson,titled, Race and Repentance in America,she writes: “In the 1990s, Bill Clinton suggested we have a "national conversation about race," suggesting perhaps that if we talk about it enough then maybe the problem will go away. But it's difficult to have an authentic conversation when half of the people involved in the dialogue have over two hundred years of understandable rage to express. There are situations in life -- and race in America is one of them -- where talk without action does not heal a wound, but only exacerbates it. Whites and blacks have a relationship in America, but it is an unequal one. One side owes something to the other, and until the debt is paid, the relationship will remain unhealed. The very mention of actually paying something back to people we enslaved for two hundred fifty years is still not on the table, not really. And until it is, then America will not be free.”
 
reparations are NOT a new concept. google 40 acres and a mule. Spike Lee named his company after it. what is striking is the context in which it has been presented. the Oprah Winfrey endorsed Marianne Williamson making the connection between Ferguson and reparations represents a deeper perception of this country’s responsibility to its African American citizens. white guilt hasn’t done much to change anything at this point and as an american of color i personally find it patronizing. taking some kind of visible action is an entirely different ballgame.  
 
we ALL have work to do. i think we have healing to do. there are layers and layers of trauma in our DNA,passed down from generation to generation, no different than any other inherited, genetic psychological condition. i think ALL americans need a large dose of therapy.for some, to heal the trauma of being oppressed; for others, to look at the pathology behind the need to oppress another sentient being on the basis of their skin color.

what’s happening today is a reawakening. from its inception, the civil rights movement did not have the support of the government or the majority of the american people but THEY DIDN’T SLEEP. and they kept their eyes on the prize. they didn’t have the incredible power of social media and that didn’t stop them. the revolution CAN be televised. the celebrities of this era have TONS more capital and visibility to support this movement and get it heard and implemented. i am alive with this hopeful energy, because WE’VE MADE CHANGE BEFORE. our parents and grandparents were there to see it. my mom remembers being at a “Blacks Only” section of Virginia Beach when she was a little girl and by the time she was in her 20’s this wasn’t so. our outrage is the sound of us investing in the safety of our great grandchildren…..our silence is us supporting their extinction.
 
There’s an anecdote I’d like to share which is an example of how every individual act of protest against injustice amounts to greater change: My parents came from very different backgrounds. my mother recalls often feeling frustrated by some of the comments made by her mother in law in regards to race in general. in particular, one that stuck out was about her concern for whether the world would be ready to accept me. My parents were at THE march on Washington. It was scary and exciting and moving for everyone involved. Mom and dad ran into people they knew and others they hadn’t expected to see. They noticed one such person getting off of a bus with a group of homemakers, like her. That person was my grandmother. The white one.
 
when i wrote Danger for my latest project, i truly did not expect i would be dedicating it to anyone so soon…..

dedicated to the memory of all the fallen victims of racist hate crimes, here and abroad

-in solidarity,
mellie
 
i’ll be at City Winery on December 26, 2014,and would be honored if you’d join me. music soothes and reignites me when im of a heavy heart. i only hope for my music to do the same for you.:-)   


nyc | 12/26 | 8pm | get tix >>

detachment

This is a word so foreign to so many of us - myself included it is comical. If you’ve studied Yogic or Buddhist philosophy you’re well aware of this idea as it’s commonly considered to be one of the pinnacles of enlightenment, the key to one of the deepest kinds of personal freedom one can experience. For a practicing individual, detaching or letting go of our physical and emotional ownership or attachment to anyone and everything would basically be as close to reaching nirvana as one could hope to get on this earthly plane. Because, if you haven’t any attachments, you probably will also have fewer and fewer expectations, leading you to that state we’re always in but not necessarily IN: presence. And when one is truly present, one can experience BEING without all the distractions of opinion, judgment, desire, better known as “attachment”.
 
Right, so, where’s the comedy to which I referred? What’s so “funny” about the fact that, if Jay Leno was still doing the segment on his show in which he approaches unsuspecting pedestrians and asks them for the definition of a word, this surely would be a word evoking laugh worthy answers? Well, it’s not THAT kind of funny. I was definitely being ironic. Because, practicing detachment in a consumerist, profit-driven environment is about as popular a custom as is that of a monk hanging out at a strip joint. It’s a real feat to attempt detachment in a climate which supports and encourages the obtaining OF all those big, juicy attachments; the evidence of their influence upon society often surfacing in the holiest of places: our minds. As obvious as it is that much of our attachment was taught to us, sometimes even with the best intentions, what’s not super clear is how to unlearn it. For some of us, the questionable part isn't “how” but rather, “why”? Where do you fall? I fall all over the place. I can be quite completely at the effect of something or someone AND I can experience the direct benefit of the practice of releasing an attachment. Fortunately for me, as I was writing this very piece, an example of the latter occurred and a more perfectly timed coincidence couldn't have handed itself to me to share with y’all.
 
The kids were in their rooms, hubby was finishing up a mix in the studio and I had locked myself away in my room to type until I was done. I’d spent more than a little time and energy writing this post and it was about the time when I things were starting to click when I decided to steal down to the kitchen for a cup of tea. No sooner than I had poured the water in the kettle did the quick pitter- patter of bare feet reveal to me a child. As a parent, you have to think quick and I was. Between the time it took for said child to peel down the stairs and into the kitchen, I went from resentment at the thought of a conversation that would interrupt the conversation I was having in my head about what I was writing, to  a conscious decision to implement the very thing I was writing about. I began to feel a softening of my emotional muscles, as my body and mind surrendered to this decision. And then she said something so beautiful and unexpected. “Mom, I was just listening to one of your songs and it made me realize how sad it would be if you weren't alive.” Lightning strike! I would’ve missed that touching moment with my kid had I let myself stay attached to my thoughts about the writing. I let it go, experienced being present and received an unexpected, deeply moving gift from this child. Actually, it was a 2 for 1 deal, because our lovely exchange served as the example I'd been in need of for this post J.
 
These teensy epiphanies are monumental. The letting go leads to presence. Being present enables you to flow with real life situations instead of against them. The more you loosen and surrender into ALL KINDS of moments and experiences, physically AND emotionally, the more it becomes organic, like anything else one practices. When things got great for me in my meditation practice was when I embraced the idea of there being NO goal of, like, being a better or wiser person or having the capability to empty your brain of thoughts and such. No goal IS the goal.
 
I can't talk about it anymore or I will confuse myself with the simplicity of it all.
 
Highest Good, boyeeeeee
 
mel  
 

relieved

i am relieved to share with whomever's interested that our album is finally finished. it's been quite touching actually, reading your messages asking after the new album and its release date. my level of gratitude is constantly challenged by your tireless support. it means I get to make the best work I possibly can, as an offering of sorts, to you. the first single is called afraid; the album, ice cream everyday. you can pre-order the album here or get a copy of the new single via iTunes. one lovely person will get their album hand delivered by me :)

i'm gearing up for our next show, 6-20-13 at bb kings in my beloved nyc. come ready to dance and sing and smile at your neighbor and laugh and stuff your face and make new friends and receive the love that I have for your beautiful selfs:-)


highest good, boyeeeeee-
mel

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