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With age comes wisdom, spritual awakenings. Taboos are shed. Women drape themselves in invisible clothes of beauty. We become enveloped in serenity. There is no more need to prove who we are, we simply ARE. This is where I find myself today. I have closed many chapters in my life. And this new chapter that I am writing is all about embracing my ‘self’, finding my ‘roots’, seeking out my heritage.
For so long, for so many women of color, we’ve been afraid to embrace our ‘blackness’ fully, whole-heartedly. We’ve waltzed around our color, the many hues of browns and beiges. But we are in the twenty-first century, where the world is upside down, where nothing is as it seems.
In these desperate times, I have felt the yearning to go back in time. I’ve felt the need to finally stand up and admit that my origins stem from the Motherland. Oh, sure, like so many of my brothers and sisters around the world, my lineage is of mixed bloods. We bear the traces of history itself. In my bloodline alone there is Chickasaw, Cherokee, Irish, German, and even Chinese. And those are just the ‘lines’ that can be traced.
However, until recent years there was an invisible line that few people of the darker hue chose to cross. It was as if we did we would be contaminated, condemned. But my spirit grew restless, my physical being began to make visible statements, my music began to turn to rhythms, to the drum. I instinctively knew it was time…time to find my way home. And so, as it is impossible for me, like so many of my sisters and brothers of the darker hue, to trace my past, I decided to let the musical universe be my guide. Africa was calling, but I was not sure which part of Africa. Not until I heard a particular music, from a particular land, did the call become distinctively clear.
The calling was so strong, so forceful, that I had to heed its inaudible cry. I took wing, and was guided to the land of my forefathers. The RED EARTH has always spoken to me, from the time of my birth in Memphis, Tennessee.
When I touched the red earth of Bamako, when I inhaled the Malian air, when I heard the tambours, and listened to the griots, I felt my spirit begin to dance.
I saw myself in the people; I saw that our customs were the same. I found the answers to long-standing questions about the ‘how’, the ‘where’, and the ‘why’. I was invigorated and inspired; my soul was filled with an inexplicable peace.
This project is my ode to Mali and to Africa; it is the story of a lost child finding her way home. It is my reawakening. And I hope it stirs your spirit, that it inspires you to begin your own personal journey.
“RED EARTH” - A Malian Journey is simply put, my journey home.