Soweto Gospel Choir: A Preconceived View

Expectations and preconceptions skewed my view of the Soweto Gospel Choir. I had read about their Grammy awards and as an African American woman, I looked forward with great anticipation to their performance. When they walked out on stage, I joined with the rest of the audience to applaud their presence here in the US at George Mason University, but the first thing I noticed was the women’s hair and second was the costumes.

I know it is unfair to prejudge, but it is only human to have expectations, and I expected the African women to wear African hairstyles and/or hair wraps. So, I was taken aback that all but one  of the women had African American hairstyles, which means braids and weaves. One of them even had strawberry blond hair.

Additionally, all members of the troupe wore nylon or polyester costumes. Somehow that didn’t seem like native attire, which was my expectation. So, as unfair as it is, this skewed my view because I was looking for authenticity.

On the other hand…. the music and dance was outstanding. The male dancers greatly outshined the women with their high kicks up to their heads. The only other disconnect was a tap dance routine performed by the men. Again, tap dancing does not fit into my  idea of African Dance. The end of their program had the audience on their feet which was appropriate because their music made you feel like dancing, and their rendition of Oh Happy Days was rousing. At the end of the day, it was time well spent, extremely enjoyable, and everyone walked away with a smile on their faces and a song in their heart.

Valentine’s Day: The Secret to a Happy Marriage

Valentine’s Day: The Secret to a Happy Marriage

Found myself sitting in a chair next to a framed picture from our wedding day. It was only 22 years ago, but I almost didn’t recognize those people who found one another after 20 years of kissing toads. They looked so young, vibrant, healthy, energetic, and life was full of promise.

There were no lines on their faces, no fat around the middles, plenty of hair on their heads, and they could do anything they set their minds to. They knew all the answers, and they were in love without knowing what that meant.

They didn’t know that love changes with each season. They didn’t know that love grows like an old oak tree. It weathers storms, sun, disease, earthquakes, rain, and snow. It sometimes rages like a fire and then calms down like a slow-moving brook on a hot summer day. Love can be like an out-of-balance pendulum or a totally synchronized, smooth running engine.

They also didn’t know that love grows. It can be hard to imagine that the love you feel today can (and should) grow stronger over the years. Like the oak tree, the weathering of storms has actually made the love and marriage stronger.

A friend of mine, John, started me on this thought path when he was answering the proverbial question “what makes your marriage work”. When young people see you’ve been married for a long time and that your marriage seems to work, they want to know the secret, and John was right… every couple has their own secret. A secret that was hewn, shaped, molded, and crafted by the seas of life together.

Happy Valentine’s day and may your seas always be smooth, but when they are not… put on your life preservers.