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The Rona vs Music: The Need to Preserve Fine Arts

So it’s been 1,756,987 days since the Walking Dead took over. I may be exaggerating but you get the point. I can’t keep count of who has the Rona, who recovered from the Rona or who died from the Rona. Last I heard, the Easter Bunny got caught up too. So go ahead and tell your kinfolk that all Steve Harvey Easter suits will be worn in the living room this year. Take a picture and post it on the Gram. But stay yo’ narrow behind in the house!

I think it’s safe to say there is a portion of us who would rather not know all the details of this pandemic. Just keep this in mind: there is an airborne virus with more persistence than Sallie Mae and I don’t want no parts of it. Therefore, I will remain wrapped up in this house until President Obama … yea I said OBAMA … tells me it’s safe to play outside.

So in between working from home and trying not to fire my two co-workers (husband and 6yr old daughter), I realized there is one unified factor in these quarantine times. Fine Arts. Whether you Tik-Tok’d danced yourself into a sweat or watched every free concert, the harmonic sounds of our favorite musical artist make these 24hr lockdowns a little bit brighter. From local artists to nationally-known stars like Kirk Franklin, Debbie Allen and Erykah Badu, we have been blessed through the goodness of Fine Arts.

A few nights ago, I was able to watch a young DJ named Keshaun Simms (@_djyoung) go live from his FaceBook page. He made a post on Wednesday showing appreciation for 1,000 people tuning in to his live DJ session where he played all the hits while dripping sweat to keep the virtual party going. By Saturday he had over 72,000 people partying from their living rooms. SE-VEN-TY TWO THOU-SAND!!!! *insert a round of applause* In 4 days, he brought 72,000 people together to vibe out and turn their own homes into the hottest nightclub in the city. I had free drinks and bottle service in my section all night long. I could go on and on giving this young brother props but I want you guys to think about something …

Keshaun Simms - DJ Young (@_djyoung)

Fine Arts are sustaining us. We are connecting with others and exuding endorphins by sitting in front of our digital devices to partake in a musical experience with our closest internet friends. We are able to see the fruits of their labor manifest into a digital embrace during a time of uncertainty and fear. The power of Fine Arts is on full display for the world to see. But I only need one group of people to pay attention to this revolution and that is … the SCHOOL SYSTEM. You see, over the years our school systems have turned a blind eye to this area. And they are not totally to blame. With a government system determining your schools achievability by strictly testing your students in core subject areas, administrators are forced to put complete attention on math, reading and writing and not rhythm and rhyming.

I remember meeting my husband in chorus class back in the day. He sang tenor. I was an alto. And honey he could sing sing! He slick won me over signing Nat King Cole’s Christmas Song but don’t tell him I told you that.

Several people in our class had musical potential, but to be honest, the class was really a filler. If you needed an elective course, you were dropped into chorus. Our music teacher taught half days at our high school then walked across the street to teach at the other school. She tried her best to build a musical program and offer concerts. But let’s face it, if it wasn’t math, science, language arts, or social studies … it was not a priority. If we had it, cool. If we didn’t, just stick ‘em P.E. and call it Rec Games. I can only imagine what she COULD have done as a full-time music teacher with limitless resources and the respect she deserved.

Chorus at AR Johnson (2003) - Augusta,GA

Now Lord knows, I do not want another pandemic to hit God’s beautiful earth. I want to watch the Walking Dead and not become an extra in the series. However, if we find ourselves in need of this magical treatment called music, will our students be able to provide the antidote? Everyone cannot be the doctor, nurse, or engineer. Someone has to be there to calm the hearts as we wait for the cure.


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