Meshell Ndegéocello started her lecture at Emory University as part of their Provost Lecture Series with these words:
Virtually every writer I know would rather be a musician.
– Kurt Vonnegut
Let me go back, Bae asked me about this event, and I immediately said, “I don’t want to go see someone talk about Meshell Ndegéocello.” Then Bae explained she would be there speaking, and that it was free. Boom!
Walking into the event was a vibe. Black women every where. Old women. Young women. Lesbians. Non-lesbians. I’m sure there
She walked through the crowd to see the people that had come to see her. She’s physically smaller than I expected. She moved fluidly with a camera man in front of her. She smiled and joked about his presence. She seemed at ease in this place, as if she’d breathed this air before.
I had my phone set to record audio. This was my first time ever recording an event, but I felt like there was going to be something that was said that I wanted to revisit. I pressed record, sat my phone on my seat on it’s side, and leaned it against my thigh.
She had a picture of James Baldwin as her backdrop. I only just realized she created Can I get a Witness? The Gospel of James Baldwin back in 2016. She played a snippet of a talk he gave at New York City’s Community Church, which was broadcast on television under the title “The Artist’s Struggle for Integrity.”
The thing that hit me most, as someone that considers themselves an artist with words was more of something we didn’t hear, but was part of the talk:
The precise role of the artist, then, is to illuminate that darkness, blaze roads through that vast forest, so that we will not, in all our doing, lose sight of its purpose, which is, after all, to make the world a more human dwelling place.
– James Baldwin
My role in this space is to show the light in the dark. I take that to mean I should shine light on the dark things. I, also take that to mean to write a silver lining in dark times.
While I was researching, I found this other quote:
Art has to be a kind of confession. I don’t mean a true confession in the sense of that dreary magazine. The effort
– James Baldwin
I feel inspired. I feel purpose filled. I feel like I could write forever.
Are you feeling anything?