Lyrical Wordplay

Have you ever heard a lyricist provide the perfect combination of words, style, and cadence? Set to the right backdrop, the mood can captivate and we find ourselves in a communal sway. This agreement between performer and audience members can be likened to the power of words and how they are socialized. Within a work, team, or academic environment this type of sway can be akin to our promotion, security, and even survival.

How in 2022 is this still true?

It is and for black women, these words are especially meaningful.

Last week, I found myself in a position where a physician (new to me) decided to discount my symptoms. I was told that I was not in enough pain to warrant the test I was requesting. This week, I found myself in physical proximity with and distally supported by a few colleagues. Today, I found myself in a meeting where perfection was aligned with PowerPoint and collegiality redefined. And the antenna of alertness when it comes to raising black children and the educational systems that seek to lower and change expectations speedily. It’s enough to make you mad. It’s enough to make you go hmmm. The moving target of it all can be frustrating (to say the least). These things happen and are happening to real people inside of workplaces that wave banners of equality and people who think the marginalizing happens out there.

This bar of what is sufficient, excellent, too much, or too little is a moving target that can fatigue the best of us. However, the people speaking are not lyricists themselves and do not have the cadence of #Bahamadia nor #Mumufresh . And like toothpaste, there is no pushing those words back to the tube that excreted them. We are in the space of wanting more, and needing more, with the fans of sensitivity and insensitivity among us. Even with the purest of intentions, these things happen.

How then does the hearer or recipient of these words respond?

  • There is the act of giving grace and the ability to move in it. I chose to move with and inside of grace for myself. Giving grace is not my stead as it does not necessarily move thought forward. Sometimes, the pushed needle garners an apology accepted with tiny steps towards changed behavior.
  • We use our words. We thoughtfully lift our words with cadence and lyrical content, re-centering the room back to the collective sway that equity requires. And we educate…when we have the capacity…when we want…and using the tone
  • Realize that making time will require taking the time to pour and restore ourselves back to center….daily.

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