Everyday the same routine goes on in my house. When I exit through the gate of my home, The New York Times lies in the same position our delivery person has religiously thrown it -- with the same force and precision, hitting the frame of the bars of my window, at approximately the same time every day -- maybe 15 minutes or so after 7 a.m. Depending on how early I leave for work each morning, I sometimes witness the car zoom off as he continues his route.
Like clockwork, my son's rushing to get ready for school quickly follows suit. Only his time of departure varies every morning, depending on how long the personal fashion show goes on in his bedroom before he finalizes his wardrobe selection for the day.
Tick tock. After work I come home to see the newspaper in the same place so I holler and carry on until my son goes outside to pick it up.
Once I enter the house, the roaring of the music begins to fill my head -- the beats, that verbal abuse that my son calls music -- is now affecting my sanity and my eardrums. "Lord, I can't take it," I scream. "Shut that xxxx off, please! Jesus Christ! Do it before I go postal in here and kill us all!"
But today was different from the norm. He was tuned into a beat softer than usual. The lyrics were a bit sad, poetic and even insightful. I asked who was the artist was and he identified the voice to be Kendrick Lamar. I paid unusual attention to the lyrics and a sudden sadness and understanding came over me. I wanted to know about this young man that seemed to have such an infatuation for death. Why would anyone so young want death???
Then it dawned on me. It's that familiar pain, sorrow and confusion without guidance that overcomes us all at some point in our lives. Some of us deal with it better -- or should I say differently -- than others.
The bottom line is: How do we survive it without hurting ourselves or others? If you get caught up in the causality of the war that is waged upon us all in this life you won't make it out alive. You have to tell a story, have a voice and write the lyrics of your own life.
This is what saved Marie-Claire, the Italian-trained opera singer who lives and breathes the musical genres of opera, jazz, hip-hop and reggae does, making her one of the most adaptable artists of our day.
This songstresses, with her unique voice, shook my world when I first heard her work. Her music was unlike the beats that I am accustomed to but it was oddly familiar because I had heard it before in the tone of Ella Fitzgerald and in the sadness of Billie Holiday.
Another dear friend, former model and designer Lois Samuel, introduced me to this creature with a broken past who embodied healing powers that come from within the gift of her voice.
Marie Claire was born in Dominica West Indies and moved to the Bronx, N.Y., as a child. Due to her love of the two cultures, she has split her time between both places as an international performer. She is the force behind the song "Chasing Rainbows," a piece she wrote as a memoir to her abused past and as a message for those who struggle with abuse to continue and share in her desire to survive.
Sad is her story, a story that I'm sure many can tell. But it takes courage for both she and other artists to stand publicly and shed light on past shame, hurt and risk judgment from their fellow man. I doubt financial wealth is the motivating force to share personal pain... So I am lead to believe it is a gift, a force greater than the suffering they each have endured.It is that pain that fuels them. And we, the others, embrace it so much because at times it is our same story and we find peace in allowing someone else to tell it in a book, sing about it or rap about it, than it is for us to open our own can of pain.
After meeting her, instantly I wanted to hear more and more of her gift. The mesmerizing tones that transform you from a place of chaos and dismay to a land filled with rainbows and hope.
Maire-Claire's rainbow dreams are our dreams, our hopes... I welcome her to the stages of my world, with the hope that she will one day collaborate with of the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Common or Rakim to share her voice and bring her hip-hopera to the masses in the same way that Kathleen Battle and Queen Latifah took the stage.
What a wonderful fantasy I hope and pray come to fruition. Until then here is some "Rainbows" for those low days...