In recent weeks, the tragic deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile at the hands of police officers reopened a wound that many of us have been hoping to heal. Police have killed at least 136 Black people in 2016, according to the Guardian, and, with technological advances, we’re exposed to the video footage during and long after these injustices take place. So, how do you begin to heal? We tapped our contributor Jelisa Robinson of Black Girl, Latin World to discuss healing through music.
What do you do?
You feel helpless. You feel tired. You feel like you can’t breathe.
Your Facebook is filled with the tragic happenings of the world. It can be hard to stay strong. You are scrolling through the horrible events and your eyes are glued to the screen. Your family and friends don’t make it any better. They aren’t trying to wreck havoc on your mental health, but they have their own opinions about what is happening. You listen. Listen. Then listen some more. It takes a toll on your well-being.
It’s okay to step away from the computer.
It’s okay to step away from the conversation.
It’s okay to relax and do something totally unrelated to the tragedy.
My favorite form of reconciliation is music. When police brutality reared its ugly head, my go-to was a gospel song called “The Anthem” by Todd Dulaney. Going to church brought on new meaning for me. I would mouth the words to praise songs trying to find hope in the words and the Creator for a better tomorrow. And you know what? It worked. It helped me to get through the day with some type of positive energy. You see, music says the things that sometimes we can’t. It encourages us when we are down and reminds us of the moments in our life we’d sometimes forget if we weren’t prompted by a song from our past coming on the radio.
You may have your own healing playlist. Whether that be belting Marc Anthony’s “Vivir Mi Vida” or going Disney pop with Hilary Duff’s “This Is What Dreams Are Made Of”, get in your quiet space, cut the music up loud and sing at the top of your lungs. It doesn’t matter if you have the type of voice that encourages dogs to howl…or breaks glasses. The point is that you are using music to get through a tough time. You are feeling. You are finding peace and solace. Music, particularly beats that make us dance, are responsible for heightened moods and healthy hearts.
Eventually, the beats will guide you to a calmer peaceful state, improving your mood and mental well-being. Music can be a form of healing and self-care. No one can care about you better than you can. I know that the world goes on and you have to go to work and complete other duties, but please remember to take time for you to heal and relax. If you feel so inclined, couple your musical adventure with a dance move or two. When the blood is boiling, dancing helps us to express ourselves in a healthy way. It helps curve the sadness, rage and other emotions inside of you.
Most importantly, remember that self-care is an extremely vital ingredient to a happy, full-filled and healthy life.