An Ongoing Call to be Otherwise
Black Lives Matter, Shana Redmond,
Ashon Crawley, and Jay Z's Spiritual
God's Spirit as a Call to be Otherwise
"Otherwise" modes of existence can serve as disruptions against the marginalization of and violence against minoritarian lifeworlds and possibilities for flourishing.
-- Publicity description for Blackpentecostal Breath: The Aesthetics of Possibility (Fordham University Press, 2016) by Dr.Ashon T. Crawley, forthcoming.
Music as Lifeline and Strategy for Blackness in the Making
excerpts from NPR Article by Shana Redmond , PhD, UCLA
Music remains a vital lifeline and strategy within black communities for reasons that are centuries old.... Liberation theologian James Cone argues that the spirituals are about "the power of song in the struggle for Black survival."..The "sorrow songs" that W. E. B. Du Bois discussed in 1903 remain dynamic, being mixed and remixed for each successive generation as an exhibition of "faith in the ultimate justice of things."...The spirituals are "still in the making," because blackness is still in the making, still in-progress. And yes, that too is spiritual.
Discovering the Possibility to be Otherwise through Sound
Excerpts from a Review of Shana Redmond's Anthem
by Ashon Crawley, PhD, Assistant Professor of African American Studies
To follow a Song, to trace its roots
Knowing an Otherwise Mode of Living through Sound
On Ongoing Call to be Otherwise
God's Breathing as a Call to be Otherwise:
Open and Relational (Process) Theology
And he said, ‘Let anyone with ears to hear listen!’
-- Mark, 4:9
In her article for NPR, Dr. Shana L. Redmond, Associate Professor at UCLA, shows how Jay Z's new song, Spiritual, is a form of liberation theology advancing the tradition of sorrow songs and evoking blackness-in-the-making. In process theology the One who calls forward is present in our lives as a lure to create ourselves in fresh ways, out of the wreckage and opportunities of the historical circumstances in which we find ourselves. The breath of this Caller is inside each human being as the calling itself. This calling is often, perhaps almost always, a call to be otherwise, especially when being "otherwise" is to be true to possibility that transcends the categories of imperial rule, inner and outer. Redmond in her way, Crawley in his way, and Jay Z in his way, speak to this calling and, in the case of Jay Z's Spirit, sing it as well. Let those of us with ears to hear hear.
Excerpts from Article
Return of the Sorrow Songs
Music as Liberation Theology
Blackness in the Making
The emotionally raw track, featuring an unnerving beat by Detail, wrestles with spirituality in the face of police brutality. "I am not poison / Just a boy from the hood that got my hands in the air / In despair don't shoot / I just wanna do good," Jay Z raps on the chorus.