“Soultown Super” is the working title of a television drama series I have been writing for some time. The first track on this recording explains it better than I could with prose. In 1970, Gil Scott-Heron had every reason to accuse TV of enforcing an outrageously unfair status quo. Then in 1977, for eight consecutive nights, America was taken by storm by Roots, a miniseries about slavery and its aftermath. The finale was watched by over 100 million people, and 85% of all television homes saw all or part of the show. And it happened on ABC. Since then, network TV hasn't done much to educate and engage its viewers or promote social justice. But the issues are still here, and most of the power (read: money) in this country is still held by white males. We see progress, Barack is in the House, while the destructive rhetoric of conservatives is getting more extreme and widespread, with the help of an evil, well-oiled propaganda machine (yeah, I’m talking about Fox News). We need new ways to promote progressive ideas on the small screen and demand that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness be the rights of all. The Stewarts and Colberts of this world need fiction and music to come to the rescue.
There are many obstacles in our way. Rules, labels, moral concepts, religions, myriads of little boxes and taboos, all of them subjective and meant to preserve the existing order where fear and ignorance continue to prevail. In my experience, both in France and here, this conditioning produces guilt, crushes true love and leads us to hold onto pain instead of embracing our divine nature. So much so that “letting go” only applies to the small stuff. The bigger suffering, old and new, that we learn to cherish as a virtue and source of inspiration, we have to bravely kick out and heal from. Artists don’t need to be tortured to be creative. Even the French ones. Misery is overrated (unless you never experienced it). We need happy rebels, not martyrs, to move things forward.
The Soultown Super Project allows me to blend my passions and beliefs together into one big musical story. The characters I create conjure up songs, and the script continues to be influenced by the music and lyrics that I am so fortunate to hear and feel in my heart. The different versions of myself I have witnessed over time keep weaving themselves into all of it. I intend to show that all of us can heal and grow, individually and collectively. When we commit to happiness, we gradually open up and clear that space where pain used to be...
and bliss naturally finds its way back in where it belongs.
I feel so much gratitude for where I am today. Now I see that what I went through as a child was an opportunity to access higher grounds. Layers of negative emotions got attached to my musical core at a tender age, and I sang through them all. Because the purity of my Voice was never tainted, it only felt like it was. Thank you, Universe, for sending all the right people my way. I am no longer angry or ashamed. I’m still a bit scared, impatient and self-conscious but I’m working on it.
I’m singing again! You and I win. Love wins. Namasté, mes amis. Namasté.
“I have in my head a whole army of people pleading to be let out and awaiting my
— Anton Chekhov
“Peace is for everyone.”
— Horace Silver