AAMAM: Donny Hathaway, Immutable Sadness and Freedom! Part 10 of 30

DonnyHathawayMusic has the power to rectify the internal struggles of the mind. Its various rhythms, beats, and chord progressions speak to the soul in a remarkable way. Among many things, it soothes and brings about feelings of hope. The song “Someday We’ll All Be Free” is just such a song. The song was written with love and care by song writer Edward Howard to encourage good friend and troubled soul maestro Donny Hathaway in his sadness that was seemingly immutable.

Hathaway recorded the song and upon listening to the final play back cried out uncontrollably in joy. It is what he needed to hear. For a brief moment Hathaway was moved beyond his sadness to great joy and hope. This is the power of music.

However, for Hathaway, he needed a continual stream of encouragement to keep him barred from his sadness. “Someday We’ll All Be Free” although powerful in its message, was one of the last songs he recorded. Hathaway’s sadness thrived in silence and consumed him in 1979.

Moreover, “Someday We’ll All Be Free” became the mighty, but quiet anthem to the later days Civil Rights movement and the Black Power struggle with its overwhelming message of hope in the midst of the battle for equality.

Enjoy AAMAM!

Open Letter to Whitney

Dear Whitney Elizabeth Houston,

I was more than shocked upon hearing about your sudden departure from this world on Saturday.  I literally stood still for a moment to take it all in.  My first thought was,  “could this be a joke?”  But sadly, it wasn’t. Your death was confirmed by a local news reporter who started his “Breaking News” commentary with “we have tragic news for you . . . “ Whitney, it seemed like he was speaking directly to me.  I didn’t want to believe it.  But it was indeed true.  Sadness enveloped me.  I texted a few friends and called my wife (she loves you Whitney) in an effort to reach out in the midst of my sadness.  Whitney, everyone was in shock about your passing.  Folks texted back saying “Oh no,” “What?? . . . No!,” “What happened?,” “When?,” and “How?”  My brother from Atlanta texted me saying, “Please tell me this is all a bad dream!!!”  They loved you Whitney.  My wife stated to me in sadness, “why does this keep happening to us?”  She said “to us” Whitney.  You were a part of our lives.

Whitney, you will be missed.  I will miss your voice.  I know the past few years you’ve had a tremendous struggle with recapturing and maintaining your God-given gift . . . your voice.  Now that you are gone I will not have the opportunity to observe you battle back from that dark place where all seems lost.  Somehow, I felt in time, you would regain that wonderful voice that once demanded my attention.  I know you needed just a little more time to get well and back on top of your game.

Whitney, as I reminisce, I can easily recall how effortlessly you were able to release the magic of your voice.  I remember on several occasions when you were about to belt out a final last note, you would sturdy yourself in a strong stance, take a deep breath, stretch your arms out toward the crowd, and then actuate a sound from your throat and mouth that would give the choirs of heaven goosebumps.  Your voice was only limited by the physical confines of the human body.  Whitney, your gift, that immutable passion, and confidence will be missed.

Whitney, you must know that every time you sang your song you brought joy not only to my life but to the lives of others as well.  You were the voice of my generation.  You were the gold standard that all aspired to come close to.  Whitney, I watched your majestic rise to success and your awful demise.  The witnessing of this fall has been painful for me.  I wished and prayed that you received deliverance from the evil that taunted you.  Girl, what was it that gripped and cast such a dark shadow on you and led you to the horrors of addiction?

Whitney, now that you have moved beyond this world my thoughts are with you and your family.  I sympathize with your daughter Bobbi as I have lost a mother too.  Bobbi will struggle with your passing and in time she will make sense of your life.  She will remember everything you taught her.  Whitney, my heart goes out to your mom who has lost a child.  I cannot truly understand the dept of her loss for you.  I hear that to lose a child is devastating to ones soul.  Whitney, I have a daughter and at this moment cannot phantom the thought of losing her without great great sorrow.  Whitney, please know that their grief is out of an irreplaceable love for you.

Cissy and young Whitney 1979

In the end, Whitney, I know at this moment you are in a good place.  You are now a member of that heavenly choir.  You are in full embrace with the one who gave you your gift.  Knowing this gives me great comfort and eases my sadness.


One of but many who love you!

P.S., Jennifer Hudson laid it out for you at the Grammys!