Being Brave 

Every now and then people, mainly Black women, ask me how long I've been wearing my hair natural. (Non-chemically processed hair.) I've been natural for 20 years now. I am always surprised when women respond that I am brave for making the choice to go natural, especially when it wasn't as popular. I didn't understand why I was considered brave for it. It's just my hair. But now I'm beginning to comprehend this "brave" perception, especially when some people, mainly Black people, still ridicule each other for having "nappy," "kinky," "too thick," "slap a perm on that, can't come through" hair. If a young girl has been consistently attacked from her own family, friends and community for something as natural as her hair, something she was born with, I can understand why it is considered brave to fully embrace and wear what she has been ridiculed for. Fortunately, I was not made fun of and natural hair is completely embraced and worn in my family, so my experience is different. We Black women have all types of hair, from extra thick to kinky to wavy to curly to bone straight. And to differentiate what is "good" and "not good" based on something as simple as texture is low level thinking, in my opinion. To go into why our culture thinks this way is a bigger history and media lesson I won't post here, but it's deep. However we women want to wear our hair is totally up to us, natural, pressed, relaxer, weave, wig..have at it! I think it's great to have choices. I'm all for hair health, management and presentation. And every now and then, I do wake up with my afro flat on one side. It is KINKY AND VERY THICK and when I wash it, I need some serious detangler to comb through it. But you know what, I LOVE IT! I don't wish for another experience, another hair. It's mine, it's healthy, and it's GOOD! And for all the women who are considering "going natural" and are afraid because of people's opinions or even your own, I say do it afraid! EMBRACE YOU!! BE BRAVE!!!

Thank you and Happy Holidays!!!  

 
Hi there!! 

I just want to say THANK YOU for being so supportive of my artistic journey!! It means so much to me that you buy my music, attend my performances, enjoy and share my videos and more! All I want to do is inspire through my artistry and you definitely keep me on the path. I'm so thankful for your inspiration. There are even more exciting things in store for next year and I can't wait to share them with you very soon. So stay tuned!!

In the meantime, please have a safe and beautiful holiday season!! And thank you again for supporting me and my artistic vision!! 

Happy Holidays! 

Mariama 

The Magic of Thinking New!  

So I've been reading this book, "The Magic of Thinking Big" by David J. Schwartz. It's just an all around great book for anyone to read. It's definitely one I like to re-read through the years when I need to re-charge and think bigger. I try not to be cliche and take other people's titles and change words around, but for some reason, I found myself doing exactly that for this blog!!

Well the deal is, we are all taught to think a certain way from the day of our birth. Whether our parents, teachers, etc, sit us down directly and say, "this is how you should think or believe" or we absorb our thoughts through watching and following patterns in our environment, we develop our thought processes from an early age and until we allow someone to challenge our thinking, we pretty much live our lives the same day to day, year to year without much thought to change. I've been thinking a lot about this a lot. As an artist who grew up in the 80's, I saw that the usual way a singer's music career was launched was through a record deal..a company lending an artist an astronomical budget to make an album that would hopefully sell millions of records worldwide. I have no idea what type of pressure that is for an artist or a record company to not know whether those millions of dollars spent on record producers, marketing, touring, etc would be a huge gain or a huge loss. But when music sharing took effect on the internet, everything changed. The record industry is not the same because of it. More music is being shared instead of bought. Huge departments within record companies have been completely downsized or wiped out. And artists who were big names just a few years ago are being dropped because of low sales and some of these artists can't wait to get out their deals and become independent. There are many reasons why some artists are buying their way out their deals, waiting to get out or at least don't want to make records for their companies. If you've been paying attention to many of our beloved entertainers, some of whom have become bankrupt or passed on traumatically, you may understand why the entertainment industry doesn't seem like the safest place to be, at least for many performers who have so much pressure to be "perfect." Being on all the time I'm sure can be quite exhausting. So with this breakdown, there are more independent artists that have the task of being both the creator and the businessperson/record company. (which I actually enjoy) But most artists would prefer to stay on the creative side of things, which makes sense.

But what I'm finding is that even though the record industry has changed dramatically, many artists as well as supporters and fans in my generation and older are still asking me why I don't I seek a record deal. I'm not against seeking a contract that is a partnership, where I retain ownership of my music. I am not for a record contract that does not allow me to have the creative freedom and ownership I enjoy now. I love the idea of huge sales, but not at the expense of my authenticity, sanity and life! There are plenty of independent artists who are making an amazing living doing what they love and not even thinking about a record deal. They simply don't need one, nor do they want one! These artists may not ever be a household name, but their lives are their own and that's priceless. The fact that the music game has changed completely and there is much evidence of it, yet there is still a huge group of people who think the only way to "success" is securing a huge contract is very telling. It just takes time for people to adjust to a new way of thinking and doing things.

So we all have been going through a serious shift, not just in the music industry, but in our lives in general. Jobs are not as plentiful as they used to be. Even a master's degree does not guarantee a job. People are tapping into entrepreneurialism because they are finding that job security is not so secure. And while the entertainment industry isn't going anywhere and people are still chasing deals and going to Hollywood to become stars, there are more and more "everyday" people who are creating their own lives, going after their dreams in their own unique way, by continuing to perform, writing their stories, and building their audiences through social media networks like youtube, facebook or blogs. They are creating their own industries. As one who is on that path, it is quite an empowering place to be. It's perhaps not as glamorous, but it's worth it and it's working for me.

So I encourage you to not only think BIG, but to think NEW. Old mindsets and systems are breaking down for a reason. Why should there only be a few who get "discovered" when it is wide open now for us to discover ourselves, design our own lives and use every social outlet at our disposal to make some great impact.

So wherever you are in your life...whether you are an artist, a single mom, a housekeeper or a corporate exec, if you've been feeling like it's time make a change in your life, don't be afraid to follow your instincts. The world is changing and so should YOU!! Find people who can help and guide you to think in a new way about yourself and your future!!

THINK NEW and watch what happens!!


When private poems turn into public testimonies 

I'm overwhelmed with gratitude. I went to a cool venue last night in Cleveland called the Grog Shop. I sang one of my songs, "Didn't Mean To Do It" which is a deeply personal song I wrote years ago about giving myself time to heal from unhealthy relationships. It initially was a short poem in my private journal that no one was supposed to read, but a melody for the poem kept coming to me. It was the toughest song for me to record. I couldn't stop crying through recording sessions. It was so hard to get through the verses because the truth was hitting me so hard. I considered not putting in on my cd because I thought it would be too revealing and I should keep that part of my life private. I'm glad I decided to include it though, especially because of moments like these: After singing it last night, getting off the stage and chatting with some people for a while, a young woman pulled me aside, hugged me really tight and thanked me again and again for singing "Didn't Mean To Do It." She shared a bit about what she was going through and after hearing the song, she feels like she is ready to make some positive changes. All I feel from this moment is gratitude. These moments are the reason I can't stop writing, singing, creating, sharing my music, my heart. These songs are not for me, although they feel like it when I'm writing them. Ultimately, they are a gift for someone else. I thank God for the gift of putting my life experiences, however hard they may be, to words and melodies. I don't take this gift lightly. I cherish it. I'm so glad I went to the Grog Shop last night..every moment to share my gift is worth it!! If you haven't heard "Didn't Mean To Do It," check it out on my site and feel free to download by clicking on the musicstore link.

A big thank you to my collaborators Rhett George and Vencott R. Palmer for expanding my short private poem into what is now one of my favorite songs.

I can sing "Didn't Mean To Do It" now without crying! Healing is sometimes hard, but it's always worth it.

Keep dreaming!  

I hope you are having a beautiful day or evening...wherever you may be in the world! 

I have been reflecting on goals and dreams. It's the most fascinating thing for me to imagine an idea or goal, plan it and move towards it. The process of executing and achieving goals can sometimes be overwhelming and you may encounter some unexpected bumps along the way. And every now and then you may have to alter a few things to make sure you stay on task and not give up. I remember when I began recording my EP, "Find Your Light." I had it all mapped out: how many songs it would be, how much it would cost, studio time, players, etc. There was nothing that would stand in the way of me producing my 12 song album which was yet untitled...or at least I thought. (Notice I said 12 song album. "Find Your Light" is a 5 song EP) Well, what happened was...life happened! Personal challenges at the time forced me to slow down, take some time away from recording and eventually I decided to scale back on the full length album I originally conceived and instead complete an EP. Fortunately in music today, EP's have become a normal way for artists to introduce themselves, so it worked out just fine for everybody .  The process of conceiving, recording and completing "Find Your Light" took me through some unexpected turns. And honestly there were times I didn't want to go back into the studio to complete it. But I had to because this music was not for me to keep to myself. I've been given this gift to share with the world and that is what inspired me to keep moving. I'm glad I did. I grew by leaps and bounds. I learned how to be more patient with myself, to truly allow the process to flourish in the way it's supposed to...like allowing babies to develop through each stage of development in their own time. The beauty of the journey is allowing it to unfold and staying thankful and patient through it all. It was a great lesson for me and I'm so glad I allowed it to come into its own. In the end, it was all worth it because I have a finished product that I'm so proud and I can say, "I did it!" And what's more amazing is that people like you, from Cleveland to the UK to Italy are still buying and enjoying it, 2 and a half years later. That makes me smile BIG! 

My point is whatever your goal, your idea, or your dream..keep moving. Embrace the process even if you have to alter your plans or change your deadline along the way. And as my father would always say, "When you start something, make sure you complete it." 

I hope you find some encouragement and inspiration through these words. Have an AWESOME day! 

I'll keep you posted on what's to come! 

Blessings,
Mariama

Pick up your gifts... 

It's a bitter cold day in Cleveland and my son and I are thankfully staying warm at home today. Although Micaiah loves school, when I told him he was staying home because of the weather, he screamed, "Yay!!!"   We just finished lunch with cups of warm mint tea..yum!!

I'm reflecting on this year so far. It's been a fun ride so far, performing, writing and the release of my video, "We Be One" which is receiving such a great response. I'm so grateful. I smile every time I see it! I released my EP, "Find Your Light" which features "We Be One" in 2010, and with the busyness of life and allowing myself to be pulled in different directions, I didn't give it the attention that it deserved. But around mid-2012, I began to feel an extreme uneasiness. I missed being on stage. I missed writing songs, poetry, stories. I missed collaborating with other artists. I missed "getting out there" and making things happen, like when I relentlessly hit the pavement in New York believing with every inch of me that I would eventually land my first Broadway show. I missed me. Now as a mother, life is definitely more of a balancing act and any single parent who is reading this can attest to that. I love being a mommy. It can get overwhelming sometimes, though...real talk. But still there should always be time for "me." I looked up and realized that I was putting me aside. I was sitting on my gifts, squashing them simply by not sharing them enough, not promoting myself consistently and allowing "busyness" to take precedence over my creative passion. Inertia had set in and it would be difficult to write or even think about performing.

But thank God for a new day. Thank God for extreme uneasiness. Thank God for my son, Micaiah, who some months ago said to me in the car, "Mommy, where's your cd? I want to hear it."  I started getting back in shape and focusing on my passion. I've seen where that focus has taken me before and I'm determined to see it take me further. I'm making room for my gifts again so they can make room for me. Thank God that there's always another day to re-emerge, to pick up my gifts and share them with the world.  

I have to create to stay alive. I have to perform to truly live. I have to write to stay intact. 

So this year and beyond, you will see a lot of ME and thank you for coming along as I share my gifts. In the meantime, if you have any gifts or ideas that you are "sitting" on, stand up, pick them up, dust them off and share them with us. The world is your audience...

Click to download "Find Your Light."  Enjoy...

 


Pulling an all nighter... 

So it's 1:40 am and I'm pulling an all nighter. But I'm excited because this is my first blog on my own site!  It's been a while that I've stayed up late working on a project, namely this website/blog. Feels a little like being in college again, staying up to finish a 10-page paper! The beauty of this is I didn't procrastinate and I'm enjoying every minute of it. I've been working on it for a few days but sometimes the best times for me to work are when most of the world is sleeping.  It's 2013 and I'm excited to launch more of who I am, to express my passion and purpose in this world. By the time you read this, my new music video, "We Be One" will be launched and words can't express the joy I feel when I watch it. The joy comes from seeing my family and friends, the beautiful faces, personalities, cultures, generations represented. I'm amazed at the awesome moments that young student director, Brittany Blair and her wonderful crew captured. Well Brittany isn't a college student anymore. She just graduated from Kent State University and quite the professional!! It just gives me a good feeling to know that this one song that has been a fan favorite for a while finally has a visual attached to it to spread my message even further. I'm humbled for everyone who gave their time and spirit to the video and excited for more of the world to experience my heart, my intention...

 

Well, I'll keep this short for now. After all, it's a little after 2 am and I have a few more pages I want to create here. I still have more to develop, but it's a start. I'm getting there. In the meantime, I just wanted to let you know that I'm glad you are here, and that we get to share this special moment together....

© 2018 Mariama Whyte. All Rights Reserved.