Believe it or not, the first dream I ever had was to sing. I think that may be the reason I experience music the way I do. Good music is a spiritual practice all its own. All parts of it unite in an effort to give an experience that heightens our senses, broadens our ability to dream, and completely exalts the oneness of our human experience. Last week I had the opportunity to participate in that spiritual practice in its most sublime telling.
Mahogany Wednesday is an event that happens every Wednesday night at Rays nightclub in Newport News, Virginia. It’s a performance space for up and coming creatives, and artists alike to actively participate in their own storytelling. I had heard about the event for a while. One of the hosts, Ashely Felder, is a friend of mine and I swear, I had been meaning to come out and see her for weeks; however, y’all know how early 6AM comes, every morning. Needless to say I never made it out. As fate would allow, NSU‘s #NYTHC would change all of that. I got to link up with so many of my good friends at State and my dear Courtney Bailey let it be know that she would be performing that coming Wednesday. That’s all I needed to hear. No convincing; conversation or negotiation, I would absolutely be in the building.
In no way (shape or form) was I ready for all that I was to encompass. So, after a quick nap after work I met one of my best friends, Keyanda, at Rays. Its literally just down the street from my house, so I was excited about that. We were prompt. I had planned to make my exit no later than 11PM, thinking the event ended around that time. We lowkey gagged at the door. People were still sound checking and admittance was $10. Say what you will, but I wasn’t excited to hand over ten coins to make entry. I know its a smaller establishment and expected maybe a five dollar cover, but I digress. We had a seat, and sat for about 15 minutes waiting for things to begin. They weren’t starting on time and this made me frown because y’all know, 6AM comes early, every morning. Ultimately, I knew we would have a good night. We got long Islands and released our yield to the nights events.
I see Tereno, Megan, and Symone, all close friends who sing their asses (and faces) off, over at the door coming in, and I go over to greet them. I was utterly excited to see them! I knew they would give me my whole life, and it was also an indication that they would be singing soon, and I would be closer to my bed. Look, I don’t know if this just happened in my head or how much of it connects to the reality of the situation, but I swear I saw Courtney saunter into the room. She was beat, her eyes were mysterious and alluring, and my spirit was inclined to believe. (more on this later) Her dress was black and hit the floor and she had on this short fur coat they got me slam. I kindly reach for her ear and asked, “Where the f do you think you’re going?” or, “who the f do you think you are?” I can’t recall. But it was all in good fun. She new I was ecstatic to see her, we laugher and we all made our way upstairs to comfy sofa seats that overlook the stage.
Wait! So, clearly the show begins. Ashley Felder and Jonathan are on stage going off! Their voices blend so well. So distinct, vibrant, and they lend themselves to each other, in harmony. It felt amazing to hear her voice again, live. She is a beast, not unlike any of “the crew.” CourtneyB is announced as the nights featured artist and she takes the stage. I kindly encourage her to,”put on the mink! Walk on stage with it.” She hesitates but concedes. I love her. I saw so much light in her eyes. They gleamed with passion, gentile; genuine and honest. Her set was awe-inspiring and beyond amazing. I won’t continue to try and find words to express the exactness of what I felt, but she gave me my life. Her voice was so resonant, completely open and pure. She was amazing. Then, Symone who I know to be an opera powerhouse, got up and sang me happy, again. I was flabbergasted by the way that lady plays her voice. Oh, and Brittany Hayden, another monster, was in the house as well, sang down. At 12:45ish, it was well past 11pm. I was in the middle of the dance floor. Yelling, miming, waving my hands. I wanted each of my friends to feel my presence. I wanted them to feel every bit of passion that now resided in me. My spirit had yielded this experience and their performances were transformative, transferring to me an ability to dream, again.
The reality of the situation is that I don’t know how to live my dreams. I have been wrestling with this premise for a few weeks, and its one so many can relate to. Mahogany Wednesday provides the perfect preface to this topic. I’ll be talking about it this week. This is already a lot of words and I’m racing the clock because y’all know, 6AM comes early, every morning.
Easy like a Sunday Morning, I’ll see you Sunday Afternoon.