Speaking of the Long, Hot summer

This month is one for the history books. When I think of June, it’s usually with happy, uneventful thoughts—weddings, summer, school’s out, long evenings with friends, recreational activities galore, only six more months until Christmas – heck, what is there to complain about?  This month, however, has been what I’d call tumultuous for lack of a nickel word to use instead of this 50-cent one.

For me, tumultuous is a seeing word. It immediately brings to mind images of chaos, unrest, everything turned on its head, uncertainty, and that’s pretty much what we’ve had this month. From Memorial Day on, our communities have been rocked by the deaths of George Floyd and Ryshaard Brooks and the riots, looting, violence and peaceful protests that followed. Thousands more died from the COVID-19 virus after people became restless sheltering in place, the Supreme Court decided that young undocumented people who are here through no actions of their own can rest a little easier for now, and sexual orientation, while strictly a personal matter, can be protected.

When the ground around us shifts, it’s easy to focus on the negative and forget that we have so much to be thankful for. Things like community where people come together to help their neighbors. In one of my favorite places, Paris, Tennessee, home of the World’s Biggest Fish Fry, I was always so proud of the annual Helping Hands auction. Individuals and communities joined hands and hearts to benefit local entities, and whether the auctioneers sold cakes and pies for as much as a mortgage payment or invested in a youngster’s heifer project, it was beautiful.

We mustn’t forget that every time a child takes her allowance or his lemonade stand to the next level to feed other hungry children or essential workers, there’s hope. We can celebrate that couples are still investing in marriage, babies are being born, adopted, and cherished, and horns enthusiastically honk to celebrate our graduates and cheer up lonely elders.

This is an exciting time to be alive—a little strange I admit—but exciting. As the world unfolds, we need to adjust and unfold with it. In this time of immense social change, how we fare is directly tied to our attitudes and willingness to grow, learn, and adapt.

In high school I learned to type on a typewriter and thought my trusty Selectric would always be my go-to machine. Nowadays babies are attached to the computer almost before they emerge from the womb, and the wonderful music we grew up with on albums and records is now inside a gadget the size of a deck of cards. I love that this “musical soundtrack of our lives” is effortlessly available all day every day, which brings me to one of the oft-overlooked treats of summer—African American Music Appreciation Month.

I can’t imagine a world without Aretha Franklin’s “R-E-S-P-EC-T, or Otis Redding’s “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay.” Every time I hear Percy Sledge’s “When a Man Loves a Woman,” I know he knows what he’s talking about. I remember Ray Charles and “Hit the Road Jack” from elementary school and whenever we hear the intro to “My Girl,” we have to admit that William “Smokey” Robinson is a genius.

African American music is a precious gift. It soothes, like Thomas Dorsey’s “Precious Lord.” It gently reminds like Common and John Legend’s “When the Glory Comes,” or Sly and the Family Stone’s “Every Day People.” Music unites, inspires, and comforts like nothing else can do—listen today and be blessed.

How has June month been for you? Share your insights with me at #drbondhopson on Twitter and Facebook!

Looking for inspiration, empowerment, uplift, straight talk, an encouraging word to brighten your day? You’ve arrived! Meet Dr. Cynthia Ann Bond Hopson, best-selling author, educator, inspirational speaker, sistergirl–she’s all that and more. All the way from Stanton, TN (you can’t get there from here) to 50 states, six continents and everything in between, she’s wise, witty and altogether wonderful. She enthusiastically invites you to slow down, sit a spell, and share a giggle or two.

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