Category: Inspiring Lives

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day!

Before Michael Jackson there was Mahalia Jackson.

And it was Mahalia Jackson’s “His Eye Is On The Sparrow” that preceded Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “I Have A Dream Speech” (click here for the backstory).

I became interested in Mahalia because she reminded me of another soulful African-American church voice from my teenage years…

Unlike Mahalia, I don’t remember her name, but I remember the same stance, the same eyes, the same unforgettable voice as she sang a the small Midwestern town’s Southern Baptist church.

 She was a young, bird-like African-American woman who, like Mahalia, kept my young eye on Life’s bigger picture.

 Much to my dismay — this young woman and the other African-Americans soon left over political reason. But I got just enough of her…her soulful singing of “I’ll Fly Away”.

(Maybe this is why I like birds so much.)

To my hungry ears, God was inside that song.

I didn’t care how much this woman earned for a living, I didn’t care whether or not she wore makeup (she didn’t) or if she was of a certain political bent.

Her voice was church.

Her voice was her soul.

Mahalia Jackson has a similar effect. Their voices somehow undid the images of less-than-positive ways humans treat each other, as at too early of an age I was exposed to the images of what whites did to blacks, what the Japanese did to the Koreans, what the Koreans did to the blacks, and what the whites did to the Koreans (and later learned about the Jews and the Russians…and Italians, Muslims, Hispanics, Native Americans, etc…it was doled out in parts…the Universe probably thought I could only handle so much at one time…). Thankfully, music is a salve. Her voice presents an antidote which is to accept everyone for who they are. When I hear her sing, I can’t help but sway and shake my head…

When I hear their voices, there is no race and no color. And for that I’m grateful for the power of music.

In this dream, truly, music is heaven.

Thank you to Ms. Mahalia Jackson and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and that young black woman who left such a soulful impression on a young Korean-American girl.

I carry those voices and they carry me.

Truth…

When I graduated from university with a film degree, I had heard so many stories about Hollywood that instead of heading out to L.A., I went to intern at an NBC news affiliate in St. Louis — KSDK.

What I learned from that experience was that I just wanted to be an artist whether that was writing, painting, or music. I wanted to feel clean on the inside and stay that way…

To pursue this dream and do it in the manner of which felt right to my soul — and which felt truthful in a world of illusion — has been the largest challenge to my life, for people who are not happy will do their best to squeeze out the happy from you.

Keep those people at a distance. Love them from a distance.

Little do these people know the truth, that IF they try to do the latter, they only squeeze themselves…we are ONE. Our souls are ONE.

I love these types of people from a distance…for they don’t know truth…they don’t know their souls…they don’t know they have them…otherwise they wouldn’t do what they’re doing…they wouldn’t be thinking what they’re thinking…they wouldn’t be saying/behaving in such a way that keeps their minds up at night.

Thank goodness, I’m an artist…that I’ve found my own spiritual refuge. Thank goodness, I work as an artisan…and I can work as an artisan for the rest of my life, if I so choose.

I’m my own refuge.

I wish the same for your daughter.

Thank you Oprah for being who you are, for being an inspiration to me since I was a teenager…you are beautiful inside and out.

Beauty is as beauty does.

We do our best…

xo,
Helen

When people show you who they are, believe them for the first time…
— Maya Angelou

Do the stuff you love. Do the work that comes from the soul of you. Align your personality with what your soul came to do…
— Oprah Winfrey

 

Support Them While They’re Living…

Helenbobelen.com readers, please heed…support artists while they’re still alive. In the late 90s/early 2000s, while Michael Jackson was still alive, I purchased all his music…same with Whitney Houston…and Prince…for whatever reason, they weren’t very popular at the time; it wasn’t “cool” to like them anymore. (And of course, people reconsidered their opinions once these artists left the Earth.)

In general, love people while they’re still alive…(unless they’re less than kind…again and again…then you get a free pass…you can love them from afar…).

Besides, when it comes to art, outside of popular media, you’re smart enough to recognize talent.

Here are some magnificent musicians…as I have, you might’ve already admired them for years, bought their music, stayed up all night watching/listening to their work…if you haven’t, then you might consider brightening your day with their quieter velvet-voiced amazingness.

xo,
Hbb