Jan 1, 2018 – The Call - Dameun Strange

The Art of Everything

Over the holiday season, many of my conversations have been about fatherhood, parenthood and as to be expected, Ezra, the new addition to our family. I don’t mind it at all. It’s fascinating to watch this little guy grow. I love to think of all of the ways I can help him, and all of the ways I can stay out of his way to let him find or discover things on his own. I’ve wrote about how influential my family, more specifically the women in my family, have been on how I look at art and how I see the world. I know it’s my job to help Ezra find beauty in the world, but not to define it for him.

I was raised by musical parents in a fairly musical family that goes back to 1800. Their tastes influenced me. Luckily, those included a wide range of artists and bands like Minnie Riperton, Roy Ayers, Chicago, Rush, the Police and Parliament Funkadelic. My grandmother was into doo wop and Motown; I got gospel, classical and jazz from my African Methodist Episcopal Church upbringing. I was lucky to have a strong foundation, and to also be born during the advent of hip hop.

The thing is…

At some point, adolescence kicked in. I ventured down my own path, finding all things bubble gum: that most saccharine of music expression with catchy, head bobbing tunes about good times, first love and heartbreak. I am not ashamed of my affection for New Edition, Debbie Gibson or The Jets. And I will never shame Ezra for liking any ridiculous incarnation of bubble gum pop his generation is drawn towards. Afterall, I found Kraftwerk and Art of Noise on my own as a preteen. I stumbled upon the latter while thumbing through the records at Tower; I happened to liked the group’s name. As I’ve grown older I still appreciate the band’s music, and the name even more. The ART of noise. It is a lovely reminder that there is art in everything, and an art to everything. I hope to be the type of father who encourages my son to look for the humanity in everyone and the beauty in everything. I also hope to be the type of executive director in 2018 who leads an organization and a community that audaciously declares we see value and humanity in all our fellow community members; that with boldness we see the beauty and the ART in everything. If we can start from this foundation, we can be healers. We can be heroes.

Cheers!
Here’s to 2018!

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