There is something about a woman, who can bring certain truths to the root of one’s very Soul. Ain’t nothin’ like being able to move that particular truth, into the hearts and Spirits of people, who are resonating with that intrinsic vibe. Certain singers and songwriters simply have that eloquence and vibe about them. There is no way to get around or escape it. Their words are the very essence of truth. Truth feels good when it is heard. Truth resonates with the current reality, and it is medicinal for the mind, body, and Soul; no matter how painful or hard it may be to capture, and embrace it. When it is matched with the current spaces and realities of the given day, there are particular forms of wellness, that can be moved throughout the given period. Whatever people are feeling, it can be poured out into music.
For some people, healing takes place outside of the home. For others, it is through a land, which is far away. Through another lens, it comes through taking a close, hard look at the world of the personal. Sometimes, it comes to move throughout different paintings and images, surrounding a person’s internal visual, regarding themselves. Nevertheless, it takes the right singer, who is able to navigate such energies of reality, throughout the masses. For the most part, there is a level of care and invigorating energy, when it comes to being able to move throughout the myriad structures of love and tenderness. Yet, when we speak truth to power, we have the ability to touch, and save, the lives of so many people, who are feeling the pain of life’s harsh realities. Not every song is meant to be beautiful. In fact, some are meant to simply connect with the hard, dirty. . .TRUTH! Yet, it is through truth, where we are bound to find mental, spiritual, and emotional liberation. Certain things are moved to understanding just how sacred and beautiful the world of truth, truly is!
When it comes to the definitions of home, sometimes, another discussion is necessary. For one particular song and singer, home is not necessarily always where the heart is. Sometimes, home is filled with societal problems and ills. Sometimes, home is not necessarily warm. Therefore, a conversation is needed. The issue is, where do we begin with the conversation? Now, that is a relevant question in its own right. What is the current status of home? If we are going to be move through different dynamics in understanding the sense of home, there has to be a description for this particular lens. There has to be a message in describing and understanding the current circumstances of home. What is home and is home really where the heart is? When we move into the realm of Black American Music and culture, there is something about Funk and Soul music of the 1970’s, which carries a particular lens and beauty, throughout the realm of beauty and love. Something about that particular time period, which was adamant and intriguing in revealing the reality of things at hand. Yes, Baby! The 70’s everyone, was filled with a lot of upheaval and moving around to make sense of the things of the day.
Throughout the context of the 70’s, and those Black American singers/songwriters of the day, a certain oomph was brought into the atmosphere. Something in how they lived the songs and emotions, as expressed and conveyed in their music. Realness was especially evident, in those 70’s songs. One particular songstress of that Funky beat and nature, made it very clear that there can be a different feeling, when it comes to what we call, “home.” It resonated for so many people. In fact, it resonated for many Black American inner city communities and people, during the 70’s. Even the Queen of Soul–Miss Aretha Franklin-could not help, but to give credit, where credit was due. The beloved dame, who had the power and incite in awakening us to the realities, dimensions, atmospheres, and eloquence of certain homes, is none other than. . .
One of the most sacred and eloquent attributes surrounding Esther Phillips” perception of home, is how it highlights the ugly realities and facets of home. Home is not always pretty. In fact, it can be a nightmare, should be decide to be honest about our particular circumstances. Her song, “Home Is Where The Hatred Is,” is a reflection of reality, and those who have removed themselves from it. There are different depictions and presentations of. . .home. What does one see when WALKING home? What is so artistic about this song, is how it presents a story? Of course, in this case, Esther Phillips, takes on the role of the storyteller. She is the observant, feminine dame, within the gardens, that she matriculates through. She sees everything! From the languish of drug addiction, to the emptiness within particular settings. There is a reckoning of insight in the pain of brokenness and sorrow, when home is not rooted in a strong foundation. Furthermore, there is also a sense of frustration and agony, when one observes how homes have been uprooted. Let us not forget about the onslaught of the crack epidemic, which took over in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Of course, we cannot ever forget about incidents within the 1970’s, which led up to that ordeal. And yet, here we are with Esther. Listening to her song and the vocal abilities, of her sound. She takes us through a lyrical performance in the realm of, her world. On another lens, we are also moved to pushing through our sensitivities, in order to understand the realities, that many do not want to see.
The lyrics to the song are intense and powerful. On another level, they bring a certain visual into that, other world! Its another place and circumstance, that many people have refused to observe. Its a harsh reality when home is broken. Its an even harsher depiction, when a person cannot find their way back to bringing healing to the home. So, such is the journey in this iconic song, which made the “Queen Of Soul” to pay homage to another legend.
“A junkie walking through the twilight I’m on my way home I left three days ago, but no one seems to know I’m gone Home is where the hatred is Home is where the hatred is Home is filled with pain and it, Might not be such a bad idea if I never, never went home again”
Wow! Intense, isn’t it? There is obviously a lot of pain, surrounding these particular lyrics. Its painful. It truly is. Nevertheless, it is essential in order for a person to move through that particular spacing. Its imperative for a person to truly navigate and understand the current sensory to a particular setting. Only then are they are to garnish and protect those particular surroundings. Only then is the transformation allowed to take place. Once there is that particular recognition, then home can transition into a more dynamic and intricate place. Yet, we have to take that initial step into truth’s domain, in order to realize the paradox and harsh reality of it all.
“I left three days ago, but no one seems to know I’m gone.”
Within the song, there are traces in being unacknowledged. To go to a residential space, where a person’s absence is not even deemed as recognizable, is a problem. On a deeper level, it paints a harsh reality in your very Being not being viewed as worthy within a given spacing. It translates into there not being any value in a person’s life; though air is breathing through their Being. If one life is not valued, then all lives are clearly not valued, within that setting. It is evident that the stench of lifelessness is prevalent, within this narrative; and within this particular song.
“A junkie walking the through the twilight, I’m on my way home”
Interesting, isn’t? Kicking off the song, it becomes evident that the first introduction to the song, is one of chaos. Clearly, this “junkie” is someone’s somebody. Nevertheless, it is obvious. This “junkie” is someone, who has clearly lost their connection to reality. It is a specific problem, as the “junkie,” has lost their connection to life’s treasures. When such things happen to a person, it means they have lost connection to their own sensitivities; and to human touch and life. In this neighborhood, and through this story, the “junkie,” is truly lost-mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. Wandering with no aim, and with no objective for hopes of tomorrow. However, in this space, in this setting, such is the reality. Its painful. Yet, it’s the truth. The ugly truth of hopelessness, and agony, when an individual feels as if they have been trapped into a harsh reality, which does not appear to change. And, so one stays in that corner, and experiences that sad “awakening,” in why appears to be a “permanent” situation. Sigh! “If only they knew. “ If only, they knew.
“Stand as far away from me as you can and ask me why
“Hang on to your rosary beads Close your eyes to watch me die You keep saying, kick it, quit it, kick it, quit it”
“God, but did you ever try To turn your sick soul inside out So that the world, so that the world Can watch you die”
“Home is where I live inside my white powder dreams Home was once an empty vacuum that’s now filled with my silent screams Home is where the needle marks Try to heal my broken heart And it might not be such a bad idea if I never, if I never went home again”
It’s obvious that the entire song is dedicated to this toxic getaway into the fantasy world. This world where drugs covers the reality, and makes living a temporary fix. Yes, we hear the lyrics. We feel the vibes. Its an uncomfortable situation to be in. It truly is. Nevertheless, it is truth. And the speaking of her reality is no less significant than a woman who sits comfortably in her suburban mansion, and drinks her bottle of whiskey, in order to numb the pain of loneliness. It is no less different. Even within a story, there is still richness within that story. And, though it is no glamorous fairytale, let’s keep in mind that there is still richness, within this particular story. There is no doubt about that. And then again, w cannot forget, the voice.
The very texture of Esther Phillips is part of what makes this song, so real! The realness, is what made people drawn to it. When people recognize their stories and experiences, within a particular song, the healing process is more profound. It means that people have been given the ok to acknowledge their stories. To embrace them, and put them in a song. That’s the wonder of such creativity. Its a release from having to smile and pretend that everything is alright. Through this song, so many people are freed in having to pretend that they should be silent about their own realities. Some woman is telling the truth. And guess what? That’s alright! In fact, its the right thing to do. For this iconic classic, the truth hurts! And, after the pain, comes the building of a new home. For some, home is not where the heart is. Nevertheless, its never too late to re-heal and rebuild, the heart!
Immersing ourselves within our personal reflections, within this song, there is a particular essence in which we are able to move forward, with our lives. In speaking the truth, to any of life’s harsh realities, there is a way in being able to release. Once the toxicities, surrounding silence, have been removed, then one can elevate into a higher level. It is the ascension, which comes after the realization of our pain. However, we are only able to get to this point, once having felt honesty’s passion, within our surroundings. Once we admit that everything is not always alright, is when we are able to move to where we want to be. Where is home for us? And, once we find it, how do we move towards that direction? Now, that my Dears, is a conversation, for another song. Another day. In a new found place, we can truly call, HOME!