Hello Friends, welcome to Friday Food for Thought. News regarding the U.S. Supreme Court has been so horrible lately, it was easy to miss the headlines on June 30, when Ketanji Brown Jackson became the first Black woman sworn in as an Associate Justice. We’ve probably never needed Justice Jackson’s competence and dignity more. To honor the occasion, I offer a musical celebration. Let’s begin!
1) Better Get It Right the First Time:
It’s hard to imagine anyone fusing folk, blues, country, gospel, and pop as perfectly as Rhiannon Giddens. She gives a contemporary sound to timeless music and her work has a strong social conscience without being preachy. She surely understands, as does Justice Jackson, the burden of an intolerant nation where too many people, solely for the color of their skin, are given no room for error, and instead are expected to get everything right the first time.
2) John Henry:
Few legends illustrate the dynamic between systemic racism and the exploitation of labor more effectively than John Henry, the steel-driver who died proving human superiority to machines. In a Supreme Court increasingly brazen in repression and support of oligarchy, Justice Jackson might be in the minority, but we can at least take comfort in the fact that she is there to serve the people and not the machine that Graham Greene called “Stalinist capitalism.”
Performed by the Ramsey Lewis Trio
3) Go Down Moses:
Republicans ban books today just as authorities banned abolitionist literature in the 1800s and enslavers outlawed anything that might unite or inspire the oppressed. Spirituals like Go Down Moses didn’t just reference the Old Testament, but celebrated the enslaved who had escaped to freedom. The Supreme Court, when in the hands of responsible jurists, has repeatedly affirmed the First Amendment’s promise of unrestricted information in all its forms. In these dark days, we can be grateful for Justice Jackson’s presence, and commit to voting for responsible leaders who will rebuild the Court as a protector of justice and not a blunt tool of extremists.
Go Down Moses
Performed by Grant Green
4) Enough is Enough:
For years, I wondered why there was no gap between tracks on Donna Summer’s iconic 1979 greatest hits album. Over time, I understood that no pause between songs meant there was no reason to stop dancing. When Donna Summer lifted her voice in song, no one wanted the music to stop. The journey for true equality is long and far from over, but in a time when every day demands that we declare enough is enough, each step of progress deserves to be celebrated.
That’s all for this week. Keep the faith, friends, and have a good weekend!
This post contains NO affiliate links. All suggestions are based on my own personal experience, your experience may vary. Nothing herein is intended to serve as medical, legal, financial, or any other advice for which you should consult professionals and not some random guy on the Internet.