from the world's big
A song many consider the black national anthem rises again in the United States.
- Written as a poem by James Weldon Johnson around 1900, "Lift Every Voice and Sing" tells a haunting story of spiritual survival.
- The hymn is considered by many to be the black national anthem and has seen a resurgence lately in popular culture.
- Music has a way of helping us feel others' story.
A memory remembered<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Life began when i heard Beyonce's Lift Every Voice and Sing <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Beychella?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Beychella</a> <a href="https://t.co/MG3RBTEChh">pic.twitter.com/MG3RBTEChh</a></p>— Reese Waters (@reesewaters) <a href="https://twitter.com/reesewaters/status/985689398724431878?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">April 16, 2018</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>The contemporary re-emergence of "Lift Every Voice and Sing" arguably began when Beyoncé sang its opening lines as she took the stage at the Coachella festival, a watershed moment <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/arts-and-entertainment/wp/2018/04/15/beyonces-coachella-performance-wasnt-just-pure-musical-entertainment-it-was-a-historic-cultural-moment/" target="_blank">in and of itself</a>. The first black woman to headline the festival, the singer delivered a dazzling knockout performance that was dedicated to historically black colleges. When Beyoncé sings a song it gets heard, and this performance helped bring "Lift Every Voice and Sing" straight onto America's playlist.</p><p>The song was written long ago and began as a poem by <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Weldon_Johnson" target="_blank">James Weldon Johnson</a>.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><em>A group of young men in Jacksonville, Florida, arranged to celebrate Lincoln's birthday in 1900. My brother, J. Rosamond Johnson, and I decided to write a song to be sung at the exercises. I wrote the words and he wrote the music. </em>— <a href="https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/46549/lift-every-voice-and-sing" target="_blank">James Weldon Johnson</a></p><p>According to "<a href="https://amzn.to/37HABlA" target="_blank">Anthem: Social Movements and the Sound of Solidarity in the African Diaspora</a>" by Shana L. Redmond, Johnson later <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2018/04/16/lift-every-voice-and-sing-the-story-behind-the-black-national-anthem-that-beyonce-sang/" target="_blank">recalled</a>, "I could not keep back the tears, and made no effort to do so."</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><em>Our New York publisher, Edward B. Marks, made mimeographed copies for us, and the song was taught to and sung by a chorus of five hundred colored school children. Shortly afterwards my brother and I moved away from Jacksonville to New York, and the song passed out of our minds. But the school children of Jacksonville kept singing it; they went off to other schools and sang it; they became teachers and taught it to other children. Within twenty years it was being sung over the South and in some other parts of the country. Today the song, popularly known as the Negro National Hymn, is quite generally used. </em>— James Weldon Johnson</p><p>The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) named "Lift Every Voice and Sing" the "black national anthem" in 1919, but not everyone agrees with that designation since it implies the need for a separate American black anthem. Nonetheless, listening to this American hymn is a haunting, heartbreaking, and ultimately uplifting experience.</p>
"Lift Every Voice and Sing"<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/27EuTNKgakg" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe><p>(Sung by <a href="https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8Iq4kYFwVzhz0fMD5ekuDA" target="_blank">June's Diary</a>)</p><p><em>Lift every voice and sing<br><em>Till earth and heaven ring,</em><br>Ring with the harmonies of Liberty;<br>Let our rejoicing rise<br>High as the listening skies,<br>Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.<br>Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us,<br>Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us.<br>Facing the rising sun of our new day begun,<br></em><em>Let us march on till victory is won.</em></p><p><em>Stony the road we trod,<br>Bitter the chastening rod,<br>Felt in the days when hope unborn had died;<br>Yet with a steady beat,<br>Have not our weary feet<br>Come to the place for which our fathers sighed?<br>We have come over a way that with tears has been watered,<br>We have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered,<br>Out from the gloomy past,<br>Till now we stand at last<br></em><em>Where the white gleam of our bright star is cast.</em><em></em>God of our weary years,</p><p><em>God of our silent tears,<br>Thou who hast brought us thus far on the way;<br>Thou who hast by Thy might<br>Led us into the light,<br>Keep us forever in the path, we pray.<br>Lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met Thee,<br>Lest, our hearts drunk with the wine of the world, we forget Thee;<br>Shadowed beneath Thy hand,<br>May we forever stand.<br>True to our God,<br>True to our native land.</em></p>
Juggling conscious experience with the machinations of the mind can create the ultimate audience experience.
- Magicians are actually very effective applied psychologists. They're familiar with the workings of both the conscious and unconscious mind.
- During his act, renowned psychological illusionist Derren Brown uses the technique of bafflement to bypass participants' conscious filters and get a maximum response to the trick.
- Derren Brown returns to the stage with his new live, one-man show, Showman. Check it out here.
The best leaders don't project perfection. Peter Fuda explains why.
- There are two kinds of masks leaders wear. Executive coach Peter Fuda likens one to The Phantom of the Opera—projecting perfectionism to hide feelings of inadequacy—and the other to The Mask, where leaders assume a persona of toughness or brashness because they imagine it projects the power needed for the position.
- Both of those masks are motivated by self-protection, rather than learning, growth and contribution. "By the way," says Fuda, "your people know you're imperfect anyway, so when you embrace your imperfections they know you're honest as well."
- The most effective leaders are those who try to perfect their craft rather than try to perfect their image. They inspire a culture of learning and growth, not a culture where people are afraid to ask for help.
Individuals and organizations can learn more from Peter Fuda at enixa.co.
The actor's greatest heroes exhibited humility in their actions, a view he tries to emulate.
- Ethan Hawke is inspired by others' excellence and ability to see the context of the larger community, those who value their work but don't take it too seriously.
- One of his heroes, River Phoenix, exhibited this kind of humility by taking on roles that were meaningful to him but were seen as controversial.
- "Phil Hoffman used to say this all the time, that it's the most important thing in the world and it doesn't matter, and you have to hold that coin together and flip it around. It's all true all the time," he says.
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There are several levels of comedy plagiarism, says Paul F. Tompkins.
- Comedian Paul F. Tompkins explains the complexities of plagiarism in the comedy world; comedians all spend time together, processing the same current events—to some degree, it's natural that they may arrive at the same conclusions and jokes.
- "There are certain things that human beings just are predisposed to laugh at and we're just kind of all putting our own spin on it," he says.
- Some comedians may do it knowingly and others completely by accident, almost by osmosis. There are levels of plagiarism, and if you ask most comedians, says Tompkins, they will have had an innocent experience of realizing something they wrote was not truly theirs.