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SITH Right Here, Right Now

SITH Right Here, Right Now

“There are some times in life

When things don’t go your way

You don’t understand

It’s not how you planned it

You can’t bear another day…

Hallelujah anyway

I wanna thank the Lord for another day

I know that I will make it some way somehow

so I’m going to praise Him right here right now”

Alicia Myers “Hallelujah Anyway.”

The whole thing was surreal.  School was being shut down. students were being given four days to pack up and go home.  I looked around our classroom and wondered if I’d ever see these students again.  I wondered how our lives would change when and if we were reunited. I went home that night and our family of five settled into the uncertainty.

Being with my husband and three daughters and being surrounded by music made the days and nights bearable.  In those first few months it was D-Nice and Club Quarantine that kept me moving, laughing and singing. Listening to familiar songs felt good. D-Nice provided the soundtrack of a time before something we couldn’t see or stop could sneak into the air and snatch our loved ones or us away.  But as days became weeks and weeks became months and sirens wailed and zoom funerals began, I needed something else. I needed music I’d never heard to get me through something I never anticipated.

The Soul In The Horn community and Natasha Diggs’ sets turned out to be what I needed. My first encounter with Natasha was when she played the afterparty for the Erykah Badu and Jill Scott Verzuz in May 2020. Her set was soulful, upbeat, and eclectic. I dug it. My second encounter with her was a few days later “at” Club Quarantine. Again it was a great set and her hopeful energy reached me through grief, fear and anxiety. I decided to follow her on Instagram. After that it was Soul in the Horn every Friday. Before long I checked out the Twitch stream with its fabulous visuals courtesy of Lenni Love and D Prosper and saw that I wasn’t the only one inspired to dance all over the house, joining the zoom room was the natural next step.  I would normally be too self-conscious to dance on a screen in front of a bunch of strangers but as Alice Walker’s book title says, “Hard times require furious dancing.” Dance I did. 

In July 2020 my sister called saying our mother had been hospitalized. My family and I took the 5-Hour drive to where my parents live. My sister taught me how to give insulin shots and read the blood sugar of my 92 year old diabetic father. It was a stressful and scary time. It turned out my mother had a stroke. There were lots of things to arrange and reconsider about my parents’ living situation. All that during a pandemic. It surprised me when as stressed as I was, I tuned into Soul in the Horn and danced. It was only 20 minutes but that 20 minutes brought me joy, hope and energy in the midst of a difficult and exhausting situation. Natasha’s sermons at the end of the night about appreciating life and loving each other are medicine. The music, good vibes and togetherness are sparks of light. I danced through my mother’s recovery and arguments about where and how my elderly parents would live. I danced through studying for my comprehensive exam and I danced after I passed it. The one time I stopped dancing was after a friend suddenly passed from covid. I stepped away from the zoom room and the stream for weeks. My first time back Natasha played Alicia Myers’ “Right here right now (Hallelujah Anyway).”  I danced and cried. Soul in the Horn has been my “Hallelujah Anyway.” Natasha and the Soul In The Horn community have taught me I can always make room for joy. I absolutely must make room for it, even if it’s just one 5 minute dance. There is going to be grief. That is an unfortunate part of life. But learning to embrace joy is part of what makes life worth living. Thank you Soul In The Horn family.

Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie

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