So… I was sitting by the kitchen table with my four children eating lunch, and the girls were teasing my son because when they’d gone up that morning, they heard a weird song on his radio. He was sleeping with music on and hadn’t heard it. They were mocking him for listening to opera. Going by their description, I whisked out my phone, opened youtube and put on:
Yes. It was that song, and it was terrible. I took a deep breath and started a lecture, telling them how they need to understand the significance of that song. How two great singers from different genres came together and created magic. How there will never be a performance like it again since both of them now are gone, and this song is part of the legacy they left behind.
I realised that maybe I was being a bit too emotional, using a tad too many big words, but… Freddie Mercury was important to me growing up, and his death robbed the world of an amazing voice and an outstanding performer.
I went on to talk about how important he was and still is, to people all over the world. He was a bisexual man, an immigrant, and at the end of his life and after his death, he became a face for AIDS Awareness.
More blank faces until one of them asks: What’s AIDS?
Ah, yeah, the lecture continues. I kept it pretty light but talked about how after Freddie’s death, many artists got together and played at Wembly as a tribute to him but also for AIDS Awareness.
I showed a short clip from Live Aid, also at Wembly, and talked about the importance of artists in all shapes and forms. You don’t have to like their music, but you are not allowed to belittle what they do.
*They’re getting restless*
I continue with: It’s like Jimi Hendrix played the Star-Spangled Banner at Woodstock (I know, I know, I’m torturing them LOL). I can’t say I like it very much, but you have to understand that this was in the Summer of Love, the US was in the middle of the Vietnam war, and we’re in 1969, so the civil rights movement were fighting hard for equal rights. On stage we have a young black man, a guitar god, playing the Star-Spangled Banner in front of 30.000+ hippies.
It must have pissed off so many ‘patriots’. A brilliant move on Jimi’s part. I did not tell the kids that, but they know what racism is, so I emphasised this being a long time ago when the world was even more unfair than it is now, and how much it must’ve meant for people of colour to see him there.
Then I decided to torture them some more and talked about the strength in artists and how by doing one performance they can bring awareness to something. Melissa Etheridge performing while in cancer treatment always gets me emotional.
It was evident I’d lost the majority of them, so I figured I need to connect it to their reality somehow. They listen to what’s playing on the radio, so I tried to come up with one modern-day artist worth mentioning. One. *Please brain, give me one*
Beyoncé is important. I might not voluntarily put her music on though my son absolutely loved Single Ladies when he was little ❤️ so that song I still know by heart. But I picked:
Why? Because then I got to talk about Tina Turner too. You can’t tell me Tina Turner isn’t important. Tina is damn important.
So how did the midday lesson end?
There was only one way it could end. You don’t have to like it, but you have to show R.E.S.P.E.C.T because what these people have accomplished is so much greater than what most of us ever will.