Where did “Rena’s Moan” come from?

•September 23, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Rena’s Moan came out from my womb.

Ancestor Rena’s Crowning Moment of Truth

•August 27, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Too many of our ancestral mothers have suffered in silence…through the humiliation of being forced into the dark side of a capitalistic structure – trading their beautiful bodies for even the hope of staying alive on this side of creation.  My foremothers’ tears ran inside as their blood swallowed the pain – giving life to a wail that traveled through our generations.   Tempted to escape and/or anesthetize the pain, the choices made by many of the women in my matrilineal line prove that these cries need to be expressed because they need to be heard. 

It is no longer hushed… that,  at least one time in her life, my beautiful grandmother suffered through her choice to trade sex for money.  Subsequently, until her time of transition, her spirit was cloaked in shame.   Drawing its power from America’s hypocritical and oppressive societal standards, she debased and criticized her actions as low.  The sad truth is that this system we worship was designed to fail her from the moment she was born a poor black woman in the early 1920’s.  And let’s face it, not many women can say they know exactly what they would do while staring 11 hungry children in the eyes… no hope in sight.  I know I can’t.  In this same light, another woman who sells her sexuality to the world in the form of entertainment and suggestion might be respected by mainstream America.  I ask which is more honorable, the hungry woman who uses sex to feed her children or the seductive starlet who makes a “legitimate” living doing the same?

 I refuse to judge.  But, what I can say is that rather than view my grandmother’s decision as a source of shame, I ‘made it beautiful’.  Instead of accusing a scarlet woman, I choose to honor the strength in Rena – since she was committed to the pulling through and continuation of her family.    She cried inside, ‘he might have my body’, ‘but…, her soul contended … never my spirit’.   Yet, not one other person attended to it until now.  Torn and fragmented, the Afrikan Slave Holocaust perpetuated this along with other adaptive behaviors that can be changed with truth and honesty.  For me, her wailing found its way into my artistic space, inspiring my latest album release “Rena’s Moan”.   And for that, I am grateful.  Please check out the video, which features the ending of the tribute song “Eye Candy” – as I shared these sentiments during her moment of sacrifice… proving to the world why the value of a black woman’s voice has a worth beyond all prices.  Our resiliency and knack for survival are as much a mystery as the earth itself. 

Bless,

InnaRae

www.innarae.com

 

“Eye Candy” lyrics

•August 27, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Opening:  Sometimes I don’t, Sometimes I don’t wanna to be.  Sometimes, I hate, Sometimes I hate that you see…Eye Candy. 

Lead Lyrics:

How did I get in this business of?  Thinkin’ what’s most important is how a man sees me, rather than please me?

Pretty face and round breasts, tight ass, low on real cash.  Got kids lookin’ at me, rubbin’ their mouths and their bellies.  What to do if we go hungry?  That will not happen to me.  I pray, but the answer don’t come my way. I think it’s time for me to get in the game.  I know I’m pretty.  I know he got needs.  I’ll make that money.  My babies will eat.  I’m eye candy.  Makin’ him think he could have me.  I’m eye candy, like on the cover of a magazine.

Play me boy. I’m hustlin’.  Oui, Cheri, Gallery.

How did I get in this business of?  Thinkin’ what’s most important is how a man sees me, rather than please me?

I’m just teasin’ you baby.  You might have my body, but my soul and spirit live…

Sisters have you ever compared yourself to the motherland?  Shortly before capitalism laid down its ugly hand?  He saw my riches ripe. Diamonds shining in the night, I knew what God had made, he wanted to get paid.  Organized a sea of drills excavating my brown hills of righteousness and told that I’m less than… commerce corporate music singing songs that say.  Body became my soul bought for ten pieces of gold.  Something I already own.

I know that my lips were made to speak words of hope to those who can hear me.  I know that my breasts milk nurturing streams sustaining life that grows inside me.  I know that my legs were made for me to walk in places I never dreamed.  I know that my soul comes from civilized nations that crown me queen.  But that ain’t my reality.  I’m in America the land of the free.  Capitalizing on what’s inside me that makes me believe I’m eye candy.  Want a man to pay for the thought that he could have me.  I’m eye candy, like on the cover of a magazine.

How did I get in this business of, thinkin’ what’s most important is how a man sees me, rather than please me?  Eye Candy.

 So rich, yet rooted in a western form of poverty while illusions of material success lie at my feet.  What ya’ll know about that?

No food in stock, don’t know where the next meal is coming from, but for the moment that battle’s won.  Come on, let’s eat. 

Unfulfilled African male promises to chisel chains of false hope, but he forgot we came over here and still live in the same boat.

Layin’ down dreams and quenching the spirit for the sake of your children and their children and their children’s children…legacy that’s where it’s at.

Eye candy.  Hard times got me.  Thinkin’ what’s most important is, how a man… sees me, rather than …please me.  Please understand…that…ain’t all…i am.

Commentary:

This song speaks for itself.  Against the subject of another song on the album titled Sex in the Dark it wraps up a two-sided legend regarding the birth one of my aunts.  Some in the family speak of a rape.  Others speak of a need to pay the bills.  Since we’ll never know the truth, I felt it necessary to honor both stories.  Whatever the case, many women forced to use their bodies to survive and feed their children deserve to be heard.  I don’t see it as a mark of shame, but one of strength, character, and sacrifice. 

The spoken pieces in this work focus on the true nature of the African woman—regardless of what she feels forced to makes of herself to survive in America.  It speaks of her place of origin, her highly regarded status, her dreams.  These things never die.  These things are priceless.

“Charisma” lyrics

•February 14, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Lead Lyrics:

Everything that was placed in you before starting your time radiates and shines

It’s like, little pieces of light letting others know darkness they live in exists

It’s like, thirst quenching droplets of love, empathy, compassion we need to see

They can even feel it before you walk into the room…and when you do, they are

Blown away

And don’t even know what to say

They are blown away, shakin’ their hands throwin’ up their hands and…

You might not always know it, it’s your nature to show it, to put it down, to get around help others ground that need to hear their spirit sound and be found by your beauty or

Bask in the heat of your physical touch or

Sleep to the vibrations in your voice

Whatever you bring, trust me, they are…

Blown away

And don’t even know what to say

They are blown away, shakin’ their hands throwin’ up their hands and…

They are:

Blown away by your love

Blown away by your touch

Blown away by your scent

Blown away by your style (smile)

Blown away by your look

Blown away by your mind

Blown away by your grace

and your smile

and your face

Commentary:

This song was written with overall consideration for my mother and her siblings.  It is most unfortunate that they were all gifted with the characteristics stated throughout the song, but poverty and low self-esteem kept them from exploring them to the fullest extent.  My grandmother, over-run by her own sorrows, had no idea how to nurture these gifts, since she, too, was raised in poverty with very low expectations for success in the arts.  Granted, there are many who have overcome such obstacles and made something of themselves.  But, from the perspective of an African-American child living in abject poverty in mid 1900, the greater of them don’t.  It is my hope that those who have young people in their lives will be inspired to give their children the gift of the words in this song.

Enjoy….

“Rena’s Stage” lyrics

•February 12, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Lead Lyrics

Opening: Transformation, Preservation, Mind Alteration.  In this moment, I choose to die.  So that the soul, the purity in her eye can birth.

InnaRae: To dirt stage, from dusted dreams, calling forth Rena to stand with me.  Arouse the crowd.  Beckon their hearts.  Give them the charge to see the world you see.  Invoke the faith.  Draw from black space.  Conjure the fame, and meet me in this place.

Birth – Rena Birth – Birth, Birth, Birth – Rena Birth

Rena: Bid them cry.  Let them shout boldly, mightily.  Be, be, be a grand me.  Overbear me.  Confidently, fascinate me.  Unabashedly reach and assert me.  Principally, honor and respect me in this birth.

Rena birth – Birth, birth, birth – Rena birth – Rena

Commentary

On the album, this piece serves as an interlude between the only song dedication to my grandmother (“Borrowed Suga”) and the traks that bring forth my interpretation of her true voice.  As the title suggests, I created a stage against the backdrop of Yusef Assaan’s music laden with heavy bass and eccentric beats.  Essentially, after I sang this diddy, she sang through me.  It felt good to sing this in BlackCree’s space as it was filled with peace and acceptance.  “Rena’s Stage” can be heard opening the Photo/Word Gallery section on my website www.innarae.com.

Enjoy…

 

“What Can I Do?” lyrics

•November 15, 2007 • 1 Comment

Lead Lyrics:

Opening:  That’s me, Lord.  Body sprawled across the floor.  Preacher laid his hands on my head. Think he delivered me.  But I ain’t feelin’ what he did.  I know what I have to give.  And can’t nobody release these things, but me, but me, but me.

I’m wracking my brain wondering what can I do.  I’m newly saved and I don’t really, really know you.  (Tell me, Lord) What can I do that would be pleasing to you?  (And tell me, Lord) What sin or demon can I give up for you? 

Take me (they’re taking me on a ride), break me (I could see it with my first eye), empty me (instead of owning what I know), for your will (I give it up, fall back and I let it go).  Shape me (gave up my power in distress), mold me (overcome by deceit and darkness), fill me up (and yes, I wanna get it back) with your love (for the love of myself, for the love of myself). 

Take me.  I give you my body.  I give you my mind…my soul, my spirit.  To do with them as you will.  Help me be still.  Make me see all of my good thangs.  Empty me of all my bad thangs.  Unshackle me of all my ‘you know’ thangs.  Use me for your will.  I know you’ll take your time, and keep me right, while I am in the  spirit fighting for my life. 

So, tell me what can I do to be pleasing to you, you, you, you, you-you oo-oo—Whaaaat siin or deye-e-e-e-e-emon can I give up for you, because I love you, you-you-oo-oo-oo.

You know me, so show me what you want me to do.  Then heal me from my pain.  He think he got me slain.  You’re all, so show me what you want me to do.  Pick me up turn me around.  Place my feet on solid ground.

I want you to hold me, mold me, then fill me up and free me up in your love.

Closing:  That’s me, Lord, body sprawled across the floor.  Preacher laid his hands on my head.  Think he delivered me.  Since I ain’t feelin’ what he did.  Take back the credit for the life that I live.  I know it’s such a shame, he think he got me slain in the spirit.  He think he got me slain.  That there just ain’t the case. You know me so show me what you want me to do.  He think he got me slain.  That there just ain’t the case.  You’re all so show me what you want me to do.

Commentary:

Any one who’s had a spiritual/religious encounter can recall that all encompassing sense of awe upon meeting a charismatic preacher claiming to have answers to our problems.  Once, my grandmother shared an experience she had when a famous traveling preacher visited her hometown and laid hands on her as she gave herself to Christ.  Ecstatic, it was then that she believed she was saved and free to walk with new eyes and forthcoming fixes to all of her problems.  Thinking that it would enhance her life, it was also then, that she gave up so much of who she was and what was meant for her to express for the sake of the gospel. 

She didn’t know it, but I often wondered what would have happened if after she fell ‘slain in the spirit’, she resisted the moment, got up and reclaimed her power by redefining both herself and her worldview.  Writing this song gave me the opportunity to explore an answer.  I imagined that she would still possess a desire to please God…and that she would have the freedom to identify, nurture and use her gifts for the greater good.  This song is available for listening on www.myspace.com/innarae.

Enjoy…

“Unchurched” lyrics

•August 9, 2007 • Leave a Comment

Lead Lyrics:

Opening:  God raises the poor from the dust, lifts the beggar from the ash heap to set them among princes, and make them inherit the throne of glory.  Who will open up her mouth, judge righteously, and seek justice on their behalf?

When I tried to wear an outfit called “church culture”, and it didn’t fit, this is what I really wanted to say….

I feel ya’ll lookin’ down on me – as if you don’t like what you see – just know, I ain’ t gon change a thang – keep doin’ you and I’ll do the same –

You see, what’s between my king and me – it ain’t got nothin’ to do with what you think’ – so go back to the Bible and learn holy – get understanding and don’t judge me –

Cuz, I got joy – and I got peace – and I am content with who I be – yes, I got faith in my God’s game – so please back off of me – Next!

In case you didn’t know – I have read my Bible – you got somethin’ to say? – I suggest you pray –

Let the institution speak for me – Been there, done that – bowed down to religiosity – Been there, done that – in church 3/4 times a week – Been there, done that – started to act like a Pharisee – been there, been there, done that –

Now I got joy and I got peace and I am content with who I be, Yes I got faith in my God’s game so please back off of me. Next!

Not a religious robot – I got feelings and a flesh heart- want me to walk and talk like you – that’s somethin’ I can’t do – until you really get to know me – ain’t nothin’ really you can show me – you don’t know my situation – Answer for clarification…

Were you there when my spirit was first reborn? NO -Did you heal my heart when it was worried and worn? I don’t think so – Who you think I called when my three sons died? Same God you serve – Alcohol and AIDS had me mortified – It was in faith that I buried my tears – It was in faith that I lived out my years – But don’t start me castin’ my pearls before swine; Just look for me on the other side

Now I got joy and I got peace and I am content with who I be, Yes I got faith in my God’s game so please back off of me. Next!

They tried to tell me it was the devil that kept me from fittin’ in- hmmm – they gave the devil waaaay toooo much credit – That was me!

Commentary:

I wrote the song “Unchurched” to give voice to the severely frustrating problem with how members of religious societies choose to treat members presumed to be lacking in material, emotional, and/or spiritual wealth.  It is with much sadness that I watched my grandmother, Irene (aka Rena), struggle to appreciate her lot in life.  Like many who are drawn to Christ, she was poor; she suffered; and was let down by overriding oppressive thought that resonates throughout the church world concerning faith and blessings.  The humble spirit God gave her was enough….she just didn’t know it.  So, let us check ourselves by considering the following scriptures:

“Nay much more those members of the body, which seem more feeble, are necessary: And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundand comeliness.  For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honor to that part which lacked:  That there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care one for another…”           I Corinthians 12:22-25

“If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words…he is proud, knowing nothing, but about questions and strifes of words…perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.  But godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.”  I Timothy 6:3-7

“If ye fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself, ye do well:  But if ye have respect of persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.”  James 2:8-9

I am sure I speak not only for my grandmother when I recognize that a number of humble faith seekers are sick and tired of the underlying spiritual condescension and arrogance!  That said, the voice in this song takes the listener on a journey from the self consciousness often felt by potentially new members to the freedom of one who finds comfort in their own faithwalk.  The full version of this song (as you see it here), can be heard and downloaded on www.femalebeatmakers.ning.comEnjoy…