spotlight: ambrose akinmusire

October 3, 2011 | filed under listen, what my world sounds like | Leave a Comment 

Ambrose Akimusire‘s Blue Note debut album, When The Heart Emerges Glistening, is a meditation. It’s pensive. It’s honest. It’s heartwrenching. It brings you into the present. It’s gorgeous. He’s a super promising young musician whose work excites me.

“Confessions to My Unborn Daughter” is my absolute favorite song right now. It makes me want to start a journal to eventually give to my (currently nonexistent) children after I use it as my own parenting guide. Listening to it may not necessarily make you feel like doing the same, but it will make you feel, if not feel good. Enjoy.

Read more



Don’t be nice; be kind

July 30, 2009 | filed under consider this, rewritable words | 3 Comments 

By Akaya Windwood

I recently facilitated a community meeting organized to address a spate of violence in a neighborhood here in Oakland, California. Roughly 200 people showed up—young people from the streets, grandmothers, school teachers, community activists, neighbors, and politicians. The gathering crossed lines of class, ethnicity, religion, gender, and race. There were many emotions in the room: grief, fear, hope, hopelessness, skepticism, sadness, and even some optimism.

As we began the meeting, I asked people to agree to be kind rather than nice. Truthfully, I was a bit hesitant to ask for this agreement, thinking that people would interpret it to mean that they couldn’t say what they needed to say or express “negative” feelings such as anger, outrage, or distress. I took the risk of asking for the agreement anyway, and was met with a big “yes” from the group. Everyone was tired of the old pattern of blaming and shaming, of finding fault with one another, and we needed a way to say difficult things without feeling hobbled by politeness.

Read more