As I listened to Solange Knowles latest music project, “When I Get Home”, I couldn’t help but reflect on my own journeys back “home”. I believe on some level that was her intent when creating this piece. Yes, not only to share her experiences and talent but to provoke the listener and viewer (in the case of the movie that accompanies this project) to reflect on their own “home” experiences. The music is stunningly genius as she shares with us her memories, perspective on Houston, Texas.
I thought back to when I was in my early 30’s in an effort to heal from an emotional and physical trauma, I left the suburbs and moved back to the city of Chicago (a place that I call home) with my young son in tow. We visited the Bronzeville neighborhood where I grew up. The rich vibe was still there. The heartbeat of African-American life and culture (the best and the worst) was ever present. I took him to all the places that I liked going to as a child and young adult—the lakefront (particularly The Point); DuSable Museum and Washington Park; downtown Chicago and Grant Park; Navy Pier; Cite’; Rock and Roll McDonald’s; Gibson’s; Edna’s Soul Food; Gladys Soul Food Luncheonette (right before the doors closed for good); Johnson’s Publishing Company; the (new) Regal Theater; Comiskey/White Sox Park; the beautiful churches and community organizations; and so many other locations. My father was there as he had been for more than 30 years (currently more than 50 years). Back to familiar places and faces. Other family and friends were still there. Home.
I get the same “home” feeling every time I go back to Mississippi (my birth place). My parents migrated to Chicago like many other black families in the south did in pursuit of a better life. Nevertheless, Mississippi is still “home”. I enjoy seeing the familiar places, like “uptown”; the family churches; the Piggly Wiggly. Oh, there’s nothing like that black southern culture/hospitality. It’s heartwarming to reflect on times past and to ooh and ahh over the new developments and changes that have taken place. Familiar faces were there—family, friends, friends of family. Home.
In my 40s, I found myself back “home” again. This time back to Joliet, Illinois where I also grew up (mainly during my teen years). Back to familiar places—Eastside, Westside, downtown; the historic churches; Louis Joliet Mall; Rialto Theatre; Route 66; I-80; etc. The familiar faces. My mother was there as she had been for the last 47 years of her life. Family and friends are still there. Home.
Solange reminds us that “home” is a physical place but it can also be a heartfelt place as a result of our experiences, memories, emotions, even spirituality. I feel “home” in just about any church building; in the studio; anywhere with my loved ones; with myself; on the mic; with that special one; during devotional and prayer time; and oddly, sometimes with someone I barely know—that kindred spirit. Home is Love. Wherever God is, it’s safe to say you’re Home. Where’s your home? What makes you feel home? Comment here.
Remember, no show this weekend. The next show will be posted Saturday, August 24th, 2019 on https://www.youtube.com/MarilynsCafeSociety. Also “like”, subscribe, share, and/or follow my social media platforms at marilynscafesoc on Twitter; Marilyn’s Café Society on Facebook, YouTube; and marilynscafesociety.com. Peace.
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