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UTCT Radio: Songs For March

UTCT Radio:
Songs For March

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“Final Form” by Sampa the Great

Chéri’s Take:

This MC champions her Yielle as a strong successful disrupter, transcending the standard and dispelling shame. She’s talking about elevating to her final form alongside Africa, while she proudly sports her features – her complexion and afro. There’s a confidence and a brightness to the record that makes you want to hold your head up high and puff out your chest. While it’s an ode to the greatness of blackness, the energy resonates with anyone who opens their mind and soul to the flow of good Hip-Hop and the message it’s telling. 

Favorite Lyric:

Nah knock the walls off

Fuck the whole key we gonna hinge the whole door off

I’m still A.D never forget it

It’s life after death, roll the credits

UTCT Reminder:

You are greatness. Your greatness is literally inside of you. In certain states of being, it might not be so clear or accessible. Isn’t that true with anything? The most perfect pizza can be fully observed when it’s fresh out of the oven, right? But it’s in a different state after 6 hours sitting outside, put in the fridge for the next 3 days, thrown in the microwave, and left in there for 4 more hours. I’m disappointed just typing that. Unlike pizza, human greatness evolves and shifts into many different forms throughout life. Allow room for your greatness by being aware of what state you’re in, and giving grace while overcoming the walls of shame to to see what form of greatness you access today. 

“Unlearn (with Gracie Abrams)” by benny blanco

Chéri’s Take:

This vulnerable admission of toxic behaviors within a relationship is heartwarming. The music is gentle, and the vocals sound like a letter being read, and you can tell it wasn’t so easy to write. It sounds like a therapy session in a song, and the lyrics manage to stay simple while painting a raw picture of the effort being put in to “unlearn”. It beautifully tells the story of someone on a path of healing and growth, learning through the desire to connect with someone important. Sometimes, it’s encountering someone who inspires you to stop being destructive to discover yourself and love, and that’s OK. 

Favorite Lyric:

 ‘Cause if I’m gonna learn how to love you

I need to unlearn how to love too

Need to unlearn how to run when it feels right

Oh my God, I’m tryin’

If I’m gonna learn how to choose you

I need to unlearn what I’m used to

UTCT Reminder:

The truth about genuine growth, especially in one’s capacity for connection and love, is honest self-reflection. One can not achieve real intimacy without awareness of self and awareness of the other person, amongst many other things. Unlearning what you’re used to can be one of the hardest challenges for a person to face. We are creatures of survival and habit, but we’re also capable of adaptation and transformation. You are not defined by your past. 

“Gone Girl” by SZA

Chéri’s Take:

This song beautifully captures the struggle, acceptance, and embrace of facing change within oneself. The intimacy of growth is so fragile, it’s like your inner mind trying to stay centered in a meditation with all the thoughts and stimulation trying to pull it left and right, back and forth. When you’re working on yourself, you come to a point where it’s not about holding onto a vision of who you thought you were, nor is it about focusing solely on who you want to be. While we can and should honor where we’ve been for what that history is, we have to embrace where are no matter the discomfort that it comes with. You can’t erase those mistakes, and trying to adjust to please those who scrutinize you will only take you farther from yourself. 

Favorite Lyric:

Trying to find deeper meaning in nonsense

Trying to grow without hating the process

Tired of anticipating the worst, yet

Still anticipating the worst (worst)

I need more space and security (security)

I need less voices, just you and me (just you and me)

UTCT Reminder:

Your Yielle might sound like venting, self-deprecating, and frustrated. At some point, I, Chéri Yielle, focused solely on positivity. The truth is, the deeper I got into my process, there were many moments of pain and fear. There are moments where I’ve hated my journey – because I was hurt, because I hurt people, and because I didn’t have the space I needed, but had too many voices in my head. It’s overwhelming.  If you can relate to that, I can tell you that it doesn’t stay that way, but growth is a continuous process, and you aren’t alone. 

“Survivors Guilt” by Joey Badass

Chéri’s Take:

Joey Badass takes us through instances of mental health and grief in this piece of Hip-Hop storytelling art. The context is a narrative that black men know too well, having to bury friends and peers, struggling to grow with your circle because those around you aren’t ready or able to go in the direction you’re choosing to. When we lose people, there is a transition for the person who passes and a transition for those who love them. When it’s too late, we have to deal with whatever was said and left unsaid in another way, and that journey can be drenched with guilt and remorse. This song captures that element of loss with colorful narration and a calm flow.

Favorite Lyric:

You see, the truth about Steelo, is he lacked the mental health (he did)

But try to tell that to people way back in 2012 (I can’t)

But now that it’s a mainstream topic

I’m guessin’ I can finally open up and talk about it

So, yeah, let’s talk about it (yeah)

Come into my mind, I show you where the darkest cloud is

You ready? I doubt it, but let’s go

You see, Steelo was my bigger bro (uh-huh)

At a point in time, spiritually, we was in the same boat, but

I wanted to take it slow

He wanted to take it as fast and deep as he could go, pause

Yeah, we had some problems, but what brothers don’t? Sure

Then I caught a little wave and headed back to shore

And that’s when he started drowning

And he had no one around him

So, partially, I feel it’s my fault (hey)

And that right there is my internal war (uh-huh)

The reason why I got to feel these external flaws

The reason why I can’t heal this eternal loss

The reason why I gotta feel this survivor’s remorse (shh)

UTCT Reminder:

Talk about what you need to talk about. You might have to find the right room, the right people, or the right person, but please don’t bottle it up inside. Maybe it won’t seriously hurt you (or maybe it already is), but I’d bet that there’s a part of you yearning to grow and heal but is being stifled by the suppression of those feelings. We know that grief can hurt, but we have to let that out. We have to digest it so we can exhale. We have to let the feelings in so we can let them out too.  

“Something Within Me” by Take 6 

Chéri’s Take: 

This gem from the 1990 takes you on a vocal roller coaster of harmony, melody, and hope. If you’re Christian, it’s a timeless elation of the human instrument to recharge your faith for the day. If you’re not, it’s a colorfully elegant reminder that the essence of the energy within you is strong, and to trust it. It’s a musical blend of blackness, African American, African, and Caribbean influences can all be heard like a quilt of nuances found in the music of black history. \

Favorite Lyric:

“Something with me, Lord

That holdeth the reins

Something within me

That banishes pain

Something within me, Lord

That I can’t explain

All I know I thank my God

I’ve got something within me”

UTCT Reminder:

DON’T GIVE UP. Something within you is meant to shine and wants to sustain you. No amount of pain or shame is meant to stand in your way. Tune into that and trust it. We often get so focused on the things that we are enduring, that we forget to direct our attention to the parts of us doing the enduring. Whether your spiritual lifestyle has you connecting straight to your source, or if your journey may be more agnostic, abstract, or otherwise, you are not your thoughts. You’re the living being that is experiencing what we call “thinking”. Remember to recharge that thing, the thing that carries all those thoughts, feelings, and experiences with love, space, safety, and whatever you sense is that “something within”. 

“Good Bye” by Victoria Monet 

Chéri’s Take: 

This nostalgia is the kind that might leave a little smile on your face while a tear runs down your cheek. It touches on the intersection of grief, hope, and gratitude during a transition in life that involves leaving someone you love. While it gently addresses the fact that the separation is challenging, it creates a bright enough environment to dance, sway, and bob your head. There’s a tenderness to making the parting ways a sort of celebration of all the good that was shared while knowing that it’s better to separate. 

Favorite Lyric:

Don’t think I can get used to these changes, changes

I guess we should face it

We’re better off wherever we are, but baby

I really love the way you made me feel inside

Really’d love to feel that way just one more night

I promise I’ll leave, I promise I’ll go

But if we’re gonna say goodbye

UTCT Reminder:

If only all “goodbyes” could be so honest, so open, so mutually commemorated. Changes in life can be so tough and gritty to bear. Even if it’s not a relationship, we might all be familiar with those moments of “How will I get through this”, “What’s next and am I ready for it”, and all the other questions that fill our minds. Is there a way to use vulnerability to create our own closure in those moments? Is there a way to admit everything there is to ourselves, and appreciate all there is to appreciate? Would it look like asking that one coworker you thought was cool for a hug, even when you never hugged before? I don’t know, but I do feel like the fear of being embarrassed or seeming “silly” isn’t a good enough reason to get in the way of our peace. Free your Yielle, and go through your changes the way you need to.

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