Yesterday was the funeral service of the Queen of Soul, Ms. Aretha Franklin.
After a long day of wonderful remarks and speeches, Rev. Jasper Williams gave the eulogy.
It begs the question, what is soul and exactly what does it mean to be the queen of that ‘soul’?
W.E.B. DuBois wrote extensively about ‘souls’. If you haven’t, read his manuscript entitled the “Souls of Black Folk”. Prioritize reading and reflecting on at least 1 chapter daily. You’ll be done within a week or so.
Dubois wrote extensively about what is this ‘soul’.
How then and why was Aretha its queen?
Rev. Jasper aimed to suggest that she promulgated ideals and made strategic cash investments to advance the cause of the souls of people who had been downtrodden within this country.
She worked for a people who at one point through American history was a “lower” race.
…who later were to be called “minorities”.
Even viewing quickly her song titles…
She more often sung about the hardships and triumphs of love, not necessarily on topics of economic disparities.
But the celebrated beauty of Aretha’s life, as it was told to us at her funeral, was that she used her cash and capital to make donations to people who fought for equal rights.
She attained a solid financial footing first – even if that meant doing work that has little to nothing to do with social justice issues and economic development. THEN and only thereafter, she began in her own way to support the people through life who she could see were using their life to speak out for the issues and advancement of disadvantaged people.
The lessons are clear — attain a minimum wage full time job using any skills you may have ASAP and without delay. Work, save, and invest 100%, and wisely.
Thereafter, can always engage in social justice and workforce diversity initiatives.
Rev. Jasper spoke then, to what to do with the Negro, today…. 150 years after slavery; 50 years after the civil rights movement; 2 years after the first black family lived in the White House.
He spoke to several important points, not in this order, and this is not a full list of his recommendations…
1- fathers must be in the home of his children, and with the child’s mother his wife.
2 – while white terrorism against black American people has certainly been devastating, black-on-black crime kills many many magnitudes more black Americans. This alone has nothing to do with white terrorism nor police brutality.
3 – there’s great economic potential that’s largely not being leveraged. He especially pointed to Grocery stores, banks, hotels…
DuBois spoke to similar concerns as well. He spoke to the “negro problem” at least 14 times throughout the book. He especially highlighted the affection ‘sociologists’ had in the late 1800’s with chronicling the disparity of the Negro.
“But alas! while sociologists gleefully count his bastards and his prostitutes, the very soul of the toiling, sweating black man is darkened by the shadow of a vast despair.”, wrote DuBois.
This ‘glee’ for sociological data analysis often comes without any strong recommendations to eliminate the disparities – and it continues through today.
Isn’t there a viable solution to the ills and pains that souls of specific racial groups of American people experience at higher relative odds? Or is there no viable solution for sociologists and economists to report and recommend?
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