Grace is the confidence born of humility. Your gifts don’t make you special, but they do make you responsible for what you’ve been given. Certain gifts are more readily commodified than others, no doubt. This is the crux of it, this idea that every man is an island, whose rise or fall is based solely on the choices he makes. Yet it belies the initial “gift” I was given: being born white. Having grown up during the 1960s and 70s in Jackson, Mississippi, I can assure you my advantage was noticeable.
I don’t apologize for the color of my skin any more than I apologize for being a heterosexual male and, as far as I know, no one’s ever asked me to. This isn’t the point, although there are forces deployed throughout the infotainment universe demanding that it is. They would also have us believe society and culture exist within a zero-sum game. The idea strikes me as contrary to enlightened self-interest. Why wouldn’t I want everyone focused on taking responsibility for the gifts with which they were born — without regard to the color of their skin? If we’re to ever truly come to terms with the shared burden of the welfare state, we must first address the barriers preventing folks from participating fully in economic life.
Without diving into the nuances of the responsibilities our “individual liberty” demands of us, suffice it to say I’m a pragmatist in this regard. I stop at stop signs because it’s in my self-interest to do so. Feel free to extrapolate from that.
February is Black History Month. I was reminded of this by Joshua Black, the comedian/social media influencer/Metro firefighter/cover feature of our September-October issue. He also suggested Adia Victoria as a possible cover feature. And here we are. It turned into a two-for-one, since during the photoshoot for the cover, Adia’s mom, Jackie Paul Sims, stopped by. We struck up a conversation as I walked Sims to her car and, lo and behold, she’s a community activist!
I asked her on the spot if she’d be so kind as to allow us to feature her in this issue. “Sure,” she said. Mother and daughter both possess great gifts, and we are blessed because they take responsibility for their gifts. They overcome and shine on.
Hags chimes in with a recognition of what African American music has meant to his life in “Astute Observations.” Without giving too much away, let’s just say it’s been foundational. Womack, on the other hand, grouses about winter in “East of Normal,” but with lines like, “No one over the age of 30 ever gets laid on Monday,” we’ll give him a pass.
Plus we have profiles of this year’s East Nashvillian’s of the Year, awards presented by the Historic East Nashville Merchant’s Association since 2008. You must read on to find out who they are! And don’t miss out on our “Artist in Profile” of muralist Andee Rudloff. She has a beautiful approach to inclusiveness when it comes to creating art.
Other goodies await. We’re proud of this one, and we hope you like it, too. I’ll be seeing you at the 4-way stop.