Singing Your Song: An African Custom

When a woman in a certain African tribe knows she is pregnant, she goes out into the wilderness with a few friends and together they sing, chant, and meditate until they hear the song of the child. They recognize that every soul has its own vibration that expresses its unique flavor and purpose. When the women attune to the song, they sing it out loud. Then they return to the tribe and teach it to everyone else. When the child is born, the community gathers and sings the child’s song to them. Later, when the child enters education, the village gathers and chants the child’s song. When the child passes through the initiation to adulthood, the people again come together and sing. At the time of marriage, the person again hears their song. Finally, when the soul is about to pass from this world, the family and friends gather at the person’s bed, just as they did at their birth, and they sing their song as a part of “being with” them at the very end. In this African tribe, there is one other occasion when it is customary for the villagers to gather and sing a person’s song to them. If at any time during their life, the person commits a crime or aberrant social act, the individual is called to the center of the village and the people in the community form a circle around yon. Then they sing their song.
The tribe recognizes that the best correction for problematic behavior is often not punishment; it is love and the remembrance of identity. When you recognize your own song being sung by your own community, whatever threat to your self that may have motivated angry, destructive, or chaotic action is diminished; your identity is reaffirmed and your self regains its cohesiveness; you remember who you are and why you do not wish to cause hurt to members of your own tribe. A friend is someone who knows your song and sings it to you when you have forgotten it. Those who love you are not fooled by mistakes you have made or dark images you hold about yourself. They remember your beauty when you feel ugly; your wholeness when you are broken; your innocence when you feel guilty; and your purpose when you are confused. When you feel good, what you are doing matches your song; when you feel awful, it doesn’t. You may not have grown up in an African tribe that sings your song to you at crucial life transitions. Yet, even the strongest self requires recognition and validation to remain strong and cohesive. One of the reasons for knowing your song, is to have a community that can help you remember when you are in tune with yourself and when you are not. In the end, you need to recognize your song and sing it as only you can. You may feel a little “warbly” at times, but so do we all. Remember that no human is an island: at times, everyone needs help to remember their song and to sing it well. Just keep singing until we catch the tune and can sing along. Don’t worry! With a little help, you’ll find your way home.


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Ok, the last thing I want is for you the reader to think I’m on some preachin’ shit, and trynna be deep, and sending a message from the words written above. Hell naw, that’s the last thing I wan’t y’all to think. Instead, I’m just gonna drop some real ignorant shit like the stuff in the video below. Don’t get it twisted, there’s no message in the video, nor is there a connection between it and the words expressed above.

Roll clip…