My Musical Journey (IME) By: Kalia Simms

Introduction: Hello all, my name is Kalia Simms and I am a second year transfer student originally from Brooklyn, New York.  Prior to coming here I attended Purchase College in Westchester County. At Purchase College I was a double major in Arts Management and Anthropology. I am now a Sociology and Anthropology major. I am new here but I look forward to uncovering all that Spelman College has to offer me, and me to it.

Mindset: Part of the reason I made the decision to come here, when I only had a year and a half left of my undergraduate studies, was because I simply was not getting enough. My experience at a PWI was one that slowly picked away at who identified as and what I identified with. It included doing a lot of my own research and work (on top of the required course material) in order to insure I was nurturing the black women I aspire to become. As a Sociology and Anthropology major I have a particular understanding of culture as it relates to African American people. So far in my academic career I have made it my business to keep the conversation about post-colonialism alive.  That is why I am excited to be taking a course that does just that. Although this course is about African American music, I believe it is about much more. I believe music is just one outlet we as African people used to survive the reign of colonialism, imperialism, and further more, oppression.

Experience: My experience with music starts with my parents who share my passion for all things black. Growing up, my twin sister and I were immersed in the works of people like Nina Simone, Sade, Chaka Khan, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, The Isley Brothers, Marvin Gaye, Genuine, MusiqSoulChild, Luther Vandross, and many more. Not only did my parents expose my sister and I to their music but they exposed us to their life stories which often times included pain, and struggle like the documentary my parents encouraged my sister and I to watch our freshman year of college called What Happened, Miss Simone that changed my life . Like many African American children my sister and I started singing in the church choir. After doing that for some time my mother forced us to audition for a chorus called The Young People’s Chorus of New York City. Through this amazing and life changing organization my sister and I were able to travel to 9 different countries around the world. By traveling and using music as the only language we all share, I was able to truly understand my blackness and all of its implications. It was only through music that I was able to communicate and connect with various communities around the world. Music has taught me what it means to be a creative, and what it means to turn pain into art.

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