The Power of Sound

After reading through the syllabus and looking at the epigraphs provided. Toni Morrison’s epigraph “We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives” really stood out for me. Right away by reading this I thought about sounds and more specifically our voices. When I think of someone using their voice in a way that measures our lives, I think of people using their voices to make an impact on the world and using it in order to help other people. When I read this epigraph, I see it as there is more to life than just living. You will be known when you die and the way you want to be known is a powerful idea. Morrison is saying that our legacy lives on when we do something greater without lives by use your voice and make an impact.
After watching the film “The Songs are Free” in class I saw a huge impact that the speaker Bernice Johnson Reagon made with her voice. She used her language to portray a message to the world and as a way to leave an impact on everyone around her. Bernice Johnson Reagon is a social activist. In the film she talks about sound and how important music is in the African American culture. Reagon is one of the founders of the Acapella group Sweet Honey in the Rock. They use their music in ways that portray a message of freedom to as many people as they can. Through Reagon using her voice to share her ideas she found other ways to get her message out in the world. Music is the way she shares her voice. At every speech she gives she says that she always starts off by singing a song. She does this because she believes that behind every song there is a story. She furthermore shows this when she says she sings her songs for a world view and not for a musical purpose.
Reagon talks a lot about bringing the past to life and expressing it through music. She says that African American culture is so powerful because they had control over their culture instead of land. That culture became so powerful through the community coming together. She explains it as the music is what forms the community and through the music, they extended their territory that they could affect. Their sound traveled to so many new ears and were able to express the cultural nationalism that is being portrayed. Reagon is known as a freedom singer and for many people her sound and her messages are very inspirational. Through this she is seen as a role model, or as some might say a “fierce warrior”.
Another major aspect in the film is when Reagon talked about her role model Fannie Lou Hamer. Fannie Lou Hamer is another Activist. Through her journey Reagon looked up to her because of her sound and her message she was portraying to the world. Hamer tried to register to vote and by doing this she got fired from her job at 45 years old, so she went out to the streets and spoke about her passion and soon became known as an American political leader. Hamer is a Woman’s Rights Activist who also was and still is an inspiration to many people. Just by using her sound and her language she was able to extend her message and through this she became a role model for many people.
Sound is still a very important topic where we can all express our ideas and messages. I believe we have seen these ideas multiple times in Dr. McCoy’s class just in the past two weeks. When I read this epigraph, I thought it went along perfectly with our class about how all of our voices matter. In class we want to talk to everyone about our ideas of what the class is about base off the readings and the topics given to us. Dr. McCoy also talks about how she wants to leave a large portion of class time for us to talk to each other about what we see and what we think about the topics we are discussing. By doing this she gives us time to explore our ideas and use all of our individual sounds to convey our own messages. Our voices are important in class and when we share our ideas we listen and share with open minds. Just by using our sound, our voices can go a long way and we could inspire other people too.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.