A playlist working to build a more beautiful community for our children.
I don’t teach Kindergarten anymore but this album really makes me wish I was holding circle with a bunch of 5 year olds! I am over-the-moon delighted with the new album from The Alphabet Rockers. It is the medicine our society needs: doses of love, actions towards liberation and the encouragement of staying responsible for our own lives and for each other.
The album begins with an acknolwedgement of the indigenous land and peoples who have gone through genocide and centuries of systemic violence. The opening reminds us of their names, their languages, and the fact that we must reckon with our shared past. It’s a beautiful gesture of refusing to forget and centering the narratives of indigenous communities so that our children don’t grow up with misconceptions.
The album then jumps into a song entitled “We Royal.” I must admit, I cringed before hearing the lyrics assuming this would be an encouragement to claim oneself as royalty. A sentiment that I can’t get behind in general. As I listened, I was thrilled to piece together that this song was in celebration of Miss Major, a Bay Area community leader for transgender rights. This song flips the narrative of being royal as something that gives power over others to one that insists that you understand your responsibility to your community, the power of a liberated self, and the uplift of gender spectrum, identity, and trans rights. The song asks you to be a love seeker, asking that you understand that you are a game changer. It’s a powerful reframe of the mainstream pop cultural association with the term and mindset of “royalty” and I love it!
With seventeen tracks, this album is a packed with cotemporary content that our children are grappling to understand. In “Until You’re Free” you will find yourself swaying with your littles to stances like “I’m not free, until your free, and then we’ll be, louder and stronger together. Times up dream. Times up speak. Times up be. Times up believe…it’s impossible to break us down!” Somehow I’m swepted back to my favorite childhood album: “Free to be You and Me!” Kaitlin McGaw and Tommy Shepard have surely found the words and melodies that will stick to your soul. These are words that I want young people to hear and think about. And that is exactly what the rest of the album does. It offers concepts that will stretch your child’s critical thought process (and possibly yours!) as they make meaning of the world around them.
Find yourself breathing a sigh of relief as you sing along to “I am Enough.” This feels like the chant for our times. With the “hustle game” an active way of life for many families, this song reminds parents and children that we can slow down, and remember that we are amazing and powerful just the way we are. It’s a reminder to live authentically. And a reminder that we’re all pursuing what we can to shape society to be better and stronger together, because we got the love!
When you get to Black Gxrl Magic, you’re probably going to need to move the living room table out the way so a dance off can begin. With lyrics, “one for the magic, two for the flow, wa la!…there we go, there we grow, there we glow!” You can’t help but smile and feel proud to be a Black girl. Thanks to collaborators Honey Mahogany, Maya Fleming, Ryan Nicole, and Samara Atkins this is truly a Black Gxrl shining moment.
There is so much right about this latest Alphabet Rockers album that I could write a ten page essay. Instead, I’ll leave you with the invitation to listen thoroughly and sing along with your little ones. If you’re an educator this album is an incredible tool for engaging class discussions and circle processes to bring understanding and knowledge on gender identity and expression, how be responsible towards and show up for your community, how to live authentically, value the contributions of others, and invite in the wisdom on how to build towards a liberated and love based society.
#AlphabetRockers #thelove #genderidentity #liberation #education #childrensmusic #hiphoped