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We’re excited to share with you the first single from Dr. Guy’s Musiqology’s The Colored Waiting Room project.  The song “Stolen Moments” evokes the ideas of enticement, desire and fulfillment.  It musically frames those private and pleasurable stolen moments that might grow from innocent enough beginnings: a simple phone call, the curious intensity of a passing glance, the something in an acquaintance’s tone of voice that all suggests promise.

Poet and writer Honoree Jeffers has written a meditation on this idea from a woman’s perspective.  Check it out—then stream or download an mp3 to hear and enjoy vocalist Denise King’s sultry and subtle vibe!  To do this you must visit the project’s new home which launches today: www.thecoloredwaitingroom.com.! Stay tuned to find out how you can participate and join us in the Colored Waiting Room with your own contributions.

Mark Anthony Neal

This project has quickly grown in exciting directions as other artists and writers join in with their own thoughts and reflections about the ideas driving The Colored Waiting Room.  Mark Anthony Neal, a leading and innovative scholar (and not to mention social media maverick who hosts the groundbreaking internet TV show Left of Black) in the black cultural studies tradition, has written some powerful liner notes for the CD, which will drop in a couple of weeks.  He recalls a personal experience of traveling from New York to the Deep South with his father. Along the way, he achieves what he does so well—getting us to understand why and how music matters to us.  It’s a moving piece of work that you can preview here.

 We’ve Been Here Before: Notes on The Colored Waiting Room

Mark Anthony Neal

I love trains. In another life, I might have been a Pullman porter or a big band musician, who had the opportunity to travel the country, albeit in segregated coach cars like the one Homer A. Plessy helped transform into the legal precedent that we were forced to live with for more than half-a-century—a move that created the conditions for what was called the Chitlin’ Circuit.

One of my most precious childhood memories is of traveling back down South to my father’s home state of Georgia.  This was 1970. My family rode the old Pennsylvania Central line a year before the government-subsidized Amtrak began service. I was literally a child of the Civil Rights Movement and oblivious about segregation and colored waiting rooms. This was a brave new world for my parents, who both had vivid memories of colored waiting rooms and colored coach cars.  I suspect that part of the interest in the trip for them was to see just how things might have changed.

At four, I was not that much attuned to my father’s gestures.  But looking back some forty years later, I imagine it was quite a different experience for him as he had migrated to New York City only a decade earlier.  Indeed, this was one of my father’s first trips back to Georgia, and save for his father’s death two years later, it would be his last time to visit the South.  I recall this time so many decades later because it was the only trip I ever took with my father to the South; I’ve spent much of the past few years since his death wishing I had had that opportunity to return with him to the land that birthed him.

As Guthrie Ramsey well understands, those colored waiting rooms, that necessary evil of interstate travel for far too many Black folks in the years before desegregation, were a source of shame, frustration, pain and trauma.  Yet as a broad metaphor for the private life of Blackness—a Blackness underneath the veil, underground and behind closed doors—it still gives us the tools and the resources to dream a world that some (including ourselves) once tried to deny us and others.  Some still try to get us to forget.  Community. Family.

Pullman Porters

And it is in this will to forget that The Colored Waiting Room Presents Dr. Guy’s Musiqology stands its ground: in this remembering of remembering, this remembering of the forgetting, this remembering of the dreams, too countless to really remember, but that gets evoked with every bent note, every soulful gesture, every moan half-past the minute of midnight.  A seamless travel, buttressed by clickety-clack of those trains, through a history of our emotions, where terms like Soul, Jazz, Classical, Neo-Soul, Hip-Hop and R&B, are really just names on a page, woefully inadequate to describe the that that we feel.

This breathlessness of Blackness where the stank air of the status quo and the suffocating stench of “all deliberate speed” gets transformed to give us the air of life, liberty and the pursuit of justice.  This is what freedom sounds like.  This is what freedom smells like.  This is what freedom feels like.  A freedom that Little London, Guthrie’s granddaughter, intuitively understands is hers, as it was her mother’s and her grandfather’s. Yes, we’ve been here before.

For other liner notes and information on the project click here. Stay tuned for news about more collaborations and information about the project!