Well friends, 2011 is drawing near a close. This has been a really exciting year. I’ve been blessed to have reached some personal milestones, travel to different parts of the world, and experience the daily privilege of discovering the world through the eyes of the most beautiful person I know, my son Riley.
After many, many months of pondering and planning, I finally reached another goal, launching Alternate Takes this past spring. However, what has been even more amazing than getting my blog off of the ground, is the tremendous support and feedback I have received from my friends and readership. When I started Alternate Takes, in my heart I knew there was a place for it…a need for it, too. As I express quite often, no one group of people can dominate any subject without there being discrepancies, biases and even fabrication. Still, I didn’t know how well the messages I wanted to convey would be received. I’m not the first person to tackle these subjects within music and art, but matters of race, gender, and age are sometimes tough to navigate, even when your audience is the open-minded artistic type [wink, wink]. Somehow, going against the grain within these touchy matters can cause those who are not willing to hear you honestly, to label you as all the things you are not. Happily, I can say that not only has Alternate Takes been received with an overwhelming amount of support from those representing a spectrum of races, genders and ages, but as a result, many meaningful dialogues have been started, and in the process, I’ve met so many wonderful people who share a passion for this music, just like I do.
It is so important that I say this. As you know, in creating this blog, a huge stereotype I hoped to obliterate in the process was that Black women in my generation don’t love, know about, or support jazz. Since the time jazz music has been documented, Black women have been calculatingly omitted from the social aspect of its progression. The “common” Black woman is still forgotten, or worse yet, dismissed. This is an age old tradition which has successfully transferred a sort of unspoken public humiliation Black women face within the jazz scene which has written them off as simply disconnected and non-supportive. Hurtful as this is, the one thing I am most proud, is having had the opportunity to prove this to be a myth. With the launch of Alternate Takes, some of my greatest support has come from Black women. So many of you have diligently advocated for the relevancy and importance of an “Alternate Takes” type of platform. In a society which sends a relentless message that Black women, especially of this generation, are arch enemies, incapable of sisterhood, and culturally limited, you have gloriously exemplified otherwise; that we rally around each other and support one another’s positive efforts. Thank you for letting me know that you have my back, and for proving a bigger point, which is that Black Women Love Jazz!
To everyone who was gracious enough with their time to grant me an interview, thank you so much. The dynamic range of your talents and ideas are what has made this blog an interesting place for my readers to visit. I also thank you for your professional advice.
To my Nextbop family, thank you for inviting me on board as a contributor. It is humbling and invigorating to work with like-minded young people who love this music, dedicate and sacrifice their time, supporting modern jazz.
To every writer who has welcomed me into the journalistic jazz community — a HUGE thanks. Nate Chinen, thank you for speaking up about women writing about jazz, and for inviting me to participate in The Gig’s year-end roundup among such an esteemed panel of jazz writers and thinkers. John Murph, Ted Panken, Josh Jackson, Mike West, Howard Mandel, Matt Merewitz… thank you for the encouragement, advice, and kind words. NPR Jazz and Patrick Jarenwattananon, thank you for including Alternate Takes in your “Jazz Around the Internet” weekly roundups. Thanks to WordPress for being a great CMS and tool to facilitate the blog, and for thinking enough of my work to Freshly Press a couple features!
To all of the Alternate Takes readers, followers and subscribers, thank you for giving me a chance. From aficionados to the newly indoctrinated, you have received my voice with more than a fair ear. I’m so overwhelmed from all of the love, enthusiasm, and gratitude. I’m sending all of those sentiments right back to you.
2012 is going to be such an exciting year for music! I hope you will take the ride with me again as I bring you more interviews, editorial, and special series. When reading your emails and comments, there is one common thread that is most inspiring, and that is the expression of happiness that you have found a place which you believe is speaking to you, and the desire for me to “keep it going”. That is a promise I can keep! I will keep going.
In short (and long), thanks for embracing an alternate take.
Coming up, look for features from artists who are releasing some of the most anticipated albums of 2012, and a special Black History series in February!
Have a blessed New Year!
All the best,