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War x Love

We launched Black History Month with a bang--Jessica Lá Rel andTyler “EAGLEBABEL” Brooks engaging us in music and conversation about personal and political trauma, the soul, and the spirit. The two Stanford alums, from Chicago by way of the Bay Area, are both former students of mine. Jessica Lá Rel is a recording artist and Eaglebabel is a recording artist and producer. Building from her debut album, War Love, they wove together story, creative practice, and song, dialoguing with and involving all of the participants.

We gathered in a small group that included Kamilah Majied, visiting us from Howard University. This was part of a series of intimate gatherings and workshops with artists exploring their journeys of healing and empowerment in individual and community contexts. These Healing HeArts Circles are times to share vulnerable and authentic space with artists whose work expresses our human diversity and oneness as well as the intimate connection of spirituality and social justice.

Near the beginning, I heard the lyrics, “The world keeps on turning, the world keeps on burning,” and this went deep inside and stayed with me, symbolizing “war love.” Our world just keeps on turning, and we can’t control it, just have to hang on the best we can or decide to let go. And it keeps on burning-- destruction, violence, loss. But fire and burning can also be a way of cleansing and purification.

I was born in Tokyo, a city that had been fire bombed, devastated and reduced to ashes. Two people from countries that had been on opposite sides of a war, killing each other, dropped their swords and made peace and in love made children. Products of war love, my grandmother called us, Flowers amidst the Ashes.

The music shared by Jessica and Eaglebabel brought me full circle from despair to hope. The artists took us to deep places in our souls, gently touching human pain, horror, terror and yet seeing beauty, truth, kindness and emerging with songs in our heart, celebrating the human spirit.

I felt the words of the Buddha, “The world of suffering is immeasurable, the ocean of suffering is vast, but the moment one turns toward the shore of enlightenment, it is revealed.”

War Love Lyrics

The tongue of 13th slaves This hair with kink no wave This skin beyond your shade This body that God gave This nose as wide and round Up from the underground Just tell em that you found The product of a war love Forged in the fiery flames My father has no name Born on the battlefield Learned love my sword and shield Come try to snuff my light You claim you got the right But you gon learn tonight I'm but the product of a war love Cross the 'lantic Bodies trafficked 'cestral dances on the ocean floor Rise with the tide Village kids fly And as you rise think once more I'm but the product of a I'm but the product of a I'm but the product of a War love

To listen to War Love:

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