For years I have worked with education, especially as it deals with using the arts as a medium to teach peace. In theater, and especially with Kids Creative we had a tool we used called "Yes and..." which also came along with "No no's". These two worked along to fully establish the "All Ideas are good" rule the program operated on. Because the programs operate so much on community and collaboration, these 2 rules helped everyone to be open and feel welcomed with the fullness of who they were.
The way it worked would be something like this... Lets say we were making up a story about dinosaurs. One child may raise their hand and say "Yes and... The dinosaurs were really just gummy candies in a gummy world." And another child may then say "Yes and... In this gummy world everything was sweet." Then yet another may say "Yes and... No one wanted Gummy world to get hot because then the gummies would get to sticky and some would melt." Eventually you might then get to one child who said "Yes and... A little girl named 'Meteora' came and ate all the gummy dinosaurs until they became extinct." One child who was very attached to the idea of their gummy dinosaurs may respond in an upset way to this last child "No!!! That's stupid!" which would be something myself or a staff would have to correct and direct, allowing all of the children's ideas to be input, perhaps even adding our own ideas where this took place in an alternate universe that existed only in that little girls mind as she saw the gummy dinosaurs on display at the Museum of Natural History.(Yes... sometimes stories did get that elaborate. lol)
I learned a lot from the culture established here, and saw how effective it was in creating classrooms of joy and unity but I also see its flaws because as it does apply to art and theater, it doesn't 100% always apply in the real world. It is clear that in society, "ALL IDEAS" cannot be welcomed, especially if they were immoral and/or harmful to other persons living in this society. This especially gets sticky when dealing with politics or religion, and public policy.
I felt I wanted to address this topic when I saw the below photo on Instagram....
I do not know who originated this image, and what their exact intentions were; but what it seems to me is to a picture of priests painting the word "Catholicism" in Black and white, while Pope Francis walks up to "add some color". In my opinion I resonate with the picture, because the word is not changing... It is very clearly still "Catholicism" but it implies that joyfully Pope Francis is just bringing a perception of more color and depth than perhaps the "picture has been painted" in the past by many.
When I put out The Dedication Mixtape(available for FREE download), I put out 2 music videos that were a part of a story that was implying the same thing of my work... Not a "No" to anything of the faith, but instead a "Yes and..." As I have kind of coined in many of my recent social media posts and such "Hip Hop raised me, but Jesus Saved me."
The Dedication was a big project for me, as it really was an artistic ritual to step into the new me as a Catholic Hip Hop artist from the secularism and immorality that proceeded before.
The first video was a remake of "Shook Ones" which my intent was to honor classic Hip Hop with really witty, quick, and clever lyricism while at the same time representing the church. The video being in "Black and White" and the whole scary monster thing in the beginning was to represent the negative perceptions that people have from one side of the spectrum "Hip Hop" and from the other side "Catholicism" in itself.
The second was "Boneless Chicken and Pork Fried Rice" which is really a song about conversion and dialogue with the culture. The simple Chinese food combo that the song was titled after and video revolved around was a symbol of "the culture" as a whole especially in inner city's like the Bronx here in America. In the 2 videos, everyone wanted "The culture" and were even "fighting to obtain the culture" while the media speculated about it without taking full sides. My "All American superhero" character was the one fighting to unite the culture and give it back in a way more unique, true, and beautiful than before.
People have always been confused about why the "guy with the Jesus hat was the bad guy" and why he was defeated in the end. In fact he wasn't!... He was just brought to color. There was supposed to be a 3rd part in this video series in which you would see both characters played by me working together(to the last song on the project The Dedication pt.2), but as fate would have it we were never able to shoot it, and wound up shooting a documentary entitled "Animated Destiny"... then before you knew it I was doing Golden. lol
This is a long enough post as is right now, and if I took time to delve deeper there are many more "Symbols" in the videos... Even when you get to my later work. This is not stuff I overlook. I just hope that you take this and reflect on it a bit as we move forward feeling inspired to bring a little "color" and "life" where you go.
- The Symbol
- All is Love
These are my thoughts . . . My Beliefs . . . My Actions . . . Everything I do. This is the documentation of my quest towards creating more unity in the community by authentic #LOVE.
This blog was started at:
and continued at:
But now, as I have matured in my understanding as "The Symbol" and no longer Brandon Feel-X Morel you can continue my journey with me here.
(click above images to get download link)