I’d like to forget the above clip. I think we all would who witnessed it first hand would like to forget it. I know what Bro. Lionel was going for but after a while it went beyond the cringe. Different time, or same time? In the spirit of Richie that mid-1980’s time was an outrageous of the “Ye Let’s Have Un Festive Time” variety. Now? Everyone’s outraged and they don’t know why, you should’ve seen the media as the funked the fly or something to that effect.

But seriously… there are myriads of reasons to be outraged but what is it exactly good for? I won’t go as far as using the sentiment of the chorus below:

I’m more concerned with the fact that our lives have become Lionel Richie’s proclamation of “Let’s get outrageous” to the enth degree. Oh sure it was all fun and games when folks were making songs imploring us to join in the fun – Shouts to the Land of Funk:

But now? Today? Have you seen the latest is not just a question of what’s happening or what’s going on, you have to have a qualifying amount of outrage to accompany any “news”. Again, this is not a call for folks to step up or heaven forbid “man up” or “pull up straps on boots” (or whatever folks say) as a means of not being outraged. What I’m highlighting here is how just about every headline from a media outlet (and now the tentacles extend to the populus) is designed to foster outrage and that outrage is carefully presented to the audience to elicit a response based upon where you fall on the outrage scale. Why and how has this occurred? I say it’s the nature of the beast called Social Media that has to be constantly fed.

No knock here on Social Media, the tool is innocent and if it were not for Social Media I would not be writing this here post on this here site however… let’s look at the fuel. What drives Social Media is the sharing of content, virility if you will and what we are dealing with right now is we haven’t reached the maturity needed in this space to realize that all a lot of folks have been racing to share is candy, which I do love BTW but candy has no nutrients:

But I digress… let’s look at this way: Certainly there are many things that each and every one of us humanoids can potentially be outraged about. As the kids say “There’s levels to this”. I’ll use myself as an example. Let’s see: I’m an Indianapolis Colts fan. Somewhere or somehow I lost my wavy 80’s early 90’s hair. Still waiting on Season 3 of Black Jesus. These are all things to be outraged about and of course you know I’m being snarky but on a serious note I do realize we all have buttons. Every single last one of us has buttons and you know who’s good at pushing buttons? All of us.

Now if you’ve read this far you may be asking yourself what does this have to do with Grown Folks Music? Everything and nothing my friend. Everything and nothing. Everything in the sense that it is the world we #Growns have to live in and nothing if we choose to live up to our #Grown potential. You see all the folks that surround “Grown World” are only interested in the tea, the scoop, have you heard, what’s going on? Sure as #Growns we’re concerned, but not consumed. This environment of outrageousness that we find ourselves in permeates every sector of society: Politics, Religion, Relationship, Art, Music, Culture and on and on. Everyone is outraged about something and they want you to be outraged too. There’s nothing wrong with that if there’s a sense of balance and action. Being outraged for the sake of being outraged is pretty much a waste of time. I realize that we only have control over our own little sphere of influence to make change, but one change we can easily make is to remove ourselves from those parts of the food chain that ultimately do us a disservice by demanding our outrage. I won’t name names but we should all know the click-bait type instant reaction type of media outlets that exist both on and offline. It’s not even a matter of being fake media or not with me, it’s about the presentation and what that presentation is designed to elicit from the consumer which is what I ultimately judge an outlet on.

It’s too much and believe it or not music has suffered quite a bit in this era of outrage because it’s often not about the music anymore it’s about what type of (outrage good or bad) that can be created around the music to feed the beast that will ultimately make the money. Yes, this all comes down to money. So what am I suggesting? Start slow. Take an hour, a day, a week or however long you can stand and turn off, tune out and breathe. Smell some flowers. Regain your power and know that I’m not advocating being unaware here, I’m simply reminding myself and all of us that we don’t have be outraged if we don’t want to but we do need to do better because we have to.

#GetGrown

Ivan Orr is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, performer, and writer. A native of Charlottesville, Virginia Ivan was involved with the forming and nascent days of The Music Resource Center as its first Program Director. A graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Music, Ivan currently resides in Richmond, VA where he maintains an active performance and production schedule while serving as the Music Editor for Grown Folks Music, a position he has held since 2010.