Yesterday, I went to the Salif Keita concert at the Fillmore Center in Silver Spring with my Mom, her friend and her 23 year old daughter. Throughout the concert hall there was an electrifying, peaceful and loving atmosphere as everyone danced and sang along to the Malian singer’s lyrics. During the concert, I suddenly thought about racial segregation as Washington D.C was notorious for segregating its neighborhoods, so that whites and blacks wouldn’t converge in the first 60 years of the 20th century. And now today, as I looked around there were whites and blacks chanting and dancing together on stage and in general admissions celebrating Keita’s beautiful music. In times of turmoil and divisiveness in the United States, it was beautiful to experience harmony despite our differences. Salif Keita, himself is an icon and inspiration. He was born albino and in Mali he was excommunicated from his family and community, as they saw his debilitating condition as a curse. He was forced to pick himself up alone, but in his despair and with God’s Strength, he was able to channel his agony beautifully in his music. This led him to leave his country and to propagate Malian music in France and around the United States. He found strong support along the way, and he was able to spread love despite people’s hatred, ignorance and offensive treatments due to his albinism. Check out his foundation to support albinism here: http://www.salifkeita.us/ . In Africa, albinos suffer from isolation, persecution and even genocide and high risks of skin cancer due to lack of understanding about the condition.
During the intermission, the Vice President of the World Bank in Mali and the Malian Ambassador spoke onstage and gave away $10,000 in donations to support the albinism foundation. Salif Keita’s wife also came onstage to pray for one of their family members that had recently passed away. In all this concert was inspiring and intense as the backstory surrounding us showed human resiliency and human’s transcendence into a loving and peaceful state despite rejection, abandonment, pain and exclusion. That we can all overcome adversity and rise to a higher state because God unconditionally loves us all.
And a cute video of my mama dancin’.