Philly Love! Is this a myth, and urban legend of sorts? Is Philly Love a real thing? When people say I love Philly, or I got so much love for Philly, do they mean the people or the persona?
I know our name means brotherly love, and I also understand the premise behind the coined phrase that is now attached to our name "and sisterly affection," however, is it real? Are we really the city that posses love for our brothers and affection for our sisters? Philadelphia is my home. I was born and raised right here. I've lived in Charlotte, NC, and in Southern California, and I can honestly say that those experiences have helped to enhance my love for Philadelphia. I appreciate our rich history, our diversity in cultural experiences, our originality, ingenuity, imagination, and most of all, our creativity. With all of the beauty that is Philly, there is an intersection where this beauty violently collides with the ugliness of it's own contradiction. This is a tension that every Philadelphian is forced to live in and wrestle with.
The number of murders documented to close out 2016 was 278. While that does not make us the murder capitol of the country, there are still 278 people who left the planet due to a violent act committed against them. There were 278 circles of influence which were broken violently. My daughter Amina and myself were apart of one of those circles that broke, when 17 year old Quantico Moreno Brunson, was taken in the late evening of October 10, 2016. I can honestly say for people who have experienced this type of loss it doesn't feel like love. With that being said, on Monday evening June 12, 2017, I had the wonderful opportunity to see Philadelphians live up to our name. I was able to be both an eyewitness and a recipient of true Philly Love, and at it's core, was our collective affinity for black music culture.
With June being National Black Music Month and Philadelphia, being home to some of the world's greatest musicians, producers, and artist, it only makes sense that it also be home to a phenomenal event like The Comeback "Philly Style". This event takes time out to honor some of Philly's greats in black music and culture. It dispenses well deserved roses to people who are still here to enjoy their sweet fragrance.
This event is the brain child of Isaac M. Hamm III, and it began in 2010, as Mr. Hamm sought to honor one of Black Music Month's author and champion, renowned radio personality Dyana Williams. Ms. Williams' efforts to make June the official month that recognizes Black Music Culture dates back 38 years, and because of her grit and determination all the world is able to plan their celebrations that help highlight the major contributions of a people that have shared the gift of music which keeps on giving. I once heard my pastor say, that art helps us to stay in touch with our humanity. Well, I was able to see that precept at work during The Comeback.
I was treated with so much love and respect during this momentous occasion, that I could not stop smiling, literally. I saw a sea of unending smiles, and not just in front of the cameras. The spirit that enveloped The Painted Bride was warm, loving, and admirable. I was truly beaming with Philly Pride. I saw the presence of "Brotherly Love" and "Sisterly Affection". There was also the absence of ego, arrogance, and separation. It seemed that everyone was on one accord. The communal focus was to celebrate, honor, and cherish a moment in time with our fellow human beings. I truly felt blessed to be apart of this premier event and I look forward to the future festivities, that recognize Black Music Culture.....