The Arts have existed since folks drew on cave walls and I suspect that there was some humming and harmony back in the day before song writing was a thing. Communal dancing around fires at night was an aboriginal celebration in humanity’s history. Artistic expression by individuals and groups seems to be embedded in our DNA. And one of the things that saved me when I first came to America as a kid, was this country’s passion for Arts and Culture.
The words “diversity” and “inclusion” are big buzz words in today’s society, and they should be as they are very relevant and important in today’s times. But although these words are often thrown around, it is important for us to think critically about what they mean. And to assess their impact on business and society as a whole.
Many large companies are hiring for diversity in race and gender, amongst several other categories. But why, so often, is culture left out of the equation? Should it be? Definitely not. And here’s why.
Get Creative! Original Song for 2021
Music moves, heals, and inspires us.
Enjoy this beautiful New Year’s song by a wonderfully creative group of artists.
Many thanks to the writer/producer of this song, Michael A. Levine, who also composed for: science fiction series Siren on Freeform, for George Lucas-produced Star Wars Detours animated parody, and for Jerry Bruckheimer/CBS dramas Cold Case and Close To Home for which he received 8 ASCAP awards. He scored films: Landfill Harmonic & The Makeover, and wrote the theme song for Resident Evil 7 Biohazard and closing credits song, Running, sung by Roberta Flack for the documentary feature 3100: Run and Become.
Levine produced, with Michael Wolff, the songs for the Nickelodeon TV preteen comedy series, The Naked Brothers Band. Levine also wrote “Gimme a Break”, the Kit Kat jingle, named one of the 12 greatest jingles by MSN in 2013.
Levine was also a Governor of the music branch of the Television Academy (Emmys).
Do you recall the first time you stepped into an international business reception at a major hotel and found yourself amidst a sea of Asian faces? If so, you may also have noticed a diversity of Asian cultures and conversations in some incomprehensible languages: Cantonese Chinese, Hindi, Korean, Malay, Mandarin Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, and perhaps others. If you have been put off when people in your presence have spoken a language other than English, you are not alone.
Our world is burning up from within. We need action – now – to lower the earth’s temperature, to stop mass incarceration , child abuse, and human trafficking. And what about self-harm and self-hate? Why does our own spirit twist against us so violently?
Searching for more answers – or at least some deeper insights – I turned to the lives of three people burned by hate, and burning with love. The first is Vietnamese monk and peace activist, Thich Nhat Hanh.
BLACK HISTORY MONTH
Editor’s Note: February commemorates and celebrates American history and culture. Here are two aspects of this month in the words of one of the best speakers and communication coaches in the country, Vincent Ivan Phipps.
Why is Black History Month in February?
Thank the ASNLH, Association for the Study of Negro Life and History! In 1916 an American historian, Carter G. Woodson, began editing this organization’s primary scholarly publication called the Journal of Negro History. In 1924, as a member of the historically Black fraternity, Omega Psi Phi, Woodson used the platform of his fraternity to introduce Negro History and Literature Week. In 1926, Woodson and the ASNLH inaugurated Negro history week in February 1926 which eventually parlayed into National Negro Month or to what it is called today, Black History Month.
His name is Stan Maclin. He lives in Harrisonburg, Virginia, having moved there 20 years ago. He is the founder and curator of the Harriet Tubman Cultural Center in that city.
It should come as no surprise then that Maclin’s Center has garnered national attention and many phone calls ignited by the recently released movie “Harriett,” the story of Harriett Tubman who single handedly made many forays deep into the south to free slaves.
When asked why he started the Center, in words that undoubtedly flowed from his mouth hundreds of times over the years, Maclin said that he wanted to open a place where African Americans can learn about their history, identity, and culture. He wanted to be able the educate future generations so that history does not repeat itself.
Perhaps it’s attributable in part to shifting demographics, which has attracted people from across the globe, but there’s no denying the growth in cultures that have permeated Douglas and surrounding Georgia counties, their schools, businesses and neighborhoods. And that growth has been accompanied by an increase in the number of accents and the challenges that come with communicating through accent differences.
No matter how hard I work at it, I often struggle attempting to communicate with someone with a “heavy” accent. Am I alone? A situation a few years ago, one that left me feeling woefully incompetent, made this poignantly clear. Here’s what happened. Tell me if it resonates.
And Again, for the Wrong Reasons
Proud of the New Ukraine
I periodically become a target of all-around questioning just because originally—25 years ago—I came to the US from Ukraine as a Fulbright Scholar. Of course, this gives me the leverage to deeper understand what’s going on there, and why. But I do not hold a magic ball that predicts what the future holds in a largely unpredictable country – and even more unpredictable America under the current government. So, let me just answer some of these questions and clarify my positioning. Continue reading Ukraine Makes the Headlines, Again – by Dr. Fiona Citkin
Small talk delights and confounds us, and it is worth asking why. In this short humorous piece I will confine myself to American small talk, as there appear to be different variations on this tune, as Mark Twain might also have pointed out if he had written more about American English and less about the German language.
On the one hand, it can feel overly factual and too easy, (are they making fun of me?) on the other hand, it is full of ambiguity and hidden meaning. But do you KNOW what that meaning is? It is also a way of getting to know you quickly, whatever the circumstances, sharing information, getting the real information fast or just having some fun in a bored moment.
Hence I share with you a “Small Talk Vignette” from one of my trips in the US. Although I am American, I have felt like a foreigner in the US at various times, and this was one of them: