I am writing listening to 5 CDs of the King of Soul – Otis Redding – and Pain in My Heart digs deep into me.
I have reaching into my heart, trying to see beyond its coldness, desire to be dead. I reach for my heart, and pain is always the cover I have to break down.
I play Otis as his voice breaks into joyful pain, and I learn what life can be.
He reaches beyond my solid wall of ice, and reaches to the many years his voice give me the freedom to cry, scream and kind of sing along with his simple words.
Soul music has given a reason to live – be it Northern Soul, Motown, Atlantic Soul, Stax Records, Gospel or just soul coming down the radio from somewhere I don’t know yet.
My heart is nourish by soul whether sung out of Georgia, Chicago, London, Tokyo, New Orleans, or so many places where music is the voice when all words are lost.
Soul music evolves but keep a solid centre.
Soul music belongs to all who seen, known and survive pain – soul is part of our skin.
Each day soul music reminds pain can be grieve over, each day soul music nourishes hope that pain cannot be forever – and each day soul music give us laughter, desire to dance and sense of freedom even as our oppressors think they have won.
The passion, the simple words, the reaching into all human emotions, the voices of many oppressed makes soul music unconquerable.
I learn in my moments of deepest pain and confusion, that soul music could reach me like no other music could – except Mozart.
Soul music was and is my desire for a future in freedom and justice, soul music was and is my route to know hope can be solid.
Soul music taught me I could still dance even as I thought my body and spirit had been destroyed by punters and the sex trade.
Soul music is the sound of defiance, of staring down those who oppressed us and saying there is deep part of my essence you can never owned or ripped apart.
Soul music was the gift of privacy when I had little or no space to call my own.
I had soul music before and after punters had though they had total control over me.
I scream to Wo-man with Etta, play Do-Right Woman with Aretha, had Dusty make cry with You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me.
It was my medicine, my therapy – it was my door to knowing a world beyond being raped, owned, tortured and being on the edge of death.
There was nothing simple in love of soul music – there is nothing simple in the oppressed discovering freedom.
It was music that connected to other music that had raw edges and give me another American culture to belong.
I grow to love country – especially honky-tonk, bluegrass, Cajun and outlaw country.
I grow to love city Blues.
I grow to love jazz, especially be-bop, swing, jazz/blues singers, New Orleans sound.
I grow to rock ‘n’ roll, especially rockabilly.
I grow to love disco.
Music became my saviour, and music was making my oppression more painful for I became aware that wasnot what I wanted.
I was becoming aware of every rape, aware of all words that made me into dirt, aware that I was nothing.
I begun to sing along with the music played as punters owned me – singing without paying attention, singing to disappear, singing to find a part of me had some defiance.
I placed myself in grave danger by singing or even mouthing the words.
Punters hated that I was human enough to sing, human enough to do two things at once.
I know my singing was my way to say – you don’t own my heart.
You will and can rape close to death; you can and will torture me with words, torture me with ripping at my sexual being, torture me by pretending to kill.
You will and can force me to stay awake, deprived me of food. You can and will smash my body into pieces while you are laughing.
But you – the punter, the sex trade profiteer, the justifier of the continance of the sex trade, the academics who say only Happy Hookers exist, the by-standers who ignore the pain of all the prostituted – you can never take away my music.
And I know you must hate that.
I know that the prostituted were never meant to be human enough to have a space to have the true freedom to love music.
I know that the prostituted were invented to be sub-human sexual goods that have only one purpose – to be living porn-dolls for punters to mastubate into.
We are not meant to hear music, to read books, to even be in shops.
We have no life or purpose beyond being holes and a comforter so punters are never violent to real women and children.
We have no past, no existence outside those punters and the sex trade.
To show even a hint that we are human, is for any prostitute to place herself in deep danger.
Much of the violence done to the prostituted is done when the punter see the prostitute is a person.
I was beaten up for reading, I was raped sadistically when I laugh at the TV, and singing to music was a route to hell.
For the prostituted are meant have no voice, no sense that they could matter, no real intelligence – the prostituted cannot be human.
No, the prostituted are meant to be whatever the sex trade and punters say they are.
A prostitute can be allowed to read or talk clever – as long she knows never to speak as she is raped, and never think her words matter.
The reality of prostitution is that it is assumed that most of the prostituted will be voiceless and nameless.
It is a world where the punters and sex trade profiteers see all the prostituted as interchangeable – as sexual that will be used over and over and over, and then thrown away.
The prostituted are never meant to discover that they are human, and to regain the fight to live, to exit and with great fortune to speak out for abolition.
We are meant to be dead or too damaged to become fully human.
I discover soul music was route to knowing there more to life than the sex trade.