We slow down when they are behind us. We move to the side and tap our brakes. When they pass us by, we proceed with caution, followed by relief, followed by apathy. We quickly forget and resume our daily lives; unless they pull us over. Then, another story emerges, one that is possibly not so forgetful. The most common reason for contact with law enforcement occurs by way of a traffic stop and, good or bad, most of us have had that experience.
But when was the last time those flashing police lights made you think about creating a beautiful song?
There is no single reason that prompts us into action or pushes us toward positive social change. There are myriad forces—fortunate events, many times beyond our control, which shake us from our comfort zones and drive us forward to a new beginning.
For Nelli Nichole, it was being pulled over by the police.
Listen now to this podcast interview with Nelli Nichole:
Nelli is a music artist focused on positive social change. Her inspiration comes from, as she stated, “feeling like I didn’t have a voice when I was younger.” But she certainly has a voice now—a powerful one. What kind of music does she sing? All kinds. As she told me during the interview, “I want to create my own genre; I don’t want to be put into a specific box. I want to be able to reach any and every kind of demographic.” She is accomplishing that feat through powerful songs, through speaking life to people who find themselves in difficult situations—incarceration, poverty, heartache—for a new beginning.
The following podcast with Nelli suggests that change can be examined from basic beginnings or factors that cause individuals to move in a prescribed direction of change. Nelli not only has a strong passion for speaking with a clarion voice through music, but she is utilizing her artistic talents to show us how we can all influence change by finding our “inner” artist.
Positive social change does not just happen. It often requires a series of fortunate events to break our silence and mobilize us into action. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once observed, “History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.”
Next week, we will have the Exchange here at Claremont Lincoln University, and mass incarceration is the topic at hand. Among several themes that will be discussed at this event, we are asking that attendees consider what happens on both sides of the police lights. What happens after the traffic stop? What happens after an individual has been incarcerated and released? What happens to our society when we become callused to the cycle of mass incarceration?
Nelli steered her life toward a brighter day. But not everyone is so fortunate.
A few points to consider as you listen:
- How self-expression can lead to empowerment.
- How her song “Jailbird” created momentum for change and inspired hope.
- How inspiration music has long-since been a catalyst for positive social change.
Be sure to join us for the Exchange as we tackle this challenging issue.