One of my favorite songs from the turbulent 60’s was by singer Sam Cooke. The song was recorded and released in 1964. I can still hear that tune being belted out on my parent’s stereo in our basement. My parents were popular by most standards, and entertained family and friends often when they were young and had young children.
At five I knew the importance of music on the psyche of our consciousness. And the song by Sam Cooke in 1964, signaled the beginning of a cultural shift. This cultural shift, which led to the summer of 1968, produced music like “A Change is Gonna Come,” which was played all the time in my parents’ home.
The song was inspired by various racial events in Cooke's life. One event that shaped his conscience most prominently, was one in which he and his band were turned away from a whites-only motel in Louisiana.
Sam Cooke felt compelled to write a song that spoke to the anger and struggle of African-Americans, and the Civil Rights Movement. The song contains the refrain, "It's been a long time coming, but I know a change is gonna come."
The lyrics have stayed on the conscience of many people over the years. Especially when we have been confronted by times of struggle, trying and testing. The lyrics go a little like this:
“I was born by the river in a little tent
Oh and just like the river I've been running ev'r since
It's been a long time, a long time coming
But I know a change is gonna come, oh yes it will.”
A culture shift is a sudden change to society. And our political environment, Covid-19, and the social justice movements of Black Lives Matter have created a culture shift.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve noticed a real culture shift from our music, to our arts and entertainment. If you look closely you see more movies with people of color. If you listen closely our music has gone from rock and rap, and back to anthems of soul and love.
Each new generation challenges the generations that have gone before them. And this new generation is proffering us the opportunity to return to a nation of peace, love, and soul. I find that we are returning to a culture of relativism, where there are no universal truths, as many Americans see the whole void or absence of this nation being considered a Christian nation and moving far beyond postmodernism.
We are more connected globally than ever before. If you remember before the advent of television, we all believed that Cleopatra looked like Elizabeth Taylor, but we are reminded that she more closely resembles Angela Bassett. We also were led to believe that many African nations were uncivilized, but due to our global connectedness we discovered that Africa was indeed the cradle of civilization.
Our culture shift also made us discover that our nations leadership was no longer looked to as a leader among nations, or our economy the best in the world.
A culture shift? A culture shift that we are enduring in the middle of a culture shock. Being locked in our homes due to COVID-19 has taught us what we can and cannot live without.
This culture shift in America has us once again discussing the soul of a nation. Who are we? Who are we to become?
Our society and our worldview are in transition. No longer driven by herd mentalities, our cultural shifts have us examining race, religion, sexual orientation, poverty, wealth and more through vastly different lenes.
I am excited to see this next year ahead. I think this culture shift can make us better. Better people, better friends, better humans. And like Sam Cooke said, “A Change is Gonna Come.”
“And that’s A Brilliant Glimpse of Insight!”