Today I read Dr. Cornel West’s blues memoir “Living and Loving Out Loud.” I got to talking to myself,to the music,to the language; it became life. Dr. West, is indeed, a blues man.He writes with a blues sensibility as he responds to the marrow of struggle and triumph in his own life and in the lives of others. The memoir compels memory of the grave diggers in Mississippi who make, and I mean make, blues music using old brooms. Dr. West–“Corn”– is a blues man like the Mississippi grave diggers. He makes life out of the intellectual and practical notes he has been given. He does not make excuses for his frail humanity, his mistakes; he seeks to understand, to grow, to continue living.This book needs to rest on the shelves of us all. It is pedagogical: I found myself creating a book list of the compassionate thinkers named in the book. The book is spiritual; it calls you in; it compels a response. I heard myself humming “Amen” to Dr. West’s refusal to allow Malcolm to be disrespected; I heard myself whispering a prayer for him as he recounted his challenge with prostate cancer; I found myself nodding as I repeated in my memory the gifts of love and support given to West by his family and the love he shares with his children. This memoir is bathed in an authentic anointing of an African American male child shaped into a man, groomed to be a thinker whose life is dedicated to helping each one of us experience and cherish the gem of the mind. Indeed, Dr. West is “living and loving out loud.” Like a blues man traveling down the train tracks, he is calling us to join him. That deserves an AMEN!
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