Warrior

It’s no secret I love Wyclef Jean’s music and connect to it. Somehow, a Haitian immigrant’s music, lyrics and sound touch the soul of this granddaughter of a Russian immigrant. We have very little in common culturally, he’s a Haitian-American raised in Haiti and the projects of NYC and New Jersey; I moved around the south and midwest a lot as a white kiddo following my dad’s job. But, we have the human experience in common and I connect to that through his music and lyrics.. 

Somehow he makes struggle and resolve accessible through his music. I saw him first on the Smoking Grooves tour in my early 20’s—it was a music festival with the common theme of hip hop (and recreational marijuana use) linking the bands… Busta Rhymes, A Tribe Called Quest, Cypress Hill, The Fugees and Ziggy Marley headlined the festival where I was probably the only person not “smoking”. I was hooked, and saw him this past weekend when he performed with the St.Louis symphony. The way he connected the symphony, hip hop, freestyle rap and a completely mixed audience was empowering. He pulled two boys on stage to dance with him and you could tell the way that their eyes lit up that he’d made their night, their month and year. He didn’t have to do that—but he did because he knows it matters to reach out. 

I can’t think of a better time to connect to the power of his lyrics than now. Warrior is about how we all have strength within us when we’re supposed to break. When we’re pushed to the brink, that instinct to survive and stand up comes out. And sometimes it’s out of frustration, tears, sadness, exhaustion and hopelessness. Like jumping into a pool holding your breath, it’s the moment your feet touch the bottom and you push off toward the surface… with hopes of the promise of fresh air for your lungs.


In a time we all are looking down at our phones, it’s important to try to reach out in person. I’m not foolish enough to think I’m saving a life by complimenting someone’s smile or nail polish… but I do know that letting down my guard, attempting to be more accessible and open to others allows me more peace than being closed off. That doesn’t mean I can’t be a warrior- I think it’s an and/if situation…kind of a “do no harm but take no shit” situation. 

I have a history of confronting uncomfortable situations long before others are comfortable in an attempt to resolve issues as soon as possible. But, I’m learning that isn’t always the best bet. I’ve alienated people this way, I’ve come out in full armor- not the kind of warrior I needed to be. I’m a work in progress, still learning when to armor up, when to stand up, when to sit down and listen. 

Being open to everyone, making eye contact and acknowledging every person as an equal being only serves to make each one of us more valid during this journey we share. I’ve watched politics divide, collapse, conquer and foster so much hatred lately. Listen, we have more in common with each other than we have different. We’re all trying to protect ourselves, all trying to stay alive (that’s another Wyclef song but I didn’t write that with the song in mind). 

Recognize the warrior in others, honor that warrior in yourself. Our battles are different but we all have them to fight. Let’s do what we can.

Johnny went to school
He kept getting jumped
Today was the day
That he wouldn’t run
He’s a warrior
He said, He’s a warrior

Little Jimmy
Little Jimmy
Always put his work
He stand up like mad
When they through him in the dirt
He’s a warrior
He’s a warrior

Little Susie
Little Susie
They say was moody
Dressed in black
Dressed in black
Always wore a hoodie
She’s a warrior
Ehh, She’s a warrior

You’re a warrior
You’re a warrior

Little Mickie
Little Mickie
Play your guitar
Tell them one day
You’ll be a ghetto superstar
You’re a warrior
You’re a warrior

Little Johnny
Little Johnny
Follow your dreams
Little Johnny
Little Johnny
You have the mean
You’re a warrior
You’re a warrior

You’re a warrior
You’re a warrior

You’re a warrior

Evry mon av to follow him dream
Evry mon av to find him queen
Evry mon av to make his way
Evry mon av to live to this way

Evry mon av to follow him dream
Evry mon av to find his queen
Every girl you gotta live this way

You’re a warrior
You’re a warrior

Warrior, Warrior, like this
You’re a warrior
Warrior, Warrior, like this [x2]

You’re a warrior

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