I listened to a playlist with Tiwa Savage, Rema, Chronixx, Burna Boy and Wizkid on it. I listen to everything. People think I’m just this encyclopedia of jazz music, but I listen to so much. It puts me in such a great place. I can get lost in it. I also am big into Malian music. I love Tinariwen. I love Oumou Sangaré. And all these great island artists, like Rihanna.
I went to my music director’s studio, Music Evolutions, in Sherman Oaks, for two virtual performances. There was one for the Apollo. Then there was a corporate gig. I would always tell my audience, this performance does not work without my contribution and your contribution. So it’s kind of rough when you’re just looking down the barrel of the camera. I just try to remember that they’re there, and that it does matter.
At home, I met with the creative director Myriam Santos to look for visual inspiration for the music video for “Tigress & Tweed” — the Black Panther Party, the Black Liberation Party. Then I watched “All American” with my cousin. It’s a soap opera, high school-type drama. Obviously my 18-year-old cousin is very much into it.
I was on the treadmill, listening to “Spiritual Authority” by Watchman Nee. It’s an amazing book. Anything written by human hands you have to take with a grain of salt, but I love the premise of spiritual authority as a place of servanthood and of humility. It’s been feeding me really heavily in this season.
I have A.D.D. When I’m reading or listening for too long, my mind will stop absorbing the information. So, I jump between books. I moved over to “Assata,” the autobiography of Assata Shakur, with a foreword Angela Davis. It’s revelatory, she was a brilliant woman, and what she had to endure from the police and the overarching white society of the time was unbearable. I think it’s important to know those things. So, we can say, “OK, here’s the truth. Now we know how to move forward.”
Off the treadmill, taking a second on my sofa, I read “Quadrivium.” It is the hardest read on the planet. It was actually suggested to me years ago, by Michael Tiemann, one of the early innovators of the internet. It’s a medieval curriculum of arithmetic, geometry, astronomy and music. Honestly, it literally takes me an hour to get through a sentence. I remember when I first opened the book, I had to Google the first three words. I was like, “How the hell do these words even make a sentence? All of them are too big!”