LaTriece Branson and Drum Like a Lady did an extraordinary job kicking off the Women’s March on Philadelphia yesterday, setting a tone that was energetic, positive, and truly inclusive.
As well-attended as these marches were around the world, they also came with a certain degree of partisan and otherwise divisive baggage: That it was scheduled right after, and in response to, President Trump’s inauguration, and the allegations that some organizers excluded pro-life voices from formal participation, for example.
That is what made Drum Like a Lady’s contribution so important. Their march and performance, and Branson’s words, circumvented and transcended politics and ideologies, and spoke to core values on which just about anyone can agree.
Their kickoff to the day was a stage filled with women of varied ages and races, all playing together. Branson’s shouts and songs to the crowd distilled the event to simple, universal ideas: Peace and love; non-violent protest; patience; inclusiveness.
Personally, it was amazing to see something like that in action. I’ve listened, watched and read plenty of songs, shows and literature about protests and social progress. But that’s all history books and secondhand information. I’ve never been involved in a large-scale moment like that in real life.
To finally be in the midst of one, and feel like a part of it, was truly remarkable.
Of course, the day wasn’t about me, or people in my, let’s say, demographic. That, I think, is what made the Drum Like a Lady performance so effective: It represented what was happening in the moment, and invited others into it.
To see that achieved using music — and drums, specifically — was especially meaningful and inspiring. I hope others who were there feel the same way, and carry that basic, positive energy forward.