I sit here on a foggy Sunday Morning, and this song echoes in my mind, as it has for the past few weeks. My mother said yesterday that in my life I never asked for much of anything, a source of pride for her, odd that my independence is a trait she celebrates, but well. That independence prevents certain things.
Therein lies some of the tension within this song. It’s a song portraying Don Gardner and Dee Dee Ford basically as parents of an African American son, reminding him to 1) remember his self determination, to make sure he can make a safe space for himself in the rough and tumble United States (of the early 60’s, but many an African American still get this talk 50+ years later).
But 2) Not to forget to keep his heart open to finding the joy that can be found with someone, anyone special. Altho there’s a bit of wretch-worthy mandatory “Joy of Parenthood” proselytizing towards the end, it’s a rather intriguing cultural artifact, perhaps too real to become a hit record in 1963, about the aspirations of African American parents for their children. Hopes and dreams and sentiments of #BlackLivesMatters is nowhere near a new concept.