The Music That Gets Us Through: Hannah
Music can inspire, enrage, excite, quiet, trouble, and move us in powerful ways. In this unique summer season, IFYC wants to share a window into our incredible team by regularly sharing playlists from team members. This week’s contribution is from Hannah Minks, Program Manager at IFYC. Hannah received her BA in Theology and is currently earning her MA in Religious Studies. She comes to her role having taught theology at the high school level for a handful of years, always through the lens of pluralism. Most of her time at IFYC is spent developing curriculum, training students, and communicating with the network.
Before working at IFYC, I taught religion in Catholic high schools—additionally, I’ve been DJing weddings for the last decade. A few years ago, one of my students spoke in class about grieving the loss of her dad. It had been a while since he passed away, and her pain was as palpable as if he died yesterday. Despite years of education in theology and ministry and working in jobs where I can only excel insofar as I build empathetic relationships, I never know what to say when people are going through pain and grief.
It so happened that my student’s father was one of the Isley Brothers. I called her to my desk after class and told her that I play her dad’s music at nearly every wedding I DJ. “The floor lights up with joy every time.” She flashed the biggest smile, and the next day I had a sweet handwritten note on my desk describing how much that meant to her.
For better or for worse, I’m wired to address pain through reminders of joy. I understand the complications of this. I would never want to haphazardly smear over important suffering. It's necessary to live through, and as a great deal of ancient wisdom tells us—suffering is no doubt transformative. But I gotta say, joy sure is good medicine along the way.
So, I offer this playlist (listen on Spotify), celebrating Black voices that have brought me great joy and helped me through the pain.
- The Isley Brothers – Shout, Pts. 1 &2
- Shirley Ellis – The Nitty Gritty
- Mark Morrison – Return of the Mack
- Dionne Warwick – I Say a Little Prayer
- Khruangbin, Leon Bridges – Texas Sun
- Supreme Jubilees – Do You Believe
- The Avalanches – Because I’m Me
- Lenny Kravitz – It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over
- The Temptations – Get Ready
- Stevie Wonder – Don't You Worry ‘Bout A Thing
- Lyn Collins – Think (About It)
- Mos Def – Crime & Medicine
- Frankie Knuckles – You Got the Love
- Four Tops – Reach Out I’ll Be There
- Love – Always See Your Face
- The Staple Singers – A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall
- Sam Cooke – If I Had A Hammer
- Brittany Howard – Stay High
- TLC – Waterfalls
- Shanice – I Love Your Smile
- Etta James – In the Basement
- The Spinners – It's A Shame
- Weaves – Wide Open
- Nina Simone – Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood
- Nat King Cole – Stardust