Guest Post By Miles Jaye
There she sat, calm and dignified, seated across from the U.S. Senate Judicial Committee, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, in full view of the world, fully engaged in what can be best described and characterized as a highly contentious Senate Confirmation hearing, when she uttered a word, I had said on many occasions was a favorite of my own mother—persevere. Judge Brown-Jackson recalled the advice given her by a stranger on the grounds of Harvard University in what was, by her own account, a very trying and difficult freshman year. This was a time, she remembered, when she doubted herself and whether or not she was cut out for the Harvard experience.
To persevere by definition is to continue a course of action even in the face of difficulty or with little or no prospect of success. In less formal, more common parlance, to persevere is to face the discomfort or obstacles of a less than ideal situation and deal with it. Push forward or stand fast-- but deal with it. Figure it out, accept that circumstances may not be fair or just, then buckle down and beat the odds, outpace the naysayers and silence the haters. Excuses will never serve you well, but perseverance will separate those who could have from those who did.
Senator Corey Booker, in his passionate and heartfelt closing remarks to the SCOTUS nominee said she reminded him of his mother. She, just by virtue of that word persevere reminded me of mine, as it was a favorite of hers. Yes, the full facial features of a broad nose, high cheek bones, full lips and dark chocolate brown complexion, could remind many of us of a family member. She doesn’t appear to be Indonesian, or Polynesian or any other kind of esian or Asian for that matter, but Black American. She, enjoying the freedom to marry the man of her choosing, although that choice only a few generations ago, would have broken laws over which a judge not unlike herself would have had to rule, is not in any way or to any degree in denial of that fact. She embraces her heritage. It would appear by her testimony that her parents, siblings, aunts and uncles are an essential source of her pride and fortitude, her perseverance.
It should not be overlooked that entering her freshman classes as Ketanji Onyika Brown, a West African name meaning Lovely One, might have won her more attention than she may have wished to have at a critical time when most young people want nothing more than to fit in-- to be accepted. Her name may have even been the source of unwarranted humor and teasing among the ranks of what she called, Prep School students. If so, she persevered in spite of it. By distinguishing herself as a top undergrad as well as a Harvard Law student, her name will be long remembered in the hallowed halls of the Harvard campus. If she is confirmed as only one of four female Justices in the history of the United States Supreme Court, the first Black female, the name Justice Ketanji Onyika Brown Jackson, Lovely One, will long be remembered in the pages of American history. She, along with others in American history who share her gender and heritage, by their examples, will teach generations to come what can be accomplished and what can be achieved if only we would persevere.
Meet Our Guest Blogger Miles Jaye
Singer, songwriter, Miles Jaye, is a native New Yorker; it is there that he studied music theory and classical violin for more than ten years at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, Saratoga School for Orchestral Studies and Brooklyn College. An accomplished musician and producer, Jaye is best known for his chart-topping hits, "Let’s Start Love Over", "Heaven" and "Objective" featuring Grover Washington, Jr. His heart wrenching "I’ve Been A Fool For You" has become one of radio’s favorite R&B classics. While Jaye laid the groundwork for excellence with his three highly acclaimed CD’s on Island Records, MILES, STRONG and IRRESISTIBLE; he continued that standard of excellence on his own Black Tree Records with titles such as the ODYSSEY, DIVINE ASCENSION, ROMANTIC STORM and HUMANITY. Under the Miles Jaye Davis Productions label, his extensive training as a classical and jazz violinist is evident on his latest release "ATTENERGY", the voice on the violin which is an exceptional musical “coming out celebration” with sixteen beautifully crafted performances. Now a Floridian, Jaye enjoys a long-standing reputation as an R&B and Contemporary Jazz writer/producer, having partnered with some of the giants of jazz on his recordings such as George Duke, Roy Ayers, Nat Adderley, Jr., Rachelle Ferrell, Grover Washington, Jr., and Branford Marsalis. The list of notables with which Jaye has shared the concert stages of the world is too extensive to include here. Jaye is especially proud of writing and producing six tracks on the certified Gold JOY CD from his mentor, legendary R&B singer Teddy Pendergrass. A prolific composer, Jaye has penned and recorded more than 50 original compositions and has the unique distinction of recording no less than 12 different musical instruments on several of his critically acclaimed CD’s. In addition to side-man duties early in his career for the songstress, Phyllis Hyman, balladeer, Jon Lucien, and jazz guitarist Eric Gale, Jaye served two years as lead-singing Cop for the hit pop group that brought you YMCA, Macho Man and In the Navy - THE VILLAGE PEOPLE. Jaye is also a novelist, playwright, art student, and an award-winning journalist. He is an active supporter of campaigns for AIDS Awareness, Breast Cancer research, and an advocate for victims of domestic violence. He also actively supports arts education in public schools. Miles Jaye Davis, like his namesake, legendary trumpeter, Miles Davis, is one of music’s most gifted, distinctive and dynamic artists.