• Danica Johnson

Compositions & Coffee Presents: "Creative Soul Digest"




It's A Vibe Friday


Hey Friends and Family It’s a Vibe Friday and my music is already playing in the background. Here’s a tidbit about me. I LOOOOOOOOVE TO DANCE and SANG! My mother use to tell me stories about going to the store and not being able to keep my butt still even in the elevator (still that way today btw just minus the elevator). I belt out in the car FULL ON MARIAH CAREY TYPE BELT. Soo around the same time every year I warm the pipes to get ready to sing for 25 days straight. FACT.

To carry on our discussion of Christmas music, It’s a Vibe Friday is all about soulful Christmas music. Christmas music in the black community, as you all know, had a different sound and even the lyrics were a reflection of our community. Songs like Santa Claus Goes to the Ghetto and Soul Holiday’s are just a few of the ones I’ll have an extensive list at the end of this post to illustrate the difference. In my traditional fashion before we get into the goodness of our music I have to hit ya’ll with some facts and history so let’s dive in…


History of Black Christmas Music



Christmas spirituals were different from traditional Christmas carols for the simple fact that spirituals were written and sung by slaves. One scholar noted that, “the powerful resonance in these spirituals is unmatched because of the passion of the people who sang them.” Most Christmas spirituals were also sang in present tense rather than past tense which provided an immediacy and power to the song as if to reflect current and real live events. In other words, our people have always known the power of praise, focusing on what really matters in the here and now. Christmas spirituals were about evoking a sense of gratitude for the savior. Spirituals were also sung with passion since slaves were thought to have a more intimate understanding of the nativity story because they identified with the conditions into which Christ was born. Coming from a foreign land to be placed where they were despised and enslaved in the same way that Christ was born as a refugee child with people seeking to kill him. Spirituals reflect a people who have the power to convey a message and evoke emotion and feeling in others that contemporary artist and Christmas carolers do not have. This is seen in gospel artist and in our Christmas Spirituals. Here’s a list of 8 Christmas spirituals


·Rise up shepherd and follow from Odetta

· Mary What You Gonna Call That Pretty Little Baby- from Black Nativity

· Sweet Little Jesus Boy from Harmonizing Four

· Silent Night- from A Gospel Christmas Celebration

· Christmas Hymn- from The Texas Christmas Selection

· Go Tell it On the Mountain- from The Legendary Groups of Gospel

· Joy to the World- from Black Nativity

· Hallelujah Chorus- from A Gospel Family Christmas


We need more Christmas Spirituals to remind us what this time of year was truly meant to be about. We have gotten lost and caught up in the hype and are being sold to instead of remembering what truly matters and the true essence of the season, gratitude.

That being said I do STILL love me some Christmas music ESPECIALLY our renditions. Here’s a timeline and list of our Christmas music.



· Eartha Kitt- Santa Baby 1953

· Nat King Cole- The Christmas Song 1961

· Sammy Davis Jr.- It’s Christmas Time All Over the World 1965

· Lou Rawls- Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas 1967

· Stevie Wonder- What Christmas Means to Me 1967

· James Brown- Santa Claus Go Straight to the Ghetto 1968

· Otis Redding- Merry Christmas Baby 1968

· The Temptations- Silent Night 1970

· Jackson 5- Santa Claus is Coming to town, I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus 1970

· Donny Hathaway- This Christmas 1971

· Boys II Men- Silent Night, Let it Snow 1993

· TLC- Sleigh Ride 1993

· Outkast- Playas Ball 1993

· Mariah Carey- All I want for Christmas is You 1994

· Luther Vandross- Mistletoe Jam, My Favorite Things 1995

· The Isley Brothers- Special Gift 1996

· Destinys Child- 8 Days of Christmas 2001


This list goes on and on and I’m sure I missed some amazing artists as well. This is 40 years of Christmas music and I promise when you vibe out to this list here it will bring back memories and put you in the spirit. I wanted to give you something to compare it to, because now, I want you to hear the new generation of Christmas music. Listening to the list above I’m sure is sentamintal and will have you singing and smiling. This new music is the type to make you dance, rap, and I don’t know maybe even twerk! Check this out…






· Justin Bieber- Drummer Boy

· Jonas Brothers- Like It’s Christmas

· Ariana Grande- December

· Chris Brown- This Christmas

· Ty Dolla $ign ft Kiana Lede- Alone for Christmas

· LVRN 6lack, & Summer Walker- Ghetto Christmas

· Ashanti- Christmas Time Again

· John Legend- What Christmas Means to Me

· Ne-Yo- I Want to Come Home for Christmas

· Jacquees feat. Lil Reign- It’s Christmas

· Kiana Lede- Someday at Christmas

· Chris Brown feat. Ella Mai- This X- Mas

· Kem- Be Mine for Christmas

· Eric Bellinger- Deck the Halls


I’m curious any of you start dancing? This is the new wave of Christmas music and if you put R&B Christmas in Itunes this is what you will get. I’m going to listen to it this week and see what sort of mood it provokes. It’s still the same concepts, similar lyrics, and similar tempo so I don’t think it will take us to the club. We will see I want to hear your feedback as well. Let me know after comparing and listening what you think as well and we can compare notes. I’m going to leave the usual book recommendations, black businesses, and coffee recommendations but will also leave 2 artist that I've been enjoying for you to check out as well and compare. Moving right along into the season folks so be safe and enjoy each of the 25 days…

-- Be Free

Your family at Eclectuals

"Where we mind your mental diet!"



Sounds of Blackness- Soul Holiday & It’s Christmas Time

--The Gospel sound makes me think of Christmas Spirituals


LVRN (Love Renaissance), 6lack, Summer Walker- Home for Holidays Mixtape

--I personally am a huge fan of 6lack and have enjoyed this mixtape



Book Recommendations


A Soulful Christmas Carol


Blues and Soul Christmas


Support Black Businesses


The Trinigee


Zach and Zoe Sweet Bee Farm


Izzy & Liv


Footnanny


Trufflin


InBooze




Coffee Recommendations


Eclectic Sunset

A sumatra and Indonesian coffee from the Ketiara collective (women farmers). It's a dark, earthy, deep, full bodied, and complex coffee. It's flavors are creamy, sweet, spice, and butterscotch.





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