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Monday’s Good Vibes

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In the West End of Atlanta at Royal Crown Barbershop, Yoehzer Ben Yeeftahk and Thurston Lopes, talented musicians and community activists, host a community discussion every Monday presenting the community’s issues and exploring solutions through spoken word, song, and ideals. This open mic is open to all ages, and you’ll enjoy the sense of family when you walk in the door.

I hopped off the train at West End and walked down the block to the corner of Ralph Abernathy and next to the bombest Soul Vegetarian restaurant and across from GoodWill, which I affectionately nicknamed The Will (because thrift store is life) lies Royal Crown Barbershop. I walked in and immediately felt at home. I loved the culture that surrounded me. I saw beautiful locs, twists, cornrows, and fros. I enjoyed the sultry tones of Erykah Badu and India.Arie blasting from the speakers. I immediately loved the atmosphere, and I knew I would enjoy the session. Yoehzer Ben Yeeftafk, one of the hosts, really made me feel at home and made sure to include everyone in the discussions. The discussions were unconventional, and it allowed a lot of room for self-expression. Several topics were covered: police brutality, the burning of black churches, the importance of owning your own business as an African American, unity in the Pan-African community, and finding your voice.

My favorite performance of the night was by the special guest Ms. Nia Sade Walker. Ms. Walker is the CEO and Founder of Purpose EP – a publishing and editing company – and nonprofit Literacy on Purpose, which hosts the Teach.Write.Publish.Youth! program that teaches youth literacy skills and publishes their work in her magazine, titled Young Purpose. Her angelic voice serenaded us with the smooth tune of Billie Holiday’s classic hit, ¨Summertime.¨ She was later accompanied on keyboard with friend and gifted musician Brandon Lawson, and they sang a powerful song by Lauryn Hill called ¨Nothing Even Matters.” Their compelling performance captured the hearts of many in the audience. Ms. Walker displayed such beautiful intonation that it left me and the others in the room in a state of peaceful happiness.

In the community discussion about African Americans’ life, love and liberty, one thing that resonated with me was when speaker and host, Yoehzer Ben Yeeftahk explained why everyone should pray, fast and meditate. He stated that it was important for us to have a relationship with God. He talked about growing up practicing Islam and his commitment to Ramadan this July.

“I’ve prayed more in the last 30 days than I ever have in my entire life,” Yeeftahk said. He believes that Ramadan can truly benefit us as African Americans. He spoke about how fasting makes us more more resilient. Meditation helps clear your mind and reduce stress. “People are in their 20s, looking 50 due to stress, and that’s not a good look,” he said. Yeeftahk’s views on meditation echo a statement my friend Max made:  “We clean our ears when we feel they need cleaning, we detox our bodies when we feel our bodies need detoxification, but we don’t do the same for our minds; that’s why people look bad out here. Your mind gets congested too.”

Overall, Monday Vibe Out is a great experience, and I encourage everyone to go out and participate in the community discussions at Royal Barber Shop every Monday. It’s free, and it’s fun! It’s important that our Atlanta community has discussions, so we can find solutions to the problems that occur.

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