Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Being good isn't good enough. . .

This blog post is a song request from Pelema Taulapapa @Pelema5

Barbra Streisand is one of the original diva's as far back in my memory as I can remember.  I watched The way we were opposite Robert Redford the other week. Other movies I've seen her in include Yentl and A Star is born Kris Kristofferson (the man I normally associate with the Blade movies alongside Wesley Snipes).  Barbra has recently released a duets album with some of the music's finest artists, including the late great Elvis Presley.  I associate a lot of Barbra's work with musical theatre.  I love hearing her sing People from Funny Girl and Somewhere (there's a place for us) from West Side Story.  




Being good isn't good enough
Being good won't be good enough
When I fly, I must fly extra high
And I'll need special wings so far to go
From so far below

I often think about the identity journeys of indigenous people or migrant people in diaspora societies who now reside in their adopted countries, descendants of migrants who are born in their adopted countries, including those descendant who are third and fourth generation.  In our adopted countries, even though we are born there, we need to be just as good as the members of the dominant society, yet still maintain our heritage cultures, languages and identities to be just as good within our own society.  Edward James Olmos captured this sentiment best when he played Mr. Quintanilla in Selena starring Jennifer Lopez.  "We've got to be more American than the Americans and more Mexican than the Mexicans."

Having to continually prove ourselves can be a challenging, all-consuming activity - one, quite frankly, that will endure for one's own lifetime.  I know that we would need to fly extra high.  Where do we get these special wings?  Do we make them ourselves?  Can you buy them or do you earn them?  Why are we at the bottom of the heap anyway? Who put us there and why is the distance so much farther to fly?  Will people not accept our goodness?  Do we not measure up?  Why won't our goodness be good enough?  Who says it isn't?

Should I try?
Am I strong enough?
Is there time, have I long enough?
Gotta fly and if I fall
That's the way it's gotta be
There's no other way for me
Being good just won't be good enough
I'll be the best or nothing at all

I will not accept doubt or self-sabotage to be my own undoing.
Falling when we try to fly is just a risk that we must be prepared to take.
My people - the land of navigators - would not have gained anything without venturing out into the unknown, so our future generations must understand this spirit of our people and continue to live the legacy.  At its most extreme - it is definitely all or nothing.  We must try regardless, regardless of who thinks we shall never succeed, that we were born to fail.  I refuse to live out other people's low expectations of me.  I already have extremely high expectations of myself for my people.

Leslie Uggams the original star of the Broadway musical sings Being good isn't good enough and Hallelujah Baby on the Ed Sullivan Show.


I'll try, am I strong enough?
Is there time, have I long enough?
Gotta fly and if I fall
That's the way it's gotta be
There's no other way for me
Being good just won't be good enough
I'll be the best or nothing at all

I hope that wherever you are in your life, that you continue to push, to rage, to be your best, give your best and live your best.  Maybe being good just won't be good enough, because only our best will be. . .