I'm pretty sure I've been told to "shut up and sing" by at least one person every time I've strongly voiced my opinion publicly on situations I deem unjust. Sometimes from people who have been fans of my music for years. Sometimes from people I hardly know at all. I’d be lying if I told you that the fear of rejection or judgement that comes with speaking out about sensitive subjects hasn’t stopped me from doing so in the past. It seems like there are some people out there who only want to support you or listen to you if you're saying something they agree with, or if you're not saying anything at all.
I feel like I have to comment on this.
Guys, I love what I do for a living and I am so very grateful for this life and every opportunity God has given me. I’m so incredibly thankful for all of you. I love making music, writing songs and performing live. I love being an artist. But it turns out, I do actually own the ability to think freely and form opinions, outside of music, and I am passionate about voicing those opinions and beliefs when I feel like I have something important to say and when I feel like it could make a difference for the better. I have to believe that most people understand that in addition to being a musician and performer, I am also a human with thoughts and feelings and a strong moral compass. I have to believe that most people want to try to understand perspectives different from their own so they can better understand the world, what’s happening in the world and how we can best come together to solve problems in the most constructive and safest way possible for ALL people.
Though there are many people who would rather come to a show or listen to my album and not ever have to hear my feelings about important world and life events, I must speak up and speak my mind and I'm not ever going to apologize for it. It’s so sad to me that this is even an issue. It’s so sad to me that these are some of the comments I’ve received from people when I’ve chosen to voice my opinions on a particular matter:
“Maybe you two (referring to a senator I had voiced my approval of) should get a room.”
“You’d be better off sticking to music.”
“Less talking, more singing.”
"If you don't like it, you can leave."
“You’re prettier when you don’t talk.” (yeah, someone actually said this.)
“It’s a shame I can’t support you anymore now because I do like your music.” (in response to a post I had made about supporting marriage equality.)
You know what the real shame is? The real shame is that some folks aren’t willing to have a constructive conversation about their difference of opinion with others anymore. The real shame is that some folks refuse to hear you out before you even open your mouth to speak because they don’t want to hear what you have to say because you might actually make some sense, make them have to think or question their judgement, or be able to prove them wrong and that’s too scary. The real shame is that it’s easier for some people to be ignorant than to be informed. The real shame is that when we lose our ability to have constructive and logical discussions using factual information and compassion to communicate with one another, we lose our ability to constructively compromise and successfully solve problems that affect all of us.
I was raised to believe that there's enough sun in the world for everyone, that no one should be forced to live in the shadows while others are allowed to bask in privilege and opportunity, that I'm not better than anyone else and no one is better than me, that if you work hard you can accomplish great things, that if you believe something should change you have to take action and BE that change, that kindness and compassion matters and no matter what a person's economic status, religion, sexual orientation, physical or mental disabilities, race, gender…etc, we are ALL children of God and we ALL deserve love, respect and a chance to do great things in this world.
I cannot let fear stop me from voicing and doing what I believe is right in situations of injustice, because if you are quiet when it counts, you are a part of the problem.
I love my country, but I hate the division that is happening in my country because of the powers that be. I hate the fear-mongering, the sexism, the homophobia, the racism, the corruption, the hypocrisy, the lies...these things are NOT what we are about. This is not how God asks us to treat one another.
I refuse to accept it.
I WILL speak my mind about it.
I am so encouraged by those peacefully and productively standing up against policies that aim to negate the very values and ideals that make America the great and beautiful country that it is.
If you truly believe that God loves all of us and not just SOME of us. If you truly believe that we are, ALL of us, equal in the eyes of God. If you truly believe that ALL of us deserve an equal opportunity to be great and to do great things in this world with great love. If you are one of the people who preaches that God loves all of us and that #AllLivesMatter ...now would be a damn good time to step up and practice what you preach.
I choose to step up. I choose love. I choose to use my voice for good. I choose to stand with the oppressed and the weary. I choose to do and say what I believe is morally right. I choose to take action when I see injustice happening around me. I chose to engage in thoughtful and productive discussions with those who may not agree with me and those who aim to be a part of the solution and a voice for those who need it most. I chose to not just say I am a Christian, but to act like it too because I chose to take the phrase "What Would Jesus Do" seriously, because it only takes one person to stand up for what is right to engage and inspire more people to do the same. It’s not about being a Republican or a Democrat, or Liberal or Conservative, or Agnostic…it’s about standing up for what you know is right. We can disagree with one another and still do what’s right.
I'm choosing to ignore the folks who tell me to "shut up and sing" because what's happening in our country and in the world right now is more important than whether or not I lose a few fans because they don't agree with me or I'm a little too fiery for them. Because right now, more than ever, it's so important to be a part of the powerful movement of those passionate folks who've chosen to work fiercely to keep our country moving forward in equality and love and to not take part in actions or with those who are actively working to destroy the human rights that so many have fought and died to protect and instill in our country, and in this world.
I have so much love for you guys and I'd like for all of you to stick around. I hope you won't go anywhere. I like that the type of relationship I’ve had with all of you has been an open one from the start and I’d like to hear you out. I'd like us to be able to have reasonable, constructive, adult conversations. I welcome your constructive thoughts and opinions because I will always welcome the opportunity to hear you out and fight for the greater good of ALL people.
But I will not welcome hateful, violent comments or childish name-calling or actions, ever.
"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter."
- Martin Luther King Jr.
We are, right now, in the thick of a very crucial and significant time in the history of our country.
What side of history will you chose to be a part of?
nothin’ but love y’all,
xo - Kari