Music Mondays! Favorite Find: Brother Ali (Slice of Life)

As you saw on the “Distinct Days” post, Mondays are designated for music! Also, since I discover amazing music through podcasts and my friends, I am starting an Artist Spotlight. I know you’re thinking that too much new information to take in 😮 BUT I am the only one who will need to keep track, you just enjoy reading and write comments if you wish!

The first ever Favorite Find is BROTHER ALI – his hip hop songs tell it like it is with emotion (very honest style and catchy beats). After listening to World Cafe on my commute home, I learned that Brother Ali is an albino muslim who has a black son. He was inspired by Malcolm X and his beliefs, and put his feelings in writing. The lyrics are so moving that I listen to each one multiple times to take out the most interesting parts! As a writer and active listener, lyrics often lurch at me first in a song and I think every should listen to what this man has to say.

My favorite of the songs he played on the show were called “Dear Black Son” and “Pray for Me” (youtube videos below). They both discuss race and how to deal with being different as a child in our world today.


As an educator, these songs stood out to me because children really should hear from pop culture and they emulate beauty in words they can understand. Music is a big part of my life, and I want to incorporate into the classroom. I already have a lesson in mind for analyzing the lyrics as poetry and maybe having the students write their own poem “Dear..” (to their younger siblings or parents) with advice. The theme for the school year is gratitude and the students could connect to being grateful for what they have – *my teaching wheels are turning!!*

Anyway, I hope you love these two songs and will look into Brother Ali’s music 🙂 With everything that is going on today all over the world, having songs that speak the truths is important. My tendency is to stay in my bubble and live with positivity, but it is necessary to stay informed and face the real world at times (if not all the time). I pasted the link to the World Cafe episode below with his interview and more songs.

Keep an eye out for other Favorite Finds and hear about more music next Monday!!

What artist (musical or otherwise) inspires you at the moment?

17 thoughts on “Music Mondays! Favorite Find: Brother Ali (Slice of Life)

  1. Love the idea of using lyrics in our teaching. We as educators should weave our passions into our teaching in meaningful ways. Your ideas to have the children think about and capture gratitude in letters is fabulous. I’d love to see you students writing if you do this work!

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  2. Lyrics are great in the classroom, aren’t they? I recall when I was a student teacher, the class teacher proving to the group that they could write they’re own pop song by distributing the words to the T Rex classic ‘Get it on’. Very funny, but it worked!

    At the other end, the last song that moved me was Dire Straits ‘Romeo and Juliet’ – what a fabulous re-imagining! Been thinking about writing a piece for Vinyl Connection (my other – music-focussed- blog). The last piece I wrote about at Lonely Keyboards was a memoir/parenting story around Harry Chapin’s ‘Cats in the cradle’.

    Your article has me buzzing with ideas. Thanks!

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  3. Thanks for teaching me about a new musician. I too want to add more music to my teacher but being in my 5th decade, I tend to still hold onto my 80s oldies. I love the Talking Heads – I danced to This Must Be the Place as my first dance at my wedding. Check out those lyrics when you get a chance – they still speak to my husband and I who just celebrated our 30th Anniversary, “making it up as we go along”. I’m teaching 6th graders this year after years at 3rd. I will definitely plan to follow your blog and “steal” some of your great teaching ideas related to music! Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

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