Amidst the barrage of economic bad news, social revolt, and the superfluous press lavished on such superficial role models like the Kardashian sisters, we at IndieWomanMag find ourselves more determined to shut off all the media polluting noise and remain committed to finding our own truth, creating our own heroes, and finding our own sources of inspiration. There are a lot of extraordinary human beings out there who yearn for substance and choose to connect by sharing their ideals despite negative influences, busy lives, or personal obstacles. Those people do not reside inside a TV screen. They are not accessible by remote control. And you won’t find them on E Entertainment. On the contrary, they are often within arm’s length – neighbors, teachers, acquaintances, friends. When was the last time you connected with someone in your community, or even with your own friends and family?
Meet our next IndieWoman Model: Chana Rothman, a former Brooklynite now residing in Philadelphia. I have recently and serendipitously met this remarkable woman in the guise of a neighbor no less. She is not only a young mother to a beautiful one-year-old boy, but also an activist, educator, and a talented singer songwriter. Her agenda is simple and to the point: speak, or in her case sing the truth, to unite people and inspire change. Through her funky and unique fusion of world, folk, jazz and reggae beats Chana Rothman doesn’t shy away from calling out our legacy of capitalist greed, the ‘false’ American dream, and her vision for a better world. Her newest CD Beautiful Land, prominently inspired by time spent in Jamaica and South Africa, is like a storybook weaving pressing social agendas with a biographical quest for personal identity, truth, and a call for change and liberation. Speaking of her experience in those latter places, Chana shares that she was struck by people’s incredible resilience. “Despite having been savagely and systemically oppressed, locals were kind and generous, sharing stories, food, and song. I wanted to write a song honoring these extraordinary people and the land where they live,” hence the inspiration for the song and album title Beautiful Land. “There’s a universality to their struggles and triumphs that everyone can respect and relate to, whether they are world travelers or simply heading around the corner to buy milk. I didn’t set out to write a hit; I set out to give voice to a story of survival.” Her poetry and wit marry perfectly in the latter song and also in my favorite and super catchy tune on this album, Inadequate, which pretty much embodies Chana and her reverberating message in a nutshell:
I’ve got scabs on my skin, I’ve got knots in my hair
And my chest feels tight when I breathe in the air
I’ve got a few extra pounds, I wish they weren’t there
I try to convince myself that I don’t even care
But there’s subliminal messaging of which I’ve got to be aware
Expecting us to look like models in our underwear
See, I’m a human being – Eastern European
And my people aren’t known for being long, tall & lean
So how do I reconcile what they taught me as a child:
I’m “beautiful outside & in”, but only skinny girls win??!?
I feel inadequate
And I’m sick of it
But I’m not gonna quit
Nuh nuh nuh NOT YET
There’s a discrepancy in what they’re telling me
And what seems to be in this industry
So they left me on my own to try to figure it out
They tell me “it’s all good” but what are they talkin about?
They say “American Dream” I say it ain’t what it seems
You’ve got to go to the extreme just to see a little green
Sacrifice your pride, suck it up deep inside, wait for the pain to subside
And get back on the ride
This is the recipe, and you’ll hear it repeatedly
But it still ain’t helping me or my family….
To see Chana rock it out check her out on her YouTube Channel at: youtube.com/chanarothman. This chanteuse is as much a social activist as an idealist with a profound sense for global community and kinship. She has been teaching music and leading workshops geared towards youth and communities worldwide for over ten years. You will not find this woman standing on the sidelines. Most recently, aside from touring nationally and internationally, she partook in and performed at such landmark demonstrations as Occupy Wall Street. Like a loving yet cool mother Chana gets her groove on and urges us to wake up, stand up, and not give up. At the core, her message is pure unadulterated love – love for self, and love for each other. The superficial media and news pollution exalting to fame inauthentic role models has finally been replaced and drowned out by a real and authentic role model with an angelic voice.
Chana Rothman performs regularly between New York City and Philadelphia. Beautiful Land is available digitally and in stores on December 6, 2011. For more information, news and upcoming shows, visit www.chanarothman.com, www.facebook.com/chanarothman, www.twitter.com/chanarothman.
Be sure to spread the love and share the soulful music of this genuine uber role model, because together we can make a difference and rewire our thought forms with positive vibrations.