Looks like we need to learn basic humanity again.
It's amazing that we can live in a world that produces trending hashtags like #BeKind and #AllLivesMatter one minute, and then expresses outrage at an "invasion" of desperate migrants in dinghies the next. It's astounding that we are still fighting for equal rights for black people in 2020. And it's frankly incredible that everyday people are at each others throats about wearing face masks when people are still dying everyday from Covid-19.
It's time that we all took a look at ourselves and made the decision to be the best, most compassionate version of ourselves that we can be. Let our Be Kind playlist inspire you to be a friend to everyone.
1. You've Got A Friend In Me - Randy Newman
"When the road looks rough ahead/ And you're miles and miles/ From your nice warm bed/ You just remember what your old pal said/ Boy, you've got a friend in me"
The Oscar-nominated soundtrack to 1995's beloved Toy Story is one of the most iconic songs about friendship. We may not be toys in the same toybox, but we are all human beings on the same planet and we should be prepared to stand by those who need us.
2. Where Is The Love? - Black Eyed Peas
"People killin', people dyin'/ Children hurtin', hear them cryin'/ Can you practice what you preach?/ And would you turn the other cheek?"
Usually, reflecting on music from 2003 brings back memories of a bunch of songs that we only now enjoy ironically, but Where Is The Love? is a stark reminder that the world is yet to change. It highlights a number of different issues from terrorism to gang culture, and re-entered the charts upon the 10th anniversary of its release.
3. Ebony and Ivory - Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder
"We all know that people are the same whereever you go/ There is good and bad in ev'ryone/ We learn to live, when we learn to give/ Each other what we need to survive"
It's been 38 years since the release of this iconic track but it's no less meaningful in today's environment than it was then. It featured on McCartney's Tug of War album and was inspired by a figure of speech first popularised by James Aggrey in the 1920s.
4. Imagine - John Lennon
"Imagine there's no countries/ It isn't hard to do/ Nothing to kill or die for/ And no religion, too/ Imagine all the people/ Living life in peace"
Imagine, simply, that one could flee the dangers of their own country and be welcomed with open arms into a country who would keep them safe. It should be taken as read that those who need refuge should be given it, but a privileged few feel they are entitled to take ownership of the patch of land on which they live. John Lennon may have been radical, but this 1971 song about peace will be ringing true for centuries more to come.
5. Redemption Song - Bob Marley & The Wailers
"Won't you help to sing/ These songs of freedom?/ 'Cause all I ever have/ Redemption songs"
While struggling with his own mortality following his cancer diagnosis, Bob Marley wrote this song of freeing oneself from the things that keep one bitter and resentful. Inspired by the Pan-Africanist Marcus Garvey, it was a spiritual ballad quite apart from his usual reggae sound.
6. He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother - The Hollies
"So long we go, his welfare is my concern/ No burdon is he to bear, we'll get there/ But I know he would not encumber me/ He ain't heavy - he's my brother"
Based on a Christian parable about a little girl struggling to carry her not-much-littler brother, this song shows us how we should treat each and every one of our fellow people as if they were family, and afford those who need support the same effort and unconditional love that we naturally afford those closest to us. It was originally recorded by Kelly Gordon in 1969, but went on to become a hit for The Hollies soon after.
7. The Times They Are A-Changin' - Bob Dylan
"There's a battle outside and it is ragin'/ It'll soon shake your windows and rattle your walls/ For the times they are a-changin'"
Bob Dylan was just 23 when he released this timeless political anthem, and not a year has gone by when it has no longer been relevent. Politicians would do well to heed the words of the Nobel Prize winner, because in 56 years, the waters around us really have grown.