Friday, January 15, 2016

Year 6: Week 18 - A Lesson On David Bowie

This week I taught my kids about David Bowie.  Here's the lecture I have my 8th graders.  If you are interested on my thoughts on "Space Oddity" check out this post.

I want you to think about these facts:

In America:
24% of teachers are men
8.4% of marriages interracial
5.6% of people are Asian-American
2% of teachers are Asian-American

And 1.6% of men on earth are 5”4’

In almost every aspect of who I am, I am not in the majority. The things that make me an individual, the things about myself that I’m most proud of, set me apart from most other people in our country. It has taken me most of my life to embrace the things that make me an individual.

What make you special, what makes you an individual will often set you apart from other people.  In this way, being yourself can be a very lonely but it's one of the most important things you do in your life.

When people think of David Bowie, they think of his music, his acting and his art but most of all people think of a person who was brave enough to be different, to be the person he wanted to be regardless of what other people said.

Even though interracial marriage was legal for decades, when David Bowie married Iman, it was still a big deal to have a public figure be involved in an interracial marriage. As a young boy seeing pictures of them together, it opened up my mind to the possibility that marriage could be between people of difference races. No one told me that I couldn’t marry someone outside of my race but this didn’t really seem like a possibility until I saw the beautiful images of David Bowie and Iman as a couple.

Bowie’s music was imaginative, ground-breaking and beautiful. He use of harmony and his chord progressions were fascinating and challenging. Bowie’s lyrics were haunting, profound, and insightful. He never settled as an artist, and worlds he created with his music are unique and unforgettable.

I look around this room and I see guys wearing clothing with bright colors, shoes with neon accents. There are girls with interesting trim on their glasses and some really cool designs on some shirts. Once upon a time, men didn’t have as many options with the color clothing they wore. Girls were limited as well in their fashion choices. When people like David Bowie were brave enough to push those barriers, dress in crazy ways that sometimes made people question whether he was a man or a woman, it set our culture down a path that allowed the rest of us to be a little weird and embrace the expression of individuality as beauty.

Being an individual can be lonely and when someone has the bravery to an individual in front of the entire world, it makes the loneliness not feel so bad. David Bowie did that for millions of people and he did that for me.

This is “Space Oddity,” his most famous song. He’s tells a great story and it’s a got a beautiful chord progression and melody.  The instruments and Bowie's voice create an amazing journey that and matter how many times I experience this song, it always makes me feel less alone in the world.

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