I think it was because of my dad that our house was filled with books. I know it was because of my dad that our house was filled with records. And I know without a doubt it was because of him that I wanted to sing.
I know it is because of my son that I wanted to write this blog. I think it is because I want him to know himself and his world as fully as possible, and to know his part in it. He never met my dad, but I know if they had had the chance to meet I probably would only see my child a few hours a week – he’d always be off somewhere with his grandpa.
Lastly, I know it is because of my mother’s love and prayers that I continue to live and breathe. Every Sunday during my childhood, we listened to gospel music and had church at home. “oh! Happy Day” is as perfect a childhood song as any I can think of, and it’s message of gratitude, hope, redemption and joy has sustained me many times since those days.
So, I dedicate “How I Got Over – African American History Through Music” to Vincent Bernarr Johns, my dad, Lois Diane Ridenour, my mom, and Ngozi Rafael Johns, my son. I truly love you all.