Maxwell is hands down one of my favorite artists. Easily. I’ve been listening to this man for over 20 years and this past Thursday, I made that realization as I sat at his concert here in Little Rock. Just watching this amazingly charismatic man so comfortable in his own skin rock it out on stage was magickal.
It made me think about all the reasons that I appreciate Maxwell so much - especially since I’ve been fortunate to see him in concert now twice :-D. My favorite crooner has some awesome life lessons for you if you pay attention ;-).
In reflecting, I believe the number one lesson he offers by example is this: Be comfortable in your own skin at all costs.
Each time I’ve seen Maxwell, he has been his quirky, slightly goofy, dancing crazily but with abandonment self on stage. It’s like he is having the time of his life engaging with us and we just happen to be watching. Pay attention to that statement. He is FULLY engaged with the crowd - totally into them - but not at all concerned whether they are digging him or thinking he is a nutter butter. It’s like he is in his own little world that we are in too. It’s really an amazing thing to behold and be a part of.
I wonder if he learned this early on in his career after his first round of black college tours opening for the Fugees - or if he always had it. Taking you back a bit in my own history, I remember when he came through town during Howard’s Homecoming. People booed him right off the stage. I mean vehemently booed him. I think someone might have even thrown something. It was horrible (and embarrassing to me as a Howardite that we’d act that way!).
I wonder if experiencing something like that multiple times (sadly ours was not the only campus that booed him) created within him a resolve to enjoy who *he* was no matter what and at all costs.
I ask this because Maxwell has not changed. The same bubbly, quirky dude that was on stage back when I was 20 something is the same one that was on stage this past week - just happy to be himself, happy to be doing something he loved, happy to be in that moment with us. Yes, his look has changed (as mine has from the hippy, witchy granola, engineering/viola-playing, hip-hop flowerchild that I was in my early 20s) as he’s grown up and evolved, but his essential essence is very much the same. And that my friends, I can only imagine is no small feat in his industry.
So that, in addition to the pure awesomeness of Maxwell in concert, is what I took away from my experience last Thursday.
The gist is this: You are going to have haters and naysayers. You might have some people that try to push you right out the door with shame and ridicule for what you are trying to do and who you even are at your very core.
The bottom line is that you can’t let it stop you dear. Yes, you can rest. You can recoup. You can even lament (I remember that there was a time when everything was angsty with Maxwell). But past that, you must keep it moving. Your world depends on it and what’s even more magickal is that *THE* world depends on it.
Just like Maxwell inviting us into his world but not being too concerned about whether we liked it or not created this wonderful over 20-year career of his, welcoming others into your world by being unapologetically yourself BUT not really giving too many cares about what someone thinks about it - that’s the difference maker between 20 years of continued, growing awesomeness...and 20 years of misery- pointe blanke. And 20 years of you living in your awesomeness instead of your misery - imagine what kind of ripple effect that would have on the world?
Which one are you going to choose?