In every fight that is right, there is its own kind of beauty. Found, you know it instantly. A truth in the beauty of the dreams, hopes, and wishes. To be outspoken is an accusation too often foisted upon women and anyone with challenged societal leverage when they confront inequity and injustice. The truth is that fearlessness and courage are not so much attributes, but rather necessities.
The strength of Abbey Lincoln is, and was, relatable to many. Poetic, singular, guarded expression that did not suppress intent, but instead burned brightly with boldness. It simmered and smouldered with as much heat. When you first listen, you cannot help but listen intensely. The message shared could leave you breathless and exhausted as you willingly pace and catch up to the what of what is being said — even if that what is what you have heard before. Her emotions become yours, and if they seem foreign, they are bold enough to make you explore their deeper places.
Audacious radicalism is not a strange place for jazz but, like being labelled “outspoken,” being that way in a world not ready to fully accept some of its messengers presented a challenge. Lincoln did not shy away. We are all better because of her depth and focus. Political and social context was as alive in the way she delivered a song. It was as alive as her life. Life hides little while too many living it exhaust themselves trying hard to hide things from it.