+
Joy

Jon Batiste shares a beautiful story about the 'healing properties' of art

During his wife Suleika Jaouad's chemotherapy, Batiste created sweet lullabies to help her feel less alone.

jon batiste

Jon Batiste in 2020.

For Jon Batiste, it could be said that the Grammys this year were the best of times and the worst of times.

On the same day that the artist racked up a total of 11 award nominations and five wins—a pinnacle for any music career—his personal life had also reached a pivotal point, though it wasn't nearly as joyous. His newlywed wife Suleika Jaouad had begun chemotherapy for leukemia, after being diagnosed for a second time.

Batiste told CBS that they received the bad news only eight days before the awards ceremony, also right before his 35th birthday. Lots of big life changes. Some spectacular. Others … not so much.

Despite the fear and uncertainty, one thing has kept their spirits up: the healing power of art.


Jaouad, who wrote a bestselling memoir about her previous cancer diagnosis, described it as “holding the absolutely…gutting, heartbreaking, painful things and the beautiful, soulful things in the same palm of one hand.”

She added, “It's hard to do that, but you have to do that, because otherwise the grief takes over."

And just when grief threatened to take over once again, it was met with love and creativity.

The couple had only been officially married since February (which Batiste recalled as a “beautiful evening,” using bread ties to tie the knot instead of wedding bands) just before Jaouad had been scheduled for a bone marrow transplant.

The thought of a honeymoon being in a hospital room is probably not on anyone’s vision board, but the omicron surge meant that even this wasn’t an option. Jaouad told her husband that not being able to share this harrowing experience together felt like “hollow suffering.”

That’s when Batiste got to writing.

After being hunched over his laptop for half an hour, Batiste presented a sweet, soothing lullaby to his wife from afar, to assure her that she was not alone.

“It felt like he was right there sleeping by my bedside,” she shared. From that point on, every night meant a new lullaby for wifey.

As the Lady With the Lamp herself, Florence Nightingale once observed, “variety of form and brilliancy of colour in the objects presented to patients have a powerful effect and are actual means of recovery.” These effects have been (and continue to be) thoroughly researched and documented. Whether it’s through music, movement, visual arts or writing, art can be a refuge during crisis, providing an outlet to reduce anxiety, express difficult emotions and recover a sense of wholeness.

Scientific studies help validate the notion, but many know this already, at least on some intuitive level. Art is something every culture practices, after all. And as a creative couple, it’s something that Batiste and Jaouad know quite viscerally.

“Fill the room with these healing properties,” Batiste told CBS. “For me, [music is] my way. Everybody will have their way, you know, but seek that. Meditate on that. Focus on those things. Find those things."

In addition to listening to lullabies, Jaouad has spent her time “finding some form of creative expression to express what feels impossible to express, to express the unendurable.”

This includes creating paintings and bedazzling her walker, trading out the dread for a small dose of happiness.

Especially in times of upheaval, every dose matters.

via Chewy

Adorable Dexter and his new chew toy. Thanks Chewy Claus.

True

Every holiday season, millions of kids send letters asking for everything from a new bike to a pony. Some even make altruistic requests such as peace on Earth or helping struggling families around the holidays.

But wouldn’t the holiday season be even more magical if our pets had their wishes granted, too? That’s why Chewy Claus is stepping up to spread holiday cheer to America’s pets.

Does your dog dream of a month’s supply of treats or chew toys? Would your cat love a new tree complete with a stylish condo? How about giving your betta fish some fresh decor that’ll really tie its tank together?

Or do your pets need something more than mere creature comforts such as life-saving surgery?

Keep ReadingShow less
Photo by Jeremy Wong on Unsplash

Teen raises $186,000 to help Walmart worker retire.

In America, many people have to work well past the age of retirement to make ends meet. While some of these people choose to work past retirement age because it keeps them active, some older people, like Nola Carpenter, 81, work out of necessity.

Carpenter has been working at Walmart for 20 years, way beyond most people's retirement age just so that she can afford to continue to pay her mortgage. When 19-year-old Devan Bonagura saw the woman looking tired in the break room of the store, he posted a video to his TikTok of Carpenter with a text overlay that said, "Life shouldn't b this hard..." complete with a sad face emoji.

In the video, Carpenter is sitting at a small table looking down and appearing to be exhausted. The caption of the video reads ":/ I feel bad." Turns out, a lot of other people did too, and encouraged the teen to start a GoFundMe, which has since completed.

Keep ReadingShow less

Philadelphia is taking the city back to the past.

Remember when calling your parents, a tow truck or a friend when you were out and about meant digging in your pocket for a quarter to make a pay phone call? Well, a Philadelphia-based collective, PhilTel, is jumping into the past with a modern twist, by installing free-to-use pay phones throughout the city.

Of course, the pay phones that many of us grew up were removed from public places years ago. There no longer seemed to be a need for them when most people had a phone in their pocket or in their hand. But it's easy to forget that not everyone has or wants that luxury. For some people, staying that connected all the time can be too much and for others, it's simply financially impossible to own a cell phone.

Keep ReadingShow less

Sandler's daughters held nothing back.

Clearly the funny gene runs in the Sandler family. Comedy aficionado Adam Sandler just proved it after reading an insanely funny acceptance speech, which was allegedly written by his two teenage daughters— Sunny, 14, and Sadie, 16. It was such a savage roast, one is compelled to not doubt the claim.

The event was the prestigious Gotham Awards in New York, where Sandler was set to accept a Lifetime Achievement Award. Michelle Williams and the late Sidney Poitier were also honored, just to give you an idea as to how highbrow this event was.

But did that stop Sandler’s daughter from going all out? It did not. They were hilariously ruthless.

Keep ReadingShow less
popular

Think all cats are the same? These pictures prove they each have their own personality

Photographer Nils Jacobi shows how cats aren't nearly as aloof as one might think.

All images used with Nils Jacobi's permission. @furryfritz/Instagram

Catographer purrfectly captures cats' purrsonalities.

People often mistakingly attribute a singular personality to cats—usually the words "aloof" or "snobby" are used to describe them. At best, they might be given the "evil genius" label. But in actuality, no two cats are alike. Each has their own distinct ways of being, whether that’s silly, sophisticated, affectionate, downright diabolical or somewhere in between.

This photographer has the pictures to prove it.

Nils Jacobi, better known online as furryfritz, the catographer, has photographed literally thousands upon thousands of cats—from Maine coons who look like they should be in a perfume ad to tabbies in full-on derp mode.
Keep ReadingShow less