+
upworthy
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.

Kevin Bacon's farm songs have become a social media favorite.

When Beyoncé dropped two songs from her upcoming album of country tunes, Renaissance: Act II, she may not have expected to make history, but that's exactly what happened. Her first single from the album, "Texas Hold 'Em," shot to the No.1 spot on the Billboard country music charts, making her the first Black female artist to hit that top spot. The catchy tune also topped the Billboard Hot 100 the last week in February 2024, a week after it debuted at No. 2.

Presumbaly, Queen Bey didn't expect her song to become an Irish stepdance hit, though that's also exactly what happened. And surely she didn't expect it to be sung by Kevin Bacon to a bunch of farm animals, yet that also has happened.

Perhaps we should all have expected that, though. There's a precedent here, after all.

Keep ReadingShow less
Courtesy of Woodell Productions

This speech had all the things, and the Maid of Honor wasn't even there

May we all have a best friend like Ally Lothman.

Lothman had just given birth to her first child (according to Today.com) and was unable to make it to the wedding of her lifelong best friend Michelle Levenson. But Lothman’s Maid of Honor duties were still gloriously fulfilled.

A now-viral video, posted to TikTok by wedding photography and videography company Woodell Productions, shows that even though Lothman couldn’t celebrate in person, her FaceTimed wedding toast managed to bring everyone at the reception—along with everyone who watched online—to tears.
Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

Two brothers Irish stepdancing to Beyoncé's country hit 'Texas Hold 'Em' is pure delight

The Gardiner Brothers and Queen Bey proving that music can unite us all.

Gardiner Brothers/TikTok (with permission)

The Gardiner Brothers stepping in time to Beyoncé's "Texas Hold 'Em."

In early February 2024, Beyoncé rocked the music world by releasing a surprise new album of country tunes. The album, Renaissance: Act II, includes a song called "Texas Hold 'Em," which shot up the country charts—with a few bumps along the way—and landed Queen Bey at the No.1 spot.

As the first Black female artist to have a song hit No. 1 on Billboard's country music charts, Beyoncé once again proved her popularity, versatility and ability to break barriers without missing a beat. In one fell swoop, she got people who had zero interest in country music to give it a second look, forced country music fans to broaden their own ideas about what country music looks like and prompted conversations about bending and blending musical genres and styles.

And she inspired the Gardiner Brothers to add yet another element to the mix—Irish stepdance.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

People think everyone should experience these things 'at least once in their lifetime'

Things like seeing an eclipse and having a true best friend make life worth living.

Representative Images from Canva

Here are some things everyone should experience once in their lifetime

If there’s one thing human beings all have in common, it’s our shared impermanence. No matter our race, gender, social class, wealth status, health regimen, moral code, political leaning, or any other divisive element, we all get one life. One life to hopefully fill with as many memorable, soul nourishing, expansive experiences as possible.

But let’s face it, there are more experiences available that there are days and hours in which to do them. Therefore, we have to use discernment. So, which experiences are truly must-haves in our all-too-limited time on this planet?

The answers to this question are undoubtedly personal, but perhaps some things, just like the inevitable exit of mortal coil, are universal.

According to a recent discussion on Ask Reddit, here are things one must absolutely “experience at least once in their lifetime”:
Keep ReadingShow less
Family

Helicopter's thermal imaging helps save a young autistic girl lost in a Florida swamp

“I just love how the deputy greeted her. What a beautiful ending. You guys are the best!”

A deputy locates a missing girl in a Florida swamp.

A 5-year-old with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) wandered off into a swamp near Tampa, Florida, around 5:00 pm on Monday, February 26. The good news is that the girl was saved in about an hour thanks to the work of some brave sheriff’s officers and their incredible thermal technology.

The girl wandered from her home and was quickly reported missing by her family to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Department. The sheriff quickly dispatched its aviation unit that used thermal imaging technology to scan the nearby swamplands to try to find the young girl before nightfall.

Thermal imaging technology captures images based on the heat emitted by objects, allowing us to see temperature differences even in the dark, making it super handy for night vision and heat detection. The thermal technology helped the officers quickly identify the girl from high above the trees.

Keep ReadingShow less
Family

10 things kids get in trouble for that adults get away with all the time

Why do we expect children to have more self-control than grown-ups?

Photo by Keren Fedida on Unsplash

Kids know when we're being hypocritical.

Raising kids is tough and no parent does it perfectly. Each child is different, each has their own personalities, strengths and challenges, and each of them requires something different from their parents in order to flourish.

But there's one thing that parents have long said, with their actions if not with their words, that justifiably drives kids bonkers: "Do as I say, not as I do."

To be fair, both moral and actual law dictate that there are things that adults can do that kids can't. Children can't drive or consume alcohol, for example, so it's not hypocritical for adults to do those things while telling kids they cannot. There are other things—movies, TV shows, books, etc.—that parents have to decide whether their kids are ready for or not based on their age and developmental stage, and that's also to be expected.

But there are some gaps between what adults do and what they expect kids to do that aren't so easy to reconcile.

Keep ReadingShow less