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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.

True

Music’s biggest night took place Sunday, February 4 with the 66th Annual GRAMMY Awards. Now, fans have the opportunity to take home a piece of the famed event.

Longtime GRAMMY Awards partner Mastercard is using this year’s campaign to shine a light on the environment and the Priceless Planet Coalition (PPC), a forest restoration program with the goal of restoring 100 million trees. Music fans are 1.5 times more likely to take action to help the environment, making the GRAMMY Awards the perfect opportunity to raise awareness.

“Through our GRAMMY Awards campaign, we’ve created an opportunity for our brand, our partners and consumers to come together over shared values, to participate during a moment when we can celebrate our passion for music and our commitment to make meaningful investments to preserve the environment,” says Rustom Dastoor, Executive Vice President of Marketing and Communications, North America at Mastercard.

The campaign kicked off with an inspired self-guided multi-sensory tour at the GRAMMY House presented by Mastercard, where people journeyed through their passion of music and educational experience about Mastercard’s longstanding commitment to tree restoration. Then, this year’s most-nominated GRAMMY artist and a passionate voice for the environment, SZA, led the charge with the debut performance of her new song, Saturn.

Mastercard’s partners are also joining the mission by encouraging people all over the country to participate; Lyft and Sirius XM are both offering ways for consumers to get involved in the Priceless Planet Coalition. To learn more about how you can support these efforts, visit mastercard.com/forceofnature.

While fashion is always a highlight of any GRAMMY Awards event, SZA’s outfit worn during her performance of Saturn was designed to make a statement; made of tree seeds to help spread awareness. Fans can even comment ‘🌱’ and tag a friend on Mastercard’s designated post of SZA’s GRAMMY House performance for a chance to win a tree seed from the performance outfit*.

“SZA has a personal passion for sustainability – not just in forest restoration but in the clothes she wears and the platforms and partners she aligns herself with. It was important to us to partner with someone who is not only showing up big at the GRAMMY Awards – as the most GRAMMY-nominated artist this year – but also showing up big for the environment,” says Dastoor.

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Family

Smart mom leaves babysitter a list of 'add-on' chores to make more money if she chooses

“You are more than welcome to hang out and watch TV all night, but if you want to make some extra $, these jobs are up for grabs.”

via KIvanKC/TikTok and KIvanKC/TikTok. Images used with permission.

Katrina Ivan's list for her babysitter.

A mother in Missouri has found a way to maximize date night with her husband. She left a note for her babysitter, giving her options to make more side cash by completing small tasks around the home.

The goal was to have a night out and to return to a cleaner and better-organized home. It makes sense. Most of the time, babysitters just sit around while the kid sleeps, so why not make their time more productive and profitable?

Katrina Ivan, a science teacher, posted the list she sent her babysitter on TikTok and the video received over 1.5 million views.

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Photo by Adam Gonzales on Unsplash

A seafaring lifestyle from the comfort of home.

Imagine spending every day exploring wondrous locations, eating expertly crafted meals, enjoying year-round indulgence … could there be anything better?

Taking a lifelong cruise might sound like something out of a dream, and an unrealistic one at that. But leaving the land behind and adopting a seafaring lifestyle is now more attainable than ever.

By 2024, cruise line Storylines will launch a 741-foot ship dubbed the MV Narrative, a huge vessel containing 547 fully furnished rooms available for purchase or lease.

The cruise will definitely be the stuff of luxury, with its high-end spas, movie theater, yoga sun deck, state-of-the-art fitness center, art studio … it even has a bowling alley, for crying out loud. But being a “residential community at sea,” there will also be things like a library, post office, school and bank.
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popular

6 alternatives to saying 'let me know if you need anything' to someone in crisis

If someone is drowning, you don't wait for them to ask for help. You just take action.

People going through major struggles don't always know what they need or how to ask for help.

When we see someone dealing with the loss of a loved one or some other major life crisis, it's instinctual for many of us to ask how we can help. Often, the conversation looks something like this:

Us: I am SO sorry you're going through this. What can I do to help?

Person in crisis: I honestly don't know right now.

Us: Okay…well…you let me know if you need anything—anything at all.

Person in crisis: Okay, thank you.

Us: I mean it. Don't hesitate to ask. I'm happy to help with whatever you need.

And then…crickets. The person never reaches out to take you up on the offer.

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Education

Incredible audio shows what WWI sounded like when the guns and bombs just suddenly stopped

It's both beautiful and haunting to hear the ceasefire silence at the agreed-upon 11th hour.

Much of World War I was fought in trenches.

On November 11, 1918, U.S.soldier Robert Casey wrote from the American front in Western Europe:

And this is the end of it. In three hours the war will be over. It seems incredible even as I write it. I suppose I ought to be thrilled and cheering. Instead I am merely apathetic and incredulous … There is some cheering across the river—occasional bursts of it as the news is carried to the advanced lines. For the most part, though, we are in silence … With all is a feeling that it can’t be true. For months we have slept under the guns … We cannot comprehend the stillness.

It was the 11th day of the 11th month, and the war was scheduled to end with a ceasefire at the 11th hour—11:00 a.m. exactly. It had been four years of bloody, brutal fighting in what would later be called World War I. (Ironically, the war that was dubbed "the war to end all wars.")

The sense of relief at the ceasefire had to have been palpable, and thanks to modern technology, we can get an idea of what it sounded like to have the constant gunfire, artillery shells, fighter planes and bombs just…stop.

The following audio is not a recording, since magnetic tape recording technology didn't exist in WWI. It's a sound recreation based on visual "sound ranging" recordings the military used to determine where enemy fire was coming from. Special units placed microphones in the ground and used photographic film to visually record the noise intensity of gunfire, similarly to how seismometer measures an earthquake.

The lines you see in the film below are vibrations from noises at the River Moselle on the American Front, which were interpreted by sound company Coda to Coda using meticulous research on the kinds of weaponry that would have been used and how far away they were, even taking into account the geography of the area.

The result is the sounds soldiers would have heard during the last minute of World War I. Listen:

The little bird chirp at the end really punctuates it, doesn't it? Beautiful, yet haunting.

The fact that there was an exact minute when opposing forces agreed to lay down their arms and then did so is a bit surreal. If you know you're going to stop shooting, why wait for a few hours and keep shooting one another? Why not just say, "Stop, we're done now"? Communication took time and the various forces needed to be informed of the ceasefire agreement, so it makes some sense, but still. The armistice agreement was signed six hours before the ceasefire. In those six hours—when peace had already been agreed upon—3,000 soldiers were killed. Talk about senseless deaths.

Of all the things humans have devised and systematized, war is probably the weirdest. Leaders get into disputes over political or geographic particulars, and then one says, "I'm going to send my people to kill your people." Another responds, "If your people kill my people, then my people will kill your people." Then the worst of human atrocities are perpetrated by people who would normally never dream of doing such things to one another until, at some point, they've all have had enough of the senseless destruction, the leaders come to some kind of agreement and say, "OK, our people will no longer kill each other. Good talk."

Of course, it's all a bit more complicated than that, but at the same time, it's not. War as a concept is simply stupid and stupidly simple. Humanity in general does seem to have grasped the stupidity of it, as we've been making global progress toward a more peaceful world for many decades. But as conflicts ignite and violence explode in certain regions, we feel the tenuousness of that progress, which makes peacemaking skills all the more valuable.

Twenty million people were killed in WWI, more than half of them civilians. Many of them died from famine and disease brought on by the conditions of war. This audio is a reminder that these things don't just happen—they are choices that human beings make. Destruction and diplomacy are both choices. Retaliation and restoration are choices. War and peace are choices.

We've tried choosing war followed by peace, many times over. Maybe we should try choosing peace without having to go through the stupid, senseless killing part first.

Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young perform in 1970.

Nineteen-sixty-nine was a pivotal year in American culture. The hippies and the counterculture were ascendant, and everything that came before in entertainment was as square as can be.

In cinema, there was the world before and after 1969’s “Easy Rider.” In music, the Woodstock Music and Arts Fair was a defining moment for the new era, and on television, the anti-establishment “Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour” divided households over its anti-war stance.

In September of that year, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young (CSN&Y) were asked to play a duet with Welsh singer Tom Jones on his television show and the pairing was a perfect example of the culture clash. Jones was famous for his hit songs “It’s Not Unusual” and “What’s New Pussycat?” and was adept at dodging panties being thrown at him by the adoring ladies in the audience.

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@soimjenn/Instagram, used with permission

You never know where chance encounter might lead.

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On Instagram, Jenn wrote “I’m still shaking looking at this,” sharing a photo taken in Oct 2012, where she appeared to be enjoying a drink at what appears to be a theater.

Behind her we see a bearded man casually standing with a backpack. That man was apparently Jon. Both were completely oblivious to their future significant others.

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