“I Know Where I’ve Been” from Hairspray
After the election results were announced, I was devastated. I was upset. I was frustrated. I was scared.
Immediately after I found out I posted this on Facebook:
I’m scared. I’m scared for me.. I’m scared for my future children.. I’m scared for our world.. I’m scared..
I didn’t know what was going to happen. I had seen what awfulness this election brought, I was scared it was only going to be given a bigger voice. I was scared that all our progress was going to be thrown down the drain. I was scared for more bigotry, more misogyny, more xenophobia, more LGBTQ bashing, more racism.
It took me a while to get my head back into “school mode,” when all I could think of what was to possibly come. But in the effort to maintain my good grades, I attempted to study for my test. I was obviously looking forward to NBC’s Hairspray: Live! (because I loooove all of the Hairsprays before) So in an effort to boost my motivation to study I played the soundtrack on shuffle.
When this song came on, I immediately stopped. Though this song was written in 2001, based on a movie from 1988 which was set in the 1960’s, I felt automatically connected to it. It felt so perfect for today. It felt like a battle cry.
“So you tried once and you failed. We can’t get lazy when things get crazy. Children, you were not the first to try and you won’t be the last, but I am here to tell you that I’m gonna keep lining up until someday somebody breaks through. And I’ve been looking at that door a lot longer than you.”
-Motormouth Maybelle (Act 2, Scene 4)
I absolutely love this mini monologue she says before she sings, it only intensifies the gravity of the song. It makes her song hit you harder. You know when she says that something goods gonna come soon.
This song comforted me at that time. I had it on repeat for weeks, maybe months. It reminded me that though people may suffer, we are mighty. We must stand up and fight. The reward is worth it. We must press on because it would be a shame not to.
“There’s a road we must travel
There’s a promise we must make
Oh, but the riches, the riches will be plenty
Worth the risks and the chances that we take
There’s a dream, yeah, in the future
There’s a struggle that we have yet to win
Use that pride in our hearts to lift us up to tomorrow
‘Cause just to sit still would be a sin
I know it, I know it, I know where I’m going
Lord knows I know where I’ve been
Oh, when we win, I’ll give thanks to my God
‘Cause I know where I’ve been”