Hey, everyone! I’ve just been sitting here and pondering life, as I wait for inspiration to
flow through me like a musical river, and my mind came back around to a question that has been plaguing me all my professional life. Why, after all the money I’ve spent and hours I’ve practiced my musical talents, am I not rich like Beyonce?
I guess I should start from the beginning. I’m Melody, a woman in my mid-thirties, and I have a Masters Degree in Piano Performance. Did I go to a big-name conservatory for either of my degrees? No. Did I go to a private, liberal-arts University for my undergrad? I sure did. Do I have regrets about either of those things? Well…that’s a little harder to answer.
See, I’ve been told all my life that I’m talented and that I’d be rich and famous one day because I was such a great pianist. I put a lot of work into it too, and I thought between my being talented, working hard, being humble, and being both a woman AND a racial minority, I was sure I’d have people falling all over themselves to have me come to their colleges or play on their albums. But sadly, that has never been the case. Here I am, in my mid-thirties, and I’m still living hand to mouth, living in a big city, and still have to have a roommate to make ends meet. This is SO not the future I envisioned for myself when I was a little girl, drilling away at my Mozart Sonatas and practicing my scales until my fingers felt like they’d fall off. What happened? I’ll tell you what happened: patriarchal, sexist, and racist Universities and department chairs suckered me into believing that I’d get a great job right out of college (or graduate school) and that I’d be making that mad money if I just “worked hard.” Colleges are just way too expensive (and they were even back then), but you know, they’re not entirely to blame. The evil, lying white men who worked for the government strung my generation along like the Pied Piper of Hamelin, convincing us all that we could just borrow the money from them for college and we’d just easily pay it back when we got a job.
Well, here I am, almost 20 years later, and I’ve got lots of bills to pay, including my massive student loans, and you know what? I’m angry. It just isn’t fair. They (being the lying, evil government) is to blame for my situation. They preyed on me personally just because I’m a woman and a racial minority, and they stuck me like a deadbeat dad with all this debt and now they’re constantly at my door demanding I pay it back. I’m despairing so badly I can barely get out of bed these days, and other musicians and artists know what that kind of lost time in practicing and creating does to your wallet. It’s a vicious cycle I can’t seem to break, and it’s all because of them.
This is why I’m advocating for the forgiveness of my student loan debt. You exploited my hopes and dreams when I was young and naive and you made me believe that I could be rich and famous for following my dreams. I shouldn’t have to pay back loans based on lies! And if this is my situation, I can only imagine how many other women and racial minorities you’ve duped over the last twenty years. Lovelies, the struggle is real and it’s ugly. They’re trying to choke our freedom to make a living as artists and musicians. I know I’m not alone in feeling this way. This racism, sexism, and exploitation has just got to stop. All of us have to ban together and say in a united voice:
We will NOT be stifled!
We demand proper recompense for our hard work!
We will NOT pay back our student loan debt based on your hate-based deception!
We demand BETTER!