Follow the Hot Seat Records Playlist
Angie is a lifetime arts advocate and leader with proven and documented success who is looking for benefactors to help her keep launching forward. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Some of the podcasts, television appearances, radio interviews, articles and videos that feature Angie and her work:
- World Music Foundation
- Parrot TV (New York)
- TMJ4 Milwaukee
- Grafton Chamber of Commerce
- Riverwest Radio
- Milwaukee Rep
- Paramount Records: The Key to Understanding Black History and the Foundation of American Music
- Sessions with Sandy
- Grave Stories with TR Rongstad
- Music Interview with Z.M. Wise
- Delta Download Mississippi Blog
- Livia Peterson Feature Story
- Creativity Portal
- Women as Visionaries
- Amerika’s Addiction
Follow Ozaukee Talent on Facebook to see samples of work
Follow Ozaukee Talent on Instagram to see samples of work
Who are the Innocent?
by Angie Mack Reilly (c) 2020
Who are the innocent?
Yes. The unborn are innocent.
And the sexually abused
are also innocent.
Those wrongly stolen from are innocent.
Those who are falsely accused are innocent.
Animals are innocent.
Our environment is innocent.
Those who are sick
and refused care
The frail can be innocent.
The racially targeted are innocent.
Justice for all?
Is there justice for the innocent?
How can one group of innocent
be more important than another
group of innocent?
Those who did not commit a crime
Who is defending the innocent?
Perhaps your party and my party
are defending different kinds of innocence?
I don’t see society defending the innocent
like it once did.
I see people denying the innocence
and refusing to look at it altogether.
Even destroying innocence.
Denying medical assistance to kids.
Photo taken by Angie Mack Reilly at a hate rally in West Allis
The Girl with the Colorful Mind
(c) 2004 Anglea K. Mack
Photo by Angie Mack Reilly
Joy was playing in the corner. She loved the fresh smell of wood in the woodworking station in Mrs. Garphy’s kindergarten room. She especially enjoyed that particular spot because it was quiet. Other than the music corner, it was the only place in the room that made any sense to her. The corner enabled her to think, to feel, and to be her own person. The other children usually preferred the train station, the housekeeping station, and the painting station which left the woodworking station to be a place of solitude. It was a place where she could explore with her hands and her mind as she whistled like her father.
“Joy, it’s time to clean up and come over to the art table. We are going to work on our Christmas crafts”, said plump Mrs. Garphy in her soft “teacher” voice. “I hate the art table,” thought Joy as she smelled each piece of smooth wood before dropping it into the yellow bin. She heard a lot of noise in the room. As she looked behind her, the other children were cleaning their stations as well. Marcie was cleaning up the housekeeping station. No, she was actually bossing the other children to clean up for her. “Look at Marcie,” murmured Joy. “She thinks she is so great because she has long shiny blond hair. She always has to be the mom.”
Joy hated the housekeeping station. She hated being bossed by Marcie. Joy played in there once, but never again after being told by Marcie that she had to be the “baby brother” while the other children laughed. Joy was the only girl in the room who didn’t have long hair. Her hair was different. It was black, short, and kinky. Her skin was also dark brown. She was the only brown-skinned girl in kindergarten.
When Joy and the other children finished cleaning up their stations, they walked over to the art table. Joy found a spot on the end away from anybody else. Immediately, she saw a Styrofoam plate with little pieces of red, black, and white felt. Next to that, was a plate full of glue with a Popsicle stick. Joy raised her hand. “Mrs. Garphy, what are we making?” Tying a smock around Bobby, Mrs. Garphy answered, “We are making our special Christmas gifts to bring home.”
Joy was really excited. She wondered if they were going to make Christmas stockings. Then Joy glanced over at Marcie who was whispering into Becky’s ear, looking at Joy, and laughing. Joy quickly looked back down at her art supplies. “Why is she so mean? Doesn’t she know that I could whoop her butt anyway?” Joy asked herself.
As Joy looked up to find Mrs. Garphy, she saw the funniest thing ever. Mrs. Garphy was carrying empty roles of toilet paper in her arms and under her double chin which made her look like she had a triple chin. Joy burst out laughing hysterically. “Mrs. Garphy has toilet paper rolls!” she blurted to the classroom. The other children slowly joined her with their tiny giggles. Joy was laughing so hard that she had her hands on her belly, her head tilted back, and both legs up in the air. In fact, she had to keep herself from falling backwards in her chair. “These are for our special Christmas project,” commanded the now stern Mrs. Garphy.
“Christmas project? HA! HA! HA!” Now Joy was really making a scene. Somehow, the sacredness of Christmas and the ordinary item used to wipe butts seemed like a funny contradiction to her. She couldn’t help from laughing. It was just too funny. It was just too unreal for her to grasp. “Mrs. Garphy must be playing a joke!” she shouted. But as she glanced up at Mrs. Garphy, Mrs. Garphy didn’t have a “joking face” on. She had a mean face. That mean face was glaring down at Joy. “Joy, I want you to go sit in the hallway immediately.”
Joy went out to sit on the cold marble hallway floor outside of the classroom. She hated the brown speckled floor. As she observed the floor, she noticed how dirty it was and began to scribble in its dirt. She felt really sorry. She didn’t mean to get into trouble. She wondered if, like Marcie and the other children, Mrs. Garphy hated her, too.
Joy started to get a pain in her stomach and held it tightly. She really wanted to go home. She thought about playing in her neighborhood with her other friends who looked and acted a lot more like Joy than the children in the suburban school. Joy thought about how she played jump rope with Tisha and Natasia just the day before. Joy began to rap their favorite jump rope song, “Donald Duck is a one-legged, one-legged, one-legged animal. Donald Duck is a two-legged, two-legged, two-legged animal…..” She hit her hands on the cold marble floor as she sang. She noticed how when she slapped the floor, it made a nice high-pitched drum sound. Then she looked up at the classroom door that was shut. She wanted to bang on the door to see how it sounded. But she restrained herself.
Suddenly, Mrs. Garphy opened the classroom door. “Are you ready to do your art project now?” she asked.
Joy answered an obedient, “yes”.
When Joy walked into the classroom, she saw a little Santa shaped like a toilet paper roll. She really wanted to giggle but instead she bit her lip as hard as she could. Joy dutifully made her toilet paper Santa with her plate of felt and her glue. She topped it off with a cotton ball beard and set it to dry.
Next, it was music time. This thrilled Joy tremendously. She loved to sit right next to the piano and sing. However, she didn’t like looking at Mrs. Garphy’s big bottom in her brown polyester pants as she sat on the bench to play. They sang “I’m a little teapot”, complete with hand motions. Then they sang “Where is Thumkin?” Joy liked that song. She loved putting her fingers behind her back only to bring each finger in front of her at the appointed time. Joy pleaded, “Mrs. Garphy, can we sing it again?”
“Of course!” she answered.
Joy held both hands behind her back. As she eagerly waited, she felt a hard tug on her hair. “Ouch!” she whispered and turned around. It was Marcie. “You’re stupid”, whispered Marcie. “You stink, too!” Joy tried to ignore her. As Mrs. Garphy played the piano with her back away from the children, Joy decided to handle Marcie on her own by ignoring her. Marcie continued to poke Joy in the back. “Nobody wants you here”, whispered Marcie. “You don’t belong here.” Even though Marcie’s poking hurt Joy’s back, Joy continued to ignore her. Marcie started to kick Joy. “Everybody hates you! You’re black!”
Just then, Joy felt something like a fire burn inside of her belly. She was angry. She was so angry that she wanted to stand up and punch Marcie in the face. But, instead, she closed her eyes. She began to sing to herself, “I feel red, so red. I’m mad and my mind is red.” She hummed the tune that immediately popped into her mind. Then Joy thought about Marcie bossing everybody in housekeeping and how she was envious of her long blonde hair. With the same melody she sang, “I feel green, so green. I’m jealous and my mind is green.” Continuing with her eyes closed and shutting out everything and everyone around her, she thought about being in the hallway and how rejected she felt. She sang, “I feel brown, so brown. Nobody loves me and I feel so brown”. At this point, Joy was in some other realm. She was completely oblivious to her surroundings. With her eyes closed, she hummed and sang the lyrics in her head, “I feel light blue, so light blue, when I do what I like to do. I feel yellow, so yellow. When I’m happy I feel so yellow. I feel white, so white. When I obey I feel so white”.
By this time, all of the children and Mrs. Garphy were staring at Joy. Joy finished her song in her head and then opened her eyes. Even Marcie was still. Everybody was still and staring. Mrs. Garphy broke the silence, “What are you singing, Joy?”
Joy answered, “It’s nothing….just a song in my mind.”
“Can we hear it?” asked Mrs. Garphy.
A confidence swept over Joy. “Yes, you may.” She stood up, cleared her throat, and sang:
“I feel red, so red. I’m mad and my mind is red.
I feel green, so green. I’m jealous and my mind is green.
I feel brown, so brown. Nobody loves me and I feel brown.
I feel light blue, so light blue. When I do what I like to do.
I feel yellow, so yellow. When I’m happy I feel so yellow.
I feel white, so white. When I obey I feel so white.”
Mrs. Garphy and rest of the children (besides Marcie) stood up and clapped. “What a talent!” Mrs. Garphy boasted. “Joy, we are so happy to have you. Thank you for sharing with us your colorful mind.”
Photo and Poem by Angie Mack Reilly, musician, Grafton, WI 11.29.19
We don’t go deep enough
into the lives of others
because this world is
and being tousled like
a giant and messy ball of yarn.
We are doing too much
in too short of time.
We need to slow down.
And really get to know each other.
What is your deepest desire?
What are your quirks?
What hurt you in life?
What did you want to be when you were young?
Where would you like to travel?
We need to sit on our rockers again,
sip our sun tea and talk it up
until the sun goes down.
But, for many of us, we are working
our asses off just to survive
this greedy globe.
(c) August 10, 2008
Mistakes happen….it’s OK
Mistakes are a part of the creative process as well as the human condition. The first artistic mistake that I remember making was when I was in grade school. I was doing a paint by number of the cartoon character, “Underdog”. I was working on the nose and went outside of the lines with my black paint on accident. So I tried to smooth out my error and messed it up even more. I remember being so angry with myself for not being able to “paint by number” perfectly and stay in the lines. The more I tried to fix it, the worse it got.
Artistic types often have perfectionist personalities. I know I do. I always tried so hard to be the straight “A” student, the “star” athlete, the “favored” employee, the “perfect mother”, the “most beautiful wife”, the “best” Christian.
I have failed at some time or another in all areas and the person I disappointed the most was myself. After 37 years, I am trying to learn to lighten up on myself. It’s impossible for anyone to be perfect.
In art, I have found that mistakes are a good thing. They seem to speak, “take this project in a different direction”. “Don’t force it. Don’t try to fix it.” As I have learned to embrace mistakes and admit that they are there, I have found greater peace. Some of the mistakes in my artistic en devours have actually turned the piece into something much better and different from my original plan.
I must remember that I, as a human being, am a work of art. Could it be that the mistakes that I make in life will somehow turn me into something better? I do know that with the more mistakes I have made, I have learned to be more humble and more merciful, loving and forgiving toward those who have failed.
Mistakes happen. It’s OK.
Angie Mack Reilly has been working closely with musicians for the past two decades and is a musician herself. She wrote this poem after Prince died of an accidental overdose. After observing and listening to the hearts of so many musicians over the years, it is her lifelong passion to advocate for musicians and artists whose mental health needs are grossly overlooked. Angie doesn’t consider herself a huge Prince fan nor does this blog post necessarily reflect Prince’s personal situation. Yet after seeing another celebrity musician die, she decided to write about it to raise awareness about the unique mental health and emotional needs of those in the entertainment industry.
Angie wants to raise awareness that those who are creative are, first and foremost, PEOPLE. Not just entertainers. Not just people that we can make money off of. Not just people who can make us feel good and boost our self-esteem. Not just people who can boost us up the ladder of success if we schmooze them enough. People. Many have had traumatic experiences. Many suffer from depression. Anxiety. Addiction. PTSD.
The difficult part about being talented is that so many people either want to monopolize on the talent or be made to feel good from it. And there are many excellent artists ‘who deliver’. Giving 110%. But when the artist has a need, such as an emotional issue to work through or a financial setback, they are often abandoned and left to their own devices to heal. And it can be too much.
Laugh. And the world laughs with you. Cry. And you cry alone. – unknown
Due to the nature of the entertainment industry, many performers don’t have the time to form lasting relationships. Many come from broken homes. Entertainers face unique challenges of loneliness. And because they are more sensitive, the feelings of rejection or abandonment can be even more devastating.”
Angie is also a published poet whose poetry is etched into some of the sidewalks in Grafton, WI including the poem pictured, “Traveling Minstrels”.
A #poem for #prince by Angie Mack Reilly
by (c) Angie Mack Reilly 4/23/16
Everybody loves a performer while they are performing.
“Traveling Minstrels” I call them.
Going from place to place like gypsies,
trying to make a living pleasing crowds.
Then they are left alone to their own devices and sorrow.
They are left to die alone
in mental anguish and unmarked graves.
Where are those who loved them
when their pockets were running full,
their faces were full of smiles
and their hearts were full of song?
Why, cheering on the next traveling minstrel
who makes them feel good!
For they had sucked the life out of the first!
He gave everything he had and then some,
with all of his sensitivities and musical genius.
He thought they would reciprocate
and it devastated him when they did not.
One of Angie’s “claims to fame” is finding the unmarked and unknown grave of long ago blues legend, Blind Blake. #musicianadvocate
Angie spearheaded a movement to get “Blind Blake” a much deserved headstone. Blake is buried in Glendale, WI.