By Nneka Samuel
You can hear the smile in 11-year-old Jordan’s voice. Over a mellow beat, he lovingly describes his mother as vibrant. Vivacious. Voluminous. Talk about a perfect album intro.
Jordan’s mother just so happens to be singer, Vivian Green, whose latest effort, Vivid, is dominating the charts with up-tempo groove, Get Right Back To My Baby. This is the Philly-bred artist’s first top-five single in a decade.
“Grateful beyond measure” is how Green describes the successful career she’s had to date and the positive response to the energetic album which marks her musical return, after a five-year hiatus following Jordan’s birth. Those three words also describe the way Vivian feels about her son who, according to doctors, wasn’t supposed to make it.
Born with an undiagnosed syndrome that affects his bones, Jordan’s special needs opened Vivian’s eyes to the nearly 1 in 5 Americans who have a disability. The lack of awareness and desire to educate children about embracing differences is what led to her PSA campaign, I Am Different I Am Human, which launched in February.
“These people are different from you, but you can say hello, you can smile. You don’t have to point, stare and ridicule,” says Green, who has witnessed on more than one occasion uninvited stares and rude reactions directed at her son. “A lot of [people with disabilities] are very accomplished human beings,” she continues. “A lot of them are highly functional and some are not, but these are human beings. These are people and we all need to be aware of them and treat them as the human beings that they are.” You can get involved with her PSA campaign and share your own stories at iamdifferentiamhuman.org.
Inspired by Jordan and the knowledge that disabilities know no gender, color or socio-economic boundaries, Green is painting a broad message, one she hopes will become law. “If I can find a representative to sponsor a bill to be implemented in early childhood education, that would probably be my ultimate goal for how I really want to enforce this change and enforce this awareness.”
Awareness is something Vivian also implements in her daily lifestyle. Not only does the songstress work out everyday, she eats lots of green veggies, gets creative with grains, like quinoa, opts for vegetarian meals and avoids deep fried foods and hydrogenated oils. It’s a regimented lifestyle that Green doesn’t try to push on anyone, but having lived this way most of her life thanks to her health conscious mother, she can attest to its power. “I feel the difference. I feel so good. My energy level is amazing.”
With Vivian’s unmistakable voice, her appreciation for her fans, and her overwhelming gratitude for her life and journey, it’s no wonder she named her album Vivid. But it’s her dedication to her most important role, being Jordan’s mom, that truly warms her heart. “He tells me he loves me a million times a day and I tell him back,” Vivian gushes about her son. “That feeds my soul.”