John D Hastings

Inspired to write Lions - celebrating #diversity on #PrideinLondon weekend

My wife Frankie asked me to write a song about kindness and how the pandemic has changed our lives, communities and attitudes towards each other.

About the same time, we noticed a new crossing in our hometown of Sutton, Greater London. It is the first blue, pink and white transgender crossing in the UK! Sutton already have a rainbow crossing in the town. To be honest we felt proud to belong to such an equitable, progressive community. The image of the famous Abbey Road zebra crossing further inspired me. Leading the Beatles across it was John Lennon, whose song "Imagine" celebrates its 50th release anniversary in October.

The song's message is about inclusivity, tolerance and kindness towards each other, regardless of background, heritage, religion, orientation, physical ability.

I am proud to showcase "Lions" at a Surrey food and drink festival, Feasty Fest 2021. I wanted to celebrate diversity within our communities, so singing this during Pride in London weekend is perfect!

The song's imagery of lions, and a pride of lions, are natural symbols of strength, loyalty, kindness and dignity. We should not have to hide who we are or be left out, excluded from society and opportunities. Nor should we change to fit in or be "tamed" by rules made by insensitive discriminating people.

So many people use their talents for the wider good and often sacrifice so much to give the next generations a more hopeful future. We cried at the sheer selflessness of individuals and communities helping one another during the pandemic. There were and still are, so many acts of kindness borne out of love for human beings. Many people, such as health and care workers, literally died by bravely carrying on, whilst ensuring the best welfare of others. "Lions" is also a tribute to those heroes when I sing "who do you think we're crying for?"

I hope there is a day when we can ALL wave our flags symbolising who we are without fear, shame or persecution. "Lions" is about hope, love, celebration and caring for each other.

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Thursday, 28 September 2023