My Memorial Day Weekend was spent with a road trip to Memphis, TN! I finally got to visit Memphis! I now feel accomplished that I have visited all three parts of Tennessee (East: Chattanooga, Middle: Nashville, West: Memphis) It is only right considering my dad is from Tennessee and I learned that he also lived in Memphis for six months at one point. Being the music head that I am, I had to see what this music city was all about. I stand corrected, Memphis is Blues City, Nashville is Music City. It was rough getting there, but I am glad I was able to spend four hours in the city while visiting with my track star friend from high school. As I tour the states, I easily see how the southeast was once all formed together. We drove through Mississippi and I visited Alabama for the first time since childhood on March 2014, and I can honestly say they look and feel the same. Based on my visit, here are five of my observations:
- It is definitely Blues City; blues, blues everywhere! They honored B.B. King everywhere.
- It’s one big circle. I had this visual that the FedEx Forum is a super long walk from wherever my hotel or place of stay would be if I ever got the chance to see the Memphis Grizzlies play, but boy was I wrong. Walk up and down Beale Street, you will get to everything in a one stop shop.
- It is soo close to Mississippi and Arkansas. With me being a Florida girl, you can travel four hours and just be in a different part of Florida and feel like you have been someplace new, but that is one of the biggest learning experiences I learned once I moved outside of Florida. We drove through Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee in approximately 6 hours. I was so fascinated when we drove across the bridge (with the Mississippi River underneath us) to get to the Arkansas state line before turning around. I also understand why Memphis was the city for the big break for the musicians who were born and raised in the country coming from places like Mississippi such as B.B. King. Memphis is also not too far from that good southern home cuisine with numerous food choices along Beale Street. I had lunch at Blues City Cafe!
- It needs A LOT of work; high crime rate, not so booming businesses, buildings outdated and torn down. But like a lot of metropolitan areas that I have been to, MLK Blvd is on the not so well kept parts of the city but also where most of the people of color reside.
- It’s like other parts of the south as far as the scenery. When it comes to bright colorful lights, it closely resembles Nashville except downtown Nashville’s bright lights are on a few more streets within Downtown. In my opinion, Nashville is the place where most country musicians go for their big break, Memphis has been the spot for blues and R&B artists, with the exception of rap (Three6Mafia). No wonder Justin Timberlake always stood out growing up because of his music tastes.
All in all, it is a place like no other. I encourage you to visit! I always encourage you to go places you have never been to or never or have always imagined visiting; it will open your eyes!
Photos by Zaakirah | Nayyar Photography