Courtney Ariel is a songwriter and storyteller, whose music appears on most streaming platforms. She is committed to speaking back — speaking truth — to systems of oppression, which she believes to be at the core of her resistance and pathway to liberation. Despite what middle school adolescence taught many of us, she thinks we are the coolest when we admit we don’t know, care deeply and continue trying. Let's give it a shot.

Posts By This Author

The Business of Prioritizing White Comfort

by Courtney Ariel 03-25-2021

Photo by Danielle Cerullo on Unsplash

The deeply rooted white American need to be comfortable is keeping many organizations (nonprofit, faith-based, and other well-meaning organizations) from engaging in the messy, necessary work of addressing white supremacy.

How White Liberals Perpetuate Relational Violence

by Courtney Ariel 06-08-2020

Photo by YouVersion on Unsplash

To my acquaintance, and white people who need to hear it, I say this lovingly and from a place of abundance, without scarcity: I know you are hurting too. You are human. But this is not about your pain.

Abundance of Grace in Cancel Culture

by Courtney Ariel 02-25-2019

Photo by Fancycrave on Unsplash

I’m always very curious about what belonging truly means to a community, and how it is demonstrated. I always wondered, who makes the rules of belonging? Who decides what is and isn’t allowable? Can it go so far as to diminish our humanity or cause us to diminish someone else’s? Many of my early talks with God included questions like these. I still don’t have the answers to all of them, but I’ve spent the past several years trying to find a home inside of the tension between our revolutionary capacity for love as human beings, and our frequent tendencies toward exclusion, destruction and harm.

How Not to Appropriate: A Guide for White People

by Courtney Ariel 10-17-2017

1. Let’s start with this — if you are not a person who ethnically identifies as black (truly black — please miss me entirely with any Rachel Dolezal references), you cannot use the N-word. Not in a song. Not ever. I am not going to apologize for this. I am not going to engage in conversations about “rights” as it relates to freedom of speech. You do not have the right to comment on how this word is used by black people within the black community. This word has been bought and paid for through the hundreds of thousands of bodies/lives. I fully recognize that entitlement doesn’t ever want to be told what it can and cannot hold. But entitlement has blood on its hands that it has not yet truly begun to atone for, so I want to say this (and please hear me): This word does not belong to you.

For Our White Friends Desiring to Be Allies

by Courtney Ariel 08-16-2017

I have been asked by two dear friends, “how can I be a stronger ally?” Being the slow emotional processor that I am, I wanted to spend some time with this before I answered them. I surely appreciate and love these two individuals, and I appreciate their vulnerability in asking me this question. I am not going to do much coddling here; I don’t know that I believe that love requires coddling. Here are six things you can do to be stronger allies.