I saw Mavis Staples in concert last night at World Records in Bakersfield, California. I love her feisty spunk, gravelly voice and dimpled face. She was a Kennedy Center Honoree in 2014 and the broadcast of the award show was the first I’d heard of her. Researching and listening to her music, I fell in love. This photo was taken from her biography on Entertainment Weekly.
“Build A Bridge” from her new album, “If All I Was Was Black,” is a new favorite:
When I say my life matters
You can say yours does too
But I betcha never have to remind anyone
To look it at from your point of view
These lyrics caught my attention and inspired me with the following.
Yes, Mavis, Me Too
I never said my life matters, Mavis
But I’ve had to remind others
To Look at it from my point of view.
When the man flying high his flange
In Napa for all the world to see
Empowered the girls who opened their lips
And limbs for his pleasure
The ones he said made him rich
And delighted him
While he ordered from us more bricks without straw
And then cut the widow in her distress to pieces,
I indeed asked him
To look at it from my point of view.
He laughed, mocked, derided.
The next time I told him my point of view,
He thought his loud roar, red face and popping veins
Would scare me off.
But I saw he was just a senseless drunk,
And I’d seen greater rage before.
Mavis, he still had the power to take my wages,
To remove my livelihood, to send me into poverty.
He broke another widow and robbed an orphan.
Your life matters, Mavis.
Mine does too.
And we all must keep saying it
From our point of view.
Oh, you cuss around women and you don’t even know their names and you
Dumb enough to think that’ll make you a big ol man
“Respect Yourself,” Sung by Mavis Staples
Songwriters: Luther Thomas Ingram / Mack Rice