12x Grammy Award Winner, Shirley Caesar, Released 'Take Your Knee Off My Neck
Shirley Caesar is the esteemed First Lady of Gospel Music. Born and raised in Durham, North Carolina, where she was heavily inspired by her father, Big Jim Caesar, who sang with an a cappella quartet called “The Just Come Four.” Sadly, he passed away when she was 10 of a brain seizure, and to help support her big family; she hit the road as a gospel soloist with Leroy Johnson, a one-legged evangelist.
After a few years, she found herself majoring in business education at North Carolina State College. But she immediately put her studies on hold when the Caravans, a fast-rising gospel group from Chicago, appeared in Durham the following year. Caesar took this as an opportunity and convinced the leader Albertina Walker to let her join. Caesar moved to Chicago and sang with them for the next eight years. She left the Caravans in 1966 when she signed with Hobb Records and became “Evangelist Shirley Caesar.”
From that point on, it was only up; her recording “Live In Chicago,” featuring her classic “Hold My Mule,” remained No. 1 on Billboard’s gospel chart for 52 weeks. Not to mention her line from that song, “I got beans, greens, potatoes, tomatoes...” which went viral as an internet challenge and broadened her audience. Over the decades, she has collaborated with iconic artists like Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin, Patti LaBelle, Al Green, Gladys Knight, Kirk Franklin, and many more. She has also appeared on television series and Broadway. She is now happily married to Bishop Harold Ivory Williams and serves as the Senior Pastor of the Mount Calvary Word of Faith Church in Raleigh, North Carolina.
On September 11, 2020, she released her latest single ‘Take Your Knee Off My Neck.’ In the song, she discusses all the corruption in the world right now, mentioning police brutality, innocent black lives taken, and embracing your melanin. Unfortunately, there is no music video for the single, but the song is all you need to feel the emotion and hear the message. The song has some notes of funk and groove while still conveying an important message. Although it is upbeat, the raw emotion comes through, and you can clearly hear her calling out the police while uplifting the Black community. Some key lyrics include “Take your knee off my neck, Because I can't breathe, Enough is enough, With all of this police brutality, yes it is, So stop killing our sons and daughters, You're gonna reap what you've sown, Black beautiful people, Hold your head up high, Don't be ashamed, Black Lives Matter.”
This song is so powerful on its own, but with the legendary vocals of Shirley Caesar with it, this is a song you just have to listen to. The song is available on all musical platforms, and on November 27, 2020, at 7 PM EST, Shirley Caesar is slated to receive Cafe Mocha Radio's Salute THEM: Spirit Award. So make sure to RSVP for their upcoming event here: