“I Am Black and I Matter”
DAF Entertainment Group (release date: March 26, 2021)
By Robert M. Marovich
Since June 2020, there’s been a notable increase in gospel artists releasing singles with messages linked directly to Black Lives Matter and the racial injustice running rampant through the nation like another virus. Chicago-based singer Lemmie Battles adds her powerful, church-wizened evangelist’s voice to others with “I Am Black and I Matter.”
Like Shirley Caesar’s “Take Your Knee off My Neck,” Lemmie Battles’ “I Am Black and I Matter” puts it out there unimpeded by allegory or simile. She not only asks everyone to be treated equally, but for everyone to stand together “all over the world” and demand justice. To hammer home the point, she quotes a line from nineteenth-century Chicago pastor Clare Herbert Woolston’s “Jesus Loves the Little Children:” “Red, yellow, black or white, we are precious in his sight.”
Battles sings with the self-confidence she highlights in the lyrics. “God created me who I am,” she declares. And that’s a great thing.