(July 15, 2021) It is a testament to the brilliance of the creative team that brought the song “I Am A Man” to life -- and to the sad reality faced by black men in this country -- that the song is both timeless and timely. The song’s title refers to the protest signs carried by Memphis sanitation workers during their 1968 strike that brought the Rev. Martin Luther King to the city to participate in what would be his final confrontation with injustice.
Those signs addressed the reality that Memphis’ political establishment denied the humanity of the group of workers who did necessary work in degrading and often dangerous conditions. Those workers needed to remind the world of their manhood, just as current day activists need to remind the world that Black life matters. That struggle is the tissue that connects the song “I Am A Man” to the seemingly eternal struggle for Black rights and humanity. Grammy winning singer and songwriter B Slade sings the song with lyrics written by Tia P and with music composed by Darryl Easley and Devin Christopher.
The tune has a classic arrangement drawing on the same musical traditions from the black church, as well as blues music that enlivened Civil Rights era anthems “A Change is Gonna Come” and “People Get Ready.” Tia P’s lyrics are both historical and polemical and in B Slade the C. Von and Marty Arnold of 6X Entertainment the ideal voices were found to give the tune that classic, church influenced feel while also voicing the righteous anger that propels past and current movements against systematic racial injustice. Check out “I Am A Man” here.
By Howard Dukes