By Libra Boyd
Gospel Music Fever
Utterly tragic is the February 26th murder of 17 year-old Trayvon Martin. Utterly outrageous is that Sanford, FL police state they don’t have sufficient evidence to refute the gunman’s claim of self defense, and therefore can’t arrest him.
Are you kidding me? Martin was unarmed, carrying a bag of Skittles and a bottle of iced tea. George Zimmerman, the gunman, pursued him, despite being told by a 911 dispatcher not to. Details of the case are too many to recall here; you can refer to ABC News for the overview.
This matter reeks of the racism that remains alive and pervasive in this society. Martin is Black; Zimmerman is White and Hispanic. I posit, however, that even if one removes the notion of race as a factor, the matter is equally egregious: an adult followed and murdered an unarmed child holding some candy and a drink.
Numerous congregations wore hoodies yesterday, symbolic of their stand against senseless violence and injustice. I wore mine also–along with a badge of Trayvon Martin and me pictured in hoodies, side by side. Underneath was a scripture from 1 Samuel 17:29: “And David said, What have I now done? Is there not a cause?”
And like Mahalia Jackson, Sallie Martin, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other gospel singers and clerics who were vocal about the issues of injustice in their day (especially during the 1960’s civil rights movement), people from the gospel community are speaking out in their own way regarding this injustice.
“Where’s the justice?” asked James Fortune on Twitter. He also changed his avatar in protest.
Brian Courtney Wilson tweeted, “Still expecting justice for #TrayvonMartin.”
“So Zimmerman says he’s sorry for shooting #Trayvon Martin?” producer Kevin Bond posted on Twitter just this morning. “Yet you were standing your ground? #FOOLISHNESS and #RACIST!”
Perhaps with reconciliation at the heart of his tweet, Pastor John P. Kee posted, “Wish I could grab 3 of my nephews! We’d roll into Florida and find Zimmerman and pray with him!” He, too, donned a hoodie in his avatar. (See more photos of other gospel artists who are showing support for Trayvon Martin at NuthinButGospel blog.)
Today, Pastor Jamal Bryant and others will lead a National March of Justice at Centennial Park in Sanford, FL. Accordingly, the prominent pastor tweeted this morning, “Dear Lord 2day get justice 4 TRAYVON, redeem those who’ve been done wrong, protect kids from harm & don’t let us wait long!”
I am glad to see the gospel community join this fight, and I hope the momentum continues. In his work, Privilege, Power, and Difference, sociologist Allan G. Johnson asserts, “There is no such thing as doing nothing. There is no such thing as being neutral or uninvolved. At every moment, social life involves all of us.”
Libra Nicole Boyd, PhD is a musician, award-winning author, gospel music aficionado, and the founder and editor of Gospel Music Fever™. Her commitment to journalistic integrity includes bringing you reliable gospel music content that uplifts and advances the art form. Libra is presently working on several scholarly projects about gospel music in the media as well as gospel music in social movements.