Mavis Staples attends the NY Premiere of HBO’s documentary film ‘MAVIS!’ at Florence Gould Hall on February 24, 2016 in New York City. (MICHAEL LOCCISANO/GETTY IMAGES FOR HBO)
article by Nsenga K. Burton, Ph. D. via theroot.com
Legendary singer and civil rights activist Mavis Staples has been in the business of making music and changing lives for over 60 years. The Chicago-born singer with the signature raspy voice launched her career in 1950 as part of the family gospel group The Staple Singers, comprised of her father (Pops) and three older sisters (Cleotha, Pervis and Yvonne). The “skinny 15-year-old girl with the big voice” was often mistaken for a man or a big woman, surprising fans with her childlike appearance despite her full-bodied voice.
Like many family acts, the Staples honed their craft in the church before taking their show on the road. Having recorded a couple of…
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