'I feel like I'm living in the '60s again': Mavis Staples on the state of civil rights in America

The legendary gospel singer explains why she feels she still has a lot of work to do when it comes to speaking out against bigotry in America.
Gospel singer Mavis Staples joined Tom Power in the q studio to discuss her upcoming performance at Toronto's Massey Hall tonight. (Chris Strong)

Originally published on June 22, 2018

Mavis Staples has spent more than 60 years as a singer for her family band, The Staple Singers. She's also made her mark as a solo artist and has made music that has helped advance the civil rights cause in America. 

"I watch the news [and] I feel like I'm living in the sixties again," Staples tells q's Tom Power. She continues to say that she still has a lot of work to do when it comes to speaking out against the bigotry she feels has surfaced across the U.S. in recent times.

"I can't stop, I can't take a break, because I have work to do. I have to continue my journey."

Mavis Staples takes a selfie with Tom Power in the q studio in Toronto. (Vivian Rashotte/CBC)

Staples has also been keeping in touch with younger generations, revealing that she admires the work of Chance The Rapper — who she calls "a positive force" — and Michelle Obama, both of whom she wanted to be a part of her latest album, If All I Was Was Black

Staples shows no signs of slowing down as she prepares to perform at the historic Massey Hall in Toronto tonight. 

Produced by Ben Edwards



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