We live in a time when inaction is the death knell of civil rights. Juan Winans and Lalah Hathaway issue a heartfelt call to action on the song “NOW” featuring a posthumous contribution from Congressman John Lewis. The talented gospel and soul legacies team up to put some fire in our bellies with this timely good trouble anthem.
Winans and Hathaway invoke the words of the late civil rights activist and congressman to prick our hearts and spur us to action on “NOW.” The pointed excerpts from Lewis' famous speech at the historic March on Washington in 1963 reiterate that almost 60 years later, we are still battling the same ills.
The duo urges us as a community to act now, to stoke the flames of the social revolution we have engaged in for more than three generations. The time for patience has passed and inaction is not an option. Their message is clear: The time for freedom is right now. The time to march and vote is right now. The time to hold politicians accountable is right now.
“We don't have another day / Another time, another place / And no longer can we wait / It's gotta be now,” Winans sings. Hathaway echos his sentiment, making the plea personal. “Our sons and daughters ripped away / Won't let their lives be in vain / If we ever want a change / It's gotta be now,” she sings.
Juan's impassioned plea intensifies over the course of the song and is mirrored by the instrumentation. A solemn piano in the beginning builds with the addition of strings, bass, handclaps and a gospel choir changing the mood from a slow-tempo ballad to a rousing battle cry.
As we continue the fight for justice and freedom, it takes courage, determination, faith, hope and love. Nonetheless, we can – and we will – make a change. Winans and Hathaway have given us an anthem to reinvigorate us on this leg of the journey. Featuring Congressman John Lewis on the song is a poignant touch. We know if he were here today, he would love and embrace this beautiful song and its powerful message.
Find some inspiration when you listen to “NOW” below, and get in some good trouble ASAP.