Grammy-nominated artist performs for free Sunday in Little Rock

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Melvin williams

When: 11 am Sunday

Where: First Missionary Baptist Church, 701 S. Gaines Street, Little Rock

No ticket is needed

Gospel artist Melvin Williams isn’t limiting his Thanksgiving to the Fourth Thursday in November.

Amid this pandemic, he remains grateful, he said recently.

“I am grateful for the life, health and strength. Most of my family is still here,” he said.

Williams, who will sing Sunday at a pre-Thanksgiving service in Little Rock, is the author of “(Ooh Wee) Another Blessing,” which lists gifts, big and small, that he believes come from God.

Over the course of five minutes, the song thanks God at least 28 times.

The list of blessings includes things that many people take for granted – legs that walk, tongues that speak, lungs that breathe, a loving family (“and they’re fine,” he notes in the song. )

The same God who gave him life, health and peace of mind is also present during difficult times, he says. “Pain and suffering, he took me across. Arms wide open, [he] always welcome, “says Williams.

Written before the arrival of covid-19, the message has not lost its resonance, he noted.

“[As you] look at what’s going on in the world today and all the chaos that’s going on [on], this song becomes more relevant, ”he said.

“Another Blessing”, which debuted in 2007, is one of Williams’ best-known songs; the video has been viewed 13 million times on YouTube. It followed up on “Cooling Water,” a 2001 song that was shown widely on gospel radio and 21.8 million views on YouTube.

Both songs were recorded with unrelated Mississippian compatriot Lee Williams, who died on August 30 at the age of 75.

Melvin Williams, who has multiple Grammy nominations, sang gospel for about 60 of his 68 years, first as a member of the Little Williams Brothers and then as a member of the Sensational Williams Brothers.

Eventually the qualifiers were dropped and the name was shortened.

“Now we are known as the Williams brothers,” he said.

Over the years, his solo career blossomed and his songwriting skills became known.

The Covid-19 has erased its calendar. “We have made maybe … five or six dates in the last 18 months. We have been offered dates, but we turned them down just because of the covid wave,” he said. -he declares.

Most of the time, it was his conscience that kept him from playing.

He was concerned, he said, that a member of the public could catch the covid and die.

“We don’t want to have this guilt on our shoulders,” he added.

With the vaccines now available across the United States, he said he felt comfortable returning to the stage.

Williams is expected to sing for at least 30 minutes during the free empowerment service ahead of Sunday’s Thanksgiving, which will be held at First Missionary Baptist Church.

No tickets are required for the concert, which is presented by the Arkansas Martin Luther King Jr. Commission.

The commission’s executive director, DuShun Scarbrough, called Williams a “superb and talented person”.

“He’s a gospel legend,” he said. “He has been a great advocate for civil rights over the years. “

Williams said he was happy to sing at a church where King had once preached.

On Sunday April 28, 1963, King delivered the sermon in celebration of the 118th anniversary of the church and slept in the parsonage of the church.

Four months later, to the day, he would deliver his “I Have a Dream Speech” on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

The commission partnered with Habitat for Humanity to renovate the Little Rock home, which opened in 2019 and designated MLK Memorial Parsonage.

Students from the Little Rock School District helped with the restoration, painting, cleaning and installation of a handrail.

Williams is old enough to remember the civil rights marches and sit-ins, the bombing of the church in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963 and the kidnapping and murder of three civil rights activists near Philadelphia , Mississippi, June 24, 1964..

He remembers watching television with his mother and crying on April 4, 1968, when news of King’s assassination broke in Memphis.

Enemies of civil rights have made life difficult, Williams said.

“I grew up in the days of the Ku Klux Klan,” he said. “My dad took us to see churches that had crosses burnt in the front and also churches that had been set on fire. So I saw this with my own eyes and kind of experienced it with my own eyes. . “

“It was quite difficult and quite difficult, especially for black people and people of color,” he said. “This is why I appreciate so much anyone of any color who stands up for equal rights and for people to be treated the way they should be treated.”

God has helped guide His people through trials and the journey is not over, Williams said.

“His work is not yet finished,” he said, “We have come a long way. We still have a long way to go.”


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