Gospel Singer Mavis Staples: Kennedy Center Honoree

In 1972, The Staples Singers spent weeks on the Billboard charts—their song “Respect Yourself” an iconic part of the civil rights movement!

And tonight, when CBS presents the annual Kennedy Center Honors live from Washington, DC, lead singer and composer, Mavis Staples, becomes only the second gospel singer to receive one of America’s most prestigious prizes for artistic achievement.

A newspaper article published earlier this year said, “the Staples family took the basic tenets of the Bible, particularly the liberation philosophies of the New Testament, and wrapped them in a digestible, dig-able swaddle of harmony!”

An HBO documentary airing in 2017 will tell Mavis’s life story, a story Christianity Today magazine calls a film “about love. . .a divine love communicated through their gospel songs.”