Real talk…. What is there to say about a group of extraordinary, evolutionary, and astounding women whose captivating and energetic performances can’t be compared? This phenomenal ensemble known as Sweet Honey in the Rock® are international truthsayers. They manage to get to the parts of us that need what they offer, the most. The group’s soul-stirring and melodic voices bring to light the injustices and adversities of life, but they also emulate love, healing, and upliftment through insightful messages that directly speak to our humanity.
The vibrant a cappella Grammy Award-winning ensemble was founded in 1973 by Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon along with Louise Robinson, Carol Maillard, and Mie Fredricks in Washington, DC. Dr. Reagon retired from the group in 2004.
The group’s multi-talented core members today include Carol Maillard, Louise Robinson, Aisha Kahlil, Nitanju Bolade Casel, and Rochelle Rice. Adding to this mosaic of talent are Barbara Hunt, an invaluable American Sign Language Interpreter, who provides live ASL for the deaf and hard of hearing, and the prominent Romeir Mendez who deftly plays both the upright and electric bass.
Sweet Honey’s music embodies harmony and vocal percussion. It is rooted in African American history and culture. It is a rich tapestry of gospel, spirituals, and folk, with elements of hip-hop, jazz, rhythm & blues, peppered with a rhythmic cadence of African intonations. The group’s music educates, entertains, and empowers. Their 2016 illustrious album, #LoveInEvolution, is a testament to their lasting artistry, tackling such ever-present, harsh life realities as police brutality, gun control, racism, and environmental issues. Yet, amid the tales of despair are anthems of resilience, love, unity, and unyielding hope.
The musical missionaries’ legacy isn’t limited to the stage. Beyond their riveting performances, they are also involved in community and cultural work, and with our youth. Sweet Honey stands as pillars of inspiration, using their profound energy to ignite dreams, faith, and to bring about positive change. They are about the business of propelling humanity move forward with their healing music.
50BOLD chatted with four members of Sweet Honey, so folks can get to know more about these dynamic women: Carol Millard, Louise Robinson, Nitanju Balade Casel, and Barbara Hunt. They graciously shared their experiences and discussed what it’s been like taking on the important mission of uplifting humankind.
50BOLD: Thank you, ladies, for granting us this unique interview. I say unique because there is so much about Sweet Honey that many may not know. You ladies are a beacon of light in this world. I’m just keeping it real. You have done so much by way of your life-changing performances. You are also about service to others through your community work internationally. Tell me, you all are members of this phenomenal ensemble, with a legacy that has lasted 50 years, what has the experience been like for you?
Nitanju: I joined SHIR near the end of 1985. I had just moved back to the states after living in Senegal, West Africa for over four years. My sister, Aisha Kahlil, was already a member of the ensemble. She invited me to a month-long workshop that Sweet Honey held annually. It has been an amazing journey–the music, the message, the people. Knowing that perhaps the work we offer may touch someone’s life in a meaningful way has been a huge blessing for me.
Louise: Well, I have been in the group since the beginning and am one of the founding members. But I left for a few years and came back in 2004. Before coming back, I had the opportunity to sit in the audience and saw how Sweet Honey speaks into people’s lives. I think the most rewarding part of being in Sweet Honey is being on the stage, engaging with the audience in any country, and at home! I do love knowing that when I walk onto the Sweet Honey stage, I am making a difference in someone’s life. Sweet Honey is not a ‘one size fits all group.’ We address many issues and have many conversations within one concert. Learning and meeting people of other cultures has always been exciting to me. Just walking on roads and streets that look like no place I’ve ever been before, gives me a rush! And the feedback we get from the audience is just amazing.
50BOLD: Carol, you were also one of the founding members, what can you tell us about how the group first came about?
Carol: Yes, I am one of the founders of the group. We were part of a theater company in Washington DC called the DC Black Repertory Company started by Robert Hooks, the actor who helped to create the Negro Ensemble Company. He decided that there should be a professional company of talented actors in Washington DC. I was a student at Catholic University when I auditioned and was quite thrilled to be accepted. Once the company got rolling in 1973, we had to take voice, dance, scene study, and acting classes. Our voice teacher was Bernice Johnson Reagon. She had been one of the members of the SNCC Freedom Singers, and had a wealth of styles, materials, and a cultural focus. That was the theme of the company, the Black experience on stage.
I was with the group from its inception until I left for New York City in 1977. Sweet Honey in the Rock emerged from the desire of one actor’s call who felt we should have a vocal ensemble to promote our theater performances. We started rehearsals in the summer of ‘73, men and women. By the time we got to the fall of ’73, there were four of us in the room. And Louise said, we should just keep on singing since everything sounded good. ‘Why do I keep doing this?’ I ask myself that quite a bit these days. I guess it’s my calling, my service to the world at large, my community, my cultural community.
50BOLD: You include sign language interpretation in your concerts. How did this get started and why?
Carol: In the late 70s the group had the opportunity to travel to the bay area at the request of several women’s groups who were familiar with us. I wasn’t there for that. But my understanding is that the events that these women put together, the festivals and concerts, were always inclusive with sign language, childcare ramps, all for people who are differently abled. And for mothers with small children who wanted to just get away and have a quiet moment at a fabulous concert, they provided childcare. How wonderful is that!
Sweet Honey in the Rock really resonated with the idea of the sign language interpreter. Bernice was blessed to find Ysaye Maria Barnwell at a church service one Sunday and asked her, if she’d be interested in auditioning with the Sweet Honey team. Once Ysaye was accepted as a sign language interpreter, she had to decide if she was going to sing or sign. Ysaye decided she’d prefer to sing and introduced the group to Shirley Childress, who became Sweet Honey’s sign language interpreter extraordinaire. Shirley joined the ancestors in 2017. Since that time, we’ve been blessed with Barbara Maris Hunt as our ASL interpreter.
50BOLD: Barbara, you play an important role as the ASL interpreter for the deaf and hard of hearing on stage with the ensemble. What has this experience been like for you?
Barbara: It’s an honor and a huge responsibility for me to be a member of Sweet Honey in the Rock. It was Shirley Childress Johnson who made a global impact on the visibility of interpreters and the necessity of providing accessibility for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. She is considered ‘the queen’ in the Black deaf and interpreting community, and was a master at ‘conveying music without sound.’ After she became very sick and transitioned in 2017, I was asked to take her place. So, my goal is always to follow through on the outreach, commitment, and passion she had for her audience.
50BOLD: I remember seeing Shirley during the 90s on stage with the group and marveled at how she was able to interpret the group’s music so gracefully to the deaf and hard of hearing. Did you find the performances challenging at times?
Barbara: Often, my role and challenge is to provide a visually interesting and meaningful interpretation of presentations without words. Sweet Honey can sing song arrangements in practically any music genre. I confess, I am not a fan of playing air instruments. I am in constant conversations with deaf people and interpreters around the country regarding what instrumentals and spontaneous wordless harmonies mean to them, and what feelings or experiences do they expect or desire to get from them.
50BOLD: The group’s music has always been relevant since its inception, and is really needed now, more than ever, with all the adversities going on in the world. There are so many songs that Sweet Honey has been singing for decades that still address the worldly chaos. Would you say this is true?
Louise: Right, and the fact that our music is still relevant has always been the case. Like you said, our music is really needed now more than ever. But I say, our music is always needed! Sometimes, we sing certain songs and it’s unfortunate that they’re still relevant. But it is our work. We are happy that we still have something to offer.
50BOLD: What would you say makes the musical stylings of Sweet Honey so different from other groups?
Carol: As an a cappella ensemble, we have a vast repertoire that includes music from all walks of life, such as the blues, spirituals, gospel hymns, traditional gospel, rap, and hip hop. So, what makes this group unique is our individual voices, individual sound, talents and creativity. We come together to bring about one collective sound. We use our voices to capture these sounds. Our voices are used not only to teach but also to inspire and encourage the spirit.
Barbara: I think the messages in Sweet Honey songs speak to the human rights of equality, freedom, justice, and love. Many people have approached us after a show and to say, how a song helped them get through rough times. Who would think that the song, Colors, about the struggles women face to make decisions about their own bodies, would still be relevant today! We see mothers and grandmothers who come to our shows with their children and grandchildren to experience our music.
Nitanju: I have always loved the fact that whenever we walk on stage, grandparents, young children and everyone in between regardless of race, would all be in attendance and share in our offerings. I love the freedom to address any issues that relate to humankind, without having to be fearful of losing funding. It has allowed us to be a voice to many who are unable to raise their voices. And I have loved the sisterhood! Not only to be able to work alongside my own precious sister, but to be with all the women help bring life to Sweet Honey in the Rock. Within this sisterhood, I have learned many valuable lessons on how to navigate in this often-cruel world, not only through the music, but through the individual struggles we’ve shared as Black women. We move forward, unapologetically, in the face of challenges with our health, our children, our parents/husbands/partners, our finances, even our faith. I have learned something from each sister who has helped me to grow and be.
50BOLD: Does the group’s name have a spiritual meaning?
Carol: Well, I understand that it is a phrase that comes from the 91st Psalms that speaks of a land that is so rich when you crack a rock open honey flows from that rock. Bernice was contemplating a sermon that her father gave about this Psalm, and the melody of Sweet Honey in the Rock came to her. She kept singing it and all she had was the chorus. It was the first song she taught us when the original ensemble came together. We were singing that song and it sounded so pretty, and I said out loud to someone, ‘Wow that would be a great name for the group.’ And so it was! As the years went on, the group decided it was very much a metaphor for Black women. That we have to be strong, and sometimes appear quite hard on the outside, but when you crack open that rock there’s the heart of it all; you will find sweetness oozing like honey from that rock.
50BOLD: What is the significance of your cultural contribution to Black music?
Carol: Sweet Honey in the Rock is unique. Who would have known back when we started out that the music and style, the messages, and cultural expressions, that we would always include over the years would be sustainable? I don’t know of anyone who still sings some of the old hymns, blues, the way we do them, or the children’s song, the way we played them. Keeping this legacy alive is what we do. But how do we pass this on? Who out there is still doing what we’re doing, and merging it with popular styles? We are unique. Our repertoire is eclectic and so nuanced in terms of the culture. We have songs from the 19th century to early 20th century. We have songs from the church, our religious expression, Baptist, Catholic, AME. We write new songs, new styles of vocal expressions. We do all the genres. We got it all for you. The legacy of Sweet Honey in the Rock is deep and wide, and it has contributed greatly to Black music.
50BOLD: You all possess such a stunning vocal prowess! For those who are unfamiliar with your sound, how would you describe it?
Carol: One of the things I think that is unique about the group is that we do not get anyone to replace another singer. When we have to get a new singer, we take that person for what it is they bring as a performer, as a vocalist, as a socially conscious activist and artist, as an instrumental musician, and as a songwriter/arranger. We are all unique. So, there is no such thing as replacing a person.
There is an expansion of the gifts we want to offer our audiences. Everyone should be able to sing in many registers and explore different genres. We are continuing to grow. We don’t sing like we did on a record either. Everybody has an opportunity to explore and grow their craft within Sweet Honey’s repertoire as best they can. And like I said, it’s always good to do other work outside of what we do because it helps you grow as well. It’s all about growth, expansion and learning new things not only about yourself, but about the world in which you live.
50BOLD: What is your secret with regards to longevity in the entertainment business?
Carol: I will say, I believe, we are still doing what we do because of our fans. From the people who grew up with the music, to the folks who maybe knew our name, saw something on YouTube, and then, began following us. I always tell the fans, we are, because they are. They want you, so, where they are, that’s where we’ll go!
Louise: Also, to stay true to yourself and have some content that speaks to people’s needs and concerns also contributes to our longevity.
50BOLD: Your songs deliver messages, and this is done without rancor. Is this, would you say, is also a reason for your longevity?
Carol: That’s kind of hard to say. Some people didn’t expect our music to have such an impact on them. Yes, we do try to deliver our messages without any rancor. We really do approach all our messages with a great deal of love and caring for humanity. For the people in our audience, when they listen to our music, they hear a message. We try to give encouragement by letting them know to be fearless, raise their voices, stay on the battlefield, and make a change. Do something good for some person each day. Just be good and have a good mind. Uplift the planet, uplift your home, your own heart, your neighborhood. Do good, that’s the strongest thing I can say, to be good, and to share your goodness. And that comes through in the songs. I believe that we write and rearrange songs that we offer from the heart.
Louise: Yes, I would say there is truth to this. I think our intention is love and sometimes anger is a part of that expression, especially when it reveals injustices and highlights the rights that we all deserve.
50BOLD: Your music encompasses West African influences. What was the draw for you regarding this type of musical incorporation?
Nitanju: Long before I joined Sweet Honey, I spent a major part of my life totally immersed in African culture of the diaspora. I was studying and teaching dance and music particularly of West Africa–Senegal, Mali, Guinea, and Ghana, as well as of Haiti, Brazil, and South Africa.
50BOLD: WOW, what a remarkable journey you’ve had!
Nitanju: Yes, it was definitely a marvelous experience!
50BOLD: Sweet Honey has taken their musical stylings abroad. Has there ever been any challenges with languages since the group is singing in English?
Carol: Sometimes it seems language might be a barrier but it works out. Some places we have done a page of most of our songs with the lyrics translated to that country’s language, so people can get an idea what we’re singing about. They get the feeling, and they get the sound. We also had sign language interpreters from each country on stage with us and ASL in a foreign language as well. That’s quite a full stage, but everyone has a great experience watching, listening, and learning, how to communicate through sound and sign language. Communication is key.
50BOLD: Sweet Honey in the Rock has traveled all over the world to some amazing places and have met some fabulous people. I hear you have many celebrities who are also fans. Are there any celebrities in particular who come to mind?
Barbara: I had no idea how extensive the celebrity fan base for Sweet Honey was! I was overwhelmed with awe and disbelief when we had an opportunity to perform at an honorary event for Angela Davis. Afterward, she was so down to earth and accommodating, allowing people to take pictures with her, autographing books. Harry “Papa” Belafonte always asked the group to perform at different social rights event, and his daughter Shari, continues the tradition.
Carol: I enjoyed meeting the Obamas, Harry Belafonte, Winnie Mandela, Joe Biden, John Lewis, Maxine Waters, Eleanor Holmes Norton. Oh yes, I’ve also met Angela Bassett and Courtney Vance, Kiki Shepard, Phylicia Rashad, Sonia Sanchez, and so many more.
Nitanju: We had the privilege of singing in celebration of Nelson Mandela at Madison Square Garden in New York City, when he was finally released from prison–another honor that will always remain in my heart.
50BOLD: How about the many places you have traveled throughout the world? Are there any countries that you found most memorable?
Louise: We’ve met so many people and have been to so many places, but one country that stands out for me is Peru. First of all, I like the work we did there. We held a concert and went to the embassy. We also visited a few communities. In one of the communities the police force actually introduced Sweet Honey. They were trying to make a connection with the community, so they sponsored one of our concerts in that community.
Also, in Peru we did a Satellite workshop. They had different classrooms that were in the mountains, and we were on satellite. We would go in one classroom and the other classrooms could view it via satellite. They were able to ask questions, talk and interact with us. When their time was up, they took us to another classroom in another village to do the same thing. It was great!
Carol: There has been so many amazing highlights and experiences. I’ve been to Victoria Falls, the Great Wall of China, Stonehenge, Alice Springs, art museums, beautiful hotels, stunning performance spaces. It has all been quite awesome and energy-changing. There are sounds all around you. Different kinds of cultural personalities too. Some people are more open and giving than others. Some I suspect have never seen a Black person anywhere for any reason, only on TV, and in the crazy movies they see overseas (laughs).
The Great Wall was mind blowing. Nitanju and I left a copy of Still the Same Me recording on cassette inside one of the holes in the Wall.
50BOLD: Oh really?
Carol: Yes, and I have the photo to prove the deed. I said, ‘Why don’t we just stick one of our cassettes in here. Maybe someone will get it and listen and become a fan!’ To this day, I wonder if anyone actually found it and is now a fan. (laughs). There are too many stories to tell, way too many to share here. The one thing I would say is that I wish we were all able to travel first class all the time! Yeah! (laughs)
Nitanju: We have been fortunate to travel the world. We’ve been to every continent except Antarctica. It’s not easy to choose only a few of the most meaningful, but I will try. I enjoyed performing in Japan. We had to send our program and lyrics ahead of time so that they could be translated for the audience. Once on stage, along with the five singers was our sign language interpreter, Shirley Childress Johnson, as well as a Japanese sign language interpreter. To witness the flow of information and music was an exciting exchange of inclusiveness that I will never forget!
In New Zealand, we were formally welcomed in full ceremony by the Māori people. It was such an honor to experience their culture in such a spiritual way, and to understand the depth of their trust, as they brought us to their sacred ground and shared breath with each one of us.
In Belize, we shared each concert with a Garifuna (Editor’s note: descendants of an Afro-indigenous population from the Caribbean island of St. Vincent who were exiled and eventually wound up on Belize) ensemble of musicians. It was the same in Australia. We always shared the stage with a local Aboriginal ensemble. On one of our off days, we traveled to Hopkins Village where we were able to experience the traditional dances, drumming, and songs, which included the elders, teens, and small children!
In Ethiopia, we worked with a group of young women who also sang a capella (Yegna). We had a wonderful exchange and learned some of their music and vice versa, so that we could share the stage together.
50BOLD: What a life altering experience you all had in your travels throughout the world! What about here in this country? Do you have a memorable experience in the U.S. you’d like to share?
Nitanju: I definitely have a memorable experience that took place in Washington, DC during the height of the pandemic in 2020. All of our concerts had been cancelled due to the shutdown, so we put our heads together because we wanted to try and offer something special for Juneteenth. Backed by various companies, we went to the Howard Theatre, which had been closed for a while and offered a virtual tribute celebrating Juneteenth.
It was a daring undertaking, because it was at that time when there were reports of increasing deaths every day, with masking and six-foot distancing. But we all decided we were up for the challenge. Fueled by the wisdom of our elder, Toni Morrison, whose words reminded us: ‘This is precisely the time when artists go to work. There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal.’ Our only remaining question was, ‘How to pull this off?’
With a tiny crew from the theatre and our sound engineer, the airflow onstage was redirected behind us, plexiglass partitions were mounted to establish a safe zone for each of us to sing without masks, giant viewing monitors were set in front of us for our Zoom audience, a full screen behind us for all of our guest artists and the directive that no one could walk onstage into the front area where all the potentially dangerous droplets were. The concert began. Bryan Stevenson, Sonia Sanchez, Danny Glover, KiKi Shepard, William Barber III, Jenifer Lewis, students from XQ, Jordan Ware, Sophia Dawson, and Aloe Blacc all joined us via video. And we were able to raise funds to support the Equal Justice Initiative as well!
50BOLD: What a miracle everyone was able to make that happen! Thanks for sharing what you were able to accomplish during the height of the pandemic in 2020. But isn’t that what Sweet Honey has always been about? You all have been doing incredible community work here and abroad for a long time. In fact, I remember being blown away when I saw Sweet Honey on YouTube conducting a special program in 2009 for the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts series. You were interacting with high school students from Virginia, and they were learning so much from all of you. Shirley was teaching them various ways in which to portray the wind through sign language. They were also engaged in call and response songs. My favorite was listening to the high school students recite a powerful poetry-rap-called Young & Positive that Nitanju wrote and was teaching them. I loved seeing how the students were captivated. Is this also part of the important work Sweet Honey does in communities here and abroad?
Carol: Yes, we have a very strong desire to reach younger audiences whether in high school, college, or in elementary school. Young people hear the message because the music really reaches down into you. You get the music, the thought and the teaching behind it that’s coming in a beautiful melody, funky rhythm, contemporary rap-poetry style, or free styling. Whatever it is we do, we want to be able to reach young people to let them know that dreams can truly be a possibility.
If you have a dream and a vision, it is possible but with hard work, joyful work, exhausting work—whatever it is, you do have to put in the effort. When you put in the effort, you will receive grace. The grace of understanding, knowledge, inspiration, and how you can help because everybody has something to give. And we are truly made for the times that we are in. We are designed to be right where we are, and to continue to do the best that we can do to uplift others. Uplift the planet. Uplift the vibration.
50BOLD: Nitanju, I loved your rap/poetry song Young & Positive that you taught some high school students. Can you recite a few lines so that our readers can get a feel as to why I was so moved?
Nitanju: Sure. Here is a chorus and a verse.
I am young, and I am positive.
I am the future; I’m going to tell it like it is.
I won’t let anything stand in my way,
My eyes are on the prize, and they will stay that way
I’ve got self-respect and a whole lot of pride.
I won’t let you bring me down into a negative stride.
Down a dead-end street where only trouble lies
That’s not the way to keep my eyes on the prize.
And I had seen a young man do this as a poem in front of an audience of young people. And I was so struck by that. We haven’t performed this in a long time, but when we used to perform it a lot, the young people just seemed too happy to be saying such a thing.
50BOLD: That’s SO amazing! Now, the beloved Bernice Reagon Johnson, played a significant role in the Civil Rights Movement, and I felt proud to see her rich legacy included in the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta. What do you want people to remember about this innovative and remarkable singer and activist?
Carol: With Bernice, we had to come from someplace that was much more personal and deeper than from my own experiences as an African American in this country. As artists, to put creativity out in front of the public, sometimes requires going very deep into our feelings and emotions. So, the music had to reflect this in our performances. Bernice always encouraged us to go from the truth. What are you singing about? Why is it important? She really is quite a force, and her songwriting is exquisite. She covers so many territories, genres and emotions. As a performer, I have watched Bernice grow. I watched her grow as we all did. But, I learned a lot from her. I love, honor, and respect her memory and legacy. I am glad to be one of the founders of Sweet Honey in the Rock.
Nitanju: Bernice is a visionary, a historian, a deep and critical thinker of life, and a phenomenal vocalist/songwriter. I spent many years sitting just to her right onstage and am still marveling at so many of the truths she shared with us and the audience, so freely, so giving. Bernice’s brilliance is an example of a woman who moves through life standing up in spite of the obstacles, and her light will always shine on us all.
50BOLD: Doing my research on the group, I noticed that although you’ve had many performances in the last 50 years, I didn’t see any appearances on award or talk shows. Is this something Sweet Honey would be interested in?
Louise: Most definitely–it would be fantastic! We’d love for these kinds of opportunities to happen as we continue to move forward.
50BOLD: I know Sweet Honey celebrates their 50th anniversary this month. What can your fans expect from this milestone occasion?
Louise: In celebration of our 50th anniversary on November 17, we’re having a Zoom birthday party. We want everybody to come and join us if they’re able to from 7 to 8:30pm. They can just come and share their stories and experiences with Sweet Honey. We have generations of fans now, three and four generations of people. Parents tell their children, and their children tell their children.
Carol: We are in the process of planning events for the next two years. We are in partnership with the West Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, and they are helping us with our logistics. More information will be posted on our website. I would urge our readers to please sign up on our website and join us on social media. A lot of information is always shared there. Come and join us on this auspicious journey on November 17, and expect surprises wherever possible. We have plans for sure but new and exciting things can pop off at any moment.
50BOLD: Wonderful! By the way, is there something special about the date of November 17 for the anniversary celebration?
Carol: Yes, it’s the anniversary of our first performance at Howard University in 1973. We sang blues and a few spirituals. It was for the W.C. Handy Blues & Barbecue Festival.
50BOLD: What do you envision as the next step for the group moving forward? What would you like to see happen?
Barbara: I would like to see more collaborations with different artists and groups, especially people with different abilities. There are deaf dancers, blind musicians, and singers in wheelchairs whom we could showcase.
50BOLD: I know many entertainers faced difficult times during the pandemic where performances were canceled that year. Has the group faced financial challenges since then?
Carol: I think that people often see us as celebrities in the entertainment industry, but we are a small organization. We don’t have a big staff or a lot of people helping us. We are hoping that this is going to change soon. When a call goes out that we are trying to do a fundraiser, I would hope our fanbase would support the effort. Fundraising has been a struggle. Louise, Nitanju, Aisha, and I have an organization that is a nonprofit called SHERA. It is an organization we put together to help support the work of Sweet Honey in the Rock, and other artist activists. We have a big goal of course, but are hoping to reach out to be able to support the various activities.
We are also working for the 50th and for the year following it which we called 50 and Beyond–2024–2025. We continue to post information about it on social media, but it has been slow going. We hope people will know that we are working hard to keep the organization going. And we need funding to do that. The pandemic hit us hard. So, that’s all I’ll say about this.
50BOLD: How can people reach you on social media to support your efforts?
50BOLD: How would you like Sweet Honey to be remembered?
Carol: I’d like to see Sweet Honey in the Rock remembered as a cultural force with a legacy that lasts throughout the centuries. It is my wish that everyone around the world has heard of Sweet Honey in the Rock and that our music is appreciated. Our impact on various organizations and communities is honored. I am hopeful that our 50 years are recognized as being just as important as 50 years of hip-hop. I really want the group to be honored and recognized. Not necessarily as individuals, but the whole trauma, and story, and collective energies, that have made this group stay on this battlefield for justice, equality, kindness, fairness, and truth. I want it to remain in the minds and hearts of those who hear our music and who are inspired to get up and do something to bring about a change. Sweet Honey in the Rock is forever!
Nitanju: When I think about Sweet Honey in the Rock, 50 and Beyond, I hope that there are hearts and ears open to receive the kind of path we’ve tried to create and that there’s courage and perseverance to move it all forward. I hope that somebody can look at the work we’ve created and will want to take that baton and go forward with it. We are all about the service and I hope that the important work we are trying to do will continue 50 and beyond.