If you are at a Black wedding you will experience some variety of line dancing and soul music from the 1970s. I could go further in this list, but let’s focus here. Music is an integral part of African-American culture. I dare say, it is the best part. Music trumps food. Unlike those turnips greens with all the pork, Al Green never bothered anyone’s sugar, hypertension, or gout.
The soul music of the 1970s is the sweet spot of Blackness. Artists like Isaac Hayes, James Brown, Otis Redding, and Al Green were popular, but they were not pop. They were unapologetically Black and they told you so to a funky, up-tempo beat or a slow easy groove. The 1970s was also the time of the bands like Earth, Wind, and Fire, The Bar-kays, and the Isley Brothers. This time period gave us jive-talking, afros, and blaxploitation films like Dolemite, Foxy Brown, and The Mack. Which brings us back to the music. You can’t have a Black movie without some good music and for that, you called Willie Hutch.
Willie Hutch was a career musician, songwriter, and producer during the 1960s until his death in 2005. His song “Brother’s Gonna Work It Out” has been sampled 38 times. Recently, it was sampled in Ro James’ hit “Permission” in 2015. Hutch worked on the soundtracks for both The Mack and Foxy Brown. His ballad from The Mack entitled “I Choose You” became the breakout hit from that film. That is the song you are likely to hear at any Black wedding, especially in the South.
The lyrics for “I Choose You” are simple and honest. They are the words that any bride wants to hear from her groom.
You were there
When no one else
Would be in my corner
Girl and it’s you that I’ve learned to love
And I place no one above….
I’ve found that once in a lifetime….
You’re the kind of woman any man would be proud to know
Not only are the lyrics sweet and tender, but the production of the music is amazing. The music of 1970s usually involved a full band, and the musicianship truly shines in this piece. The prominent horns, a common fixture in soul music, are showcased as well.
Because imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, UGK and Outkast heavily sampled “I Choose You” in their 2007 remake “International Player’s Anthem.” The lyrics aren’t quite as tender, but the message is similar. The video features a nervous Andre 3000 as he prepares to marry the woman of his dreams. His friends are hesitant, but they support his decision. And isn’t that what love is? Not just an uncontrollable emotion that makes you do wild and crazy things. Love is about commitment to your chosen person and the life you choose to build with that person. I think that’s why weddings are so important to all of us. We are all just trying to get chose.
What’s your favorite wedding song? How many weddings have you been to so far this year? Is there one song that you keep hearing over and over? Comment below. As always, if you enjoyed the content of this blog, follow, like, and share.