By now you’ve seen or at least heard some rendition of Pastor Shirley Caesar singing about all the food “the Internet” intends to eat on Thanksgiving. Yes it’s hilarious, but a lot of people are wondering where this clip even came from in the first place. So let’s start from the beginning shall we?
Who is Pastor Shirley Caesar?
In short, she’s a legend. With over 6 decades in Gospel, Pastor Shirley Caesar has produced 11 albums– one of which went gold– and racked up 11 Grammy Awards, 18 Stellar Awards and 7 Dove Awards. Among many other professional achievement, her huge success as an artist has earned her the title of “The First Lady of Gospel.”
Ok, so why is she singing about food in the pulpit?
Well, one of her more popular songs is a Gospel classic called “Hold My Mule.” If you’re into stand up comedy you’ve heard at least one comedian reference this line from the black church in a joke or sketch.
Anyway, during a 2007 live performance of the song Pastor Shirley Caesar explained the backstory of the common phrase with an anecdote about a man named Shouting John. In short, he would come to church and turn up! The deacons of the church went to his farm to ask him to find his chill on Sunday’s, at which time the older man explained why he’s so lit– because of everything God has done for him.
As the conclusion, Pastor Caesar asks her audience to count their own blessings at which time she kicked thighs off listing her own reasons to get her praise on. Among her list were the ingredients now known as “The Thanksgiving Anthem.”
So how did it go viral?
Last week someone posted a clip of this performance on Twitter with a meme that read:
Me: Grandma, what are you making for Thanksgiving?
Grandma: (insert 15 second clip of Pastor Caesar rattling off staple Soul Food menu items)
I guess #BlackTwitter got a hold of it and popular digital video mash-up king @iComplexity and music producer @RemixGodSuede collaborated to produce the video series that is sweeping the Internet today.
Crazy how we millennials have the power to take something old (and maybe even forgotten) and breathe new life into it via the web!