Gregory Porter has released “Mister Holland,” a soulful new song with a pointed underlying message about acceptance and racial prejudice from his forthcoming album ALL RISE.
Porter's version of protest can be worldly or down-home, as on “Mister Holland.” The brass-blessed southern soul jam finds Porter (ironically) thanking the white father of his love interest for not making any trouble over his black skin. Porter explains: “That suggests that maybe I liked a girl when I was 15 and I came to a door and somebody said, ‘Nigger, if you don't get away from this house...’ That type of energy is being resurrected and made to feel okay these days. I think about things like that for my son."
“Ultimately ‘Mister Holland’ is a song about equality,” continues Porter. “It’s about the desire for mutual respect and the desire for a young man to be treated like an average teenager.A song of thank you for being treated normal. The implied unspoken experience is the subtle protest of this song.Stevie and Marvin taught us how to groove with a social song, so, thank you Mister Holland.”
“Mister Holland” follows previous ALL RISE singles including the celebration of love “Phoenix,” the heartfelt ballad “If Love Is Overrated,” and the gospel-infused lead single “Revival,” with its powerful video starring dancer Jemoni Powe. “I wanted the video to have an important political message too,” says Porter, “which is why we chose to honor the young man from Baltimore, Freddie Gray, at the beginning. There are so many things in life that can get you down and make you feel small, whether it be racism, self-doubt, insecurity, or financial situations. It’s about finding your source of strength to bring you back to seeing who you truly are so that you can be restored to the giant that you are.”
The album ALL RISE will release on August 28.