The Harlem Gospel Travelers were brought together by Eli “Paperboy” Reed, as they were students that he was mentoring as part of a gospel class he was teaching. As the students began to develop their own style and write songs, Eli decided they needed to get into the studio and put something down. So he enlisted the help of friends to serve as a band for his students, including drummer Aaron Frazer (Durand Jones & The Indications, The Flying Stars Of Brooklyn NY), and the results speak for themselves. Old-school, get up and shout southern gospel! In honor of Juneteenth, The Harlem Gospel Travelers shared their single “Fight On.”
The Harlem Gospel Travelers’ group member and songwriter Thomas Gatling says this about the song:
“During slavery, songs were a form of communication for black people. These songs became known as hymns, or as our seasoned saints call them, the songs that brought us over. ‘Fight On’ was inspired by a hymn called ‘Hold On (Just A Little While Longer),’ a song used to encourage black people to not give up. Through that song, God gave me ‘Fight On.’ It was written to amplify the voices that for so long have fallen on deaf ears and to encourage and uplift people to continue the fight for equality and against white supremacy. Be empowered, my people. We are not thugs, we are innovators. We are intelligent and our feelings, hopes, dreams, and lives matter. Fight on, and everything’s gonna be alright.”
The video was filmed and edited by Sam Graff with protest footage by Jerome Eunis, Brett Roberts, Brad Reeb, Kelly Cahill and Kathleen Sheehan.