Produced on the occasion of the exhibition Citing Black Geographies, GRAY and Luaka Bop jointly present When Do We Get Paid? (In Full), an EP by the Staples Jr. Singers based on their record originally released in 1975. This limited edition record was released to play within the exhibition at GRAY Chicago, and fills the gallery with gospel music. Just as these songs might permeate a church, When Do We Get Paid? (In Full) activates the gallery on a sonic level and evokes the communally-felt experience of Black space.
Recorded by the Staples Jr. Singers in January of 2022 at The Message Center, a church in West Point, Mississippi, this EP revisits material from their original 1975 album, When Do We Get Paid, signifying the first time this group has played these songs in nearly 50 years. The reprise, When Do We Get Paid? (In Full), acknowledges the power of the Black church as an important Black space, as well as the family’s committed relationship to the South and their home state of Mississippi.
Originating from Aberdeen, Mississippi, the Staples Jr. Singers, like many gospel acts of the time, were a family of musicians, four generations and counting, and included members Annie, A.R.C., and Edward Brown. The Browns grew up playing on the banks of the Tombigbee River, writing songs about what they saw: the backlash to desegregation, poverty, and Civil Rights. Part of a vanguard of soul gospel artists in the 1970s that broke from tradition in their music, the Staples Jr. Singers were teenagers when they began their foray into music and built a reputation playing school talent shows and front yards in town. The Staples Jr. Singers first released When Do We Get Paid in 1975 and drew inspiration directly from their lives. Since this initial release, the Staples Jr. Singers have written a robust catalogue of gospel music – the incantatory nature of which still holds power today, and speaks to a hopeful revival from dark and troubled times. Forty years, three generations, and countless performances later, the original members of the Staples Jr. Singers are still on the gospel circuit, frequently performing at local churches and beyond.
ABOUT CITING BLACK GEOGRAPHIES
Citing Black Geographies presents the work of fifteen artists whose practices examine “black space”—a term describing the topographies, zones, scenes, and structures that portend black cultural experience. Curated by Romi Crawford, a cultural theorist and professor of visual and critical studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the exhibition includes works by Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones), Dawoud Bey, McArthur Binion, the Black Arts Movement School Modality, Nick Cave, Coco Fusco, Theaster Gates, Rashid Johnson, Tony Lewis, the Staples Jr. Singers, Tavares Strachan, Jan Tichy, Jina Valentine, Carrie Mae Weems, and Amanda Williams.