Mississippi needs a song to sing

December 6, 2017 in News

By Jackie Hampton,

Publisher,

DSC04154Minutes after jazz artist Pam Confer sang her new song “Mississippi Beautiful” in the Mississippi State Capitol Rotunda, the world received news that President Donald Trump would be attending the December 9 grand opening of the new Mississippi Civil Rights Museum. The Museum of Mississippi History also opens to the public that day.

Confer’s new song will be permanently featured in Gallery Number 8 of the Civil Rights Museum and in light of the buzz surrounding Trump’s visit, Confer said that Mississippi needs a song to sing.

In an interview with The Mississippi Link prior to the press conference, Confer said, “I thought about the opening of the two new museums and said to myself, we need a new song, we need to be happy and proud.” One day while walking her dog Jazzie, the lyrics began to come to her.

Confer is dedicating her new song to the Mississippi Bicentennial, Dec. 10, which she hopes will show Mississippi in a new light. She said the lyrics continued to unfold as she thought, “It’s our birthday and this song could be a birthday gift to us.

Confer said the two museums depict that we are taking part in our own destiny. “We had no part in our destiny 200 years ago.“ She confirmed, “the “we” includedes Mississippians of all races, hues, cultures, backgrounds and religions.” She said, “It’s all so exciting to be able to frame Mississippi in a different way.”

Confer said the song starts out asking the question, who are we? Everything going forward answers the opening lyrics. She said her song allows Mississippians to say who we are rather than someone else saying who we are.

Confer softly began to sing, “Who are we, what do we stand for? Who are we, what do we claim? We are faces of joy and pain. Mississippi who are we, for nothing remains the same, for even the seasons change. We are more than just a name. The more that we can see, the more we can believe we are beautiful, we are beautiful the moment we believe, the moment we believe it, we will be free.”

Confer said she truly believes that just because we are beautiful, it doesn’t mean that we are unflawed. Her hope is that Mississippians can use this song to ease some of our painful history. Though many have suffered, she does not want to define that pain but allow her lyrics to heal the pain.

The Monday press conference was well attended. Rep. Debra Gibbs, District 72, in her welcome, said that Confer exudes confidence. Using one of Confer’s favorite quotes, Gibbs said, “It’s not how you shine, but how you polish,” as she described this award winning Mississippi artist.

Confer said that her song is for the diversity of Mississippi and would love for it to become the state song. She said that Mississippi was once the 6th most diverse state in the country.

Dolphus Weary, former president of Mission Mississippi, said that Confer has used her gifts to bless so many. “In 1967 when I got on a bus to go to California, we rode across the Mississippi River bridge in Vicksburg, and all I could say was good-bye Mississippi, I’m gone and I’m never coming back,” he said.

Weary said he was so glad he came back. “It’s  time for us to stop talking about what happened yesterday but rather ask ourselves what are we going to do today and tomorrow?” He said we need to create a new story because the old story is gone and that Confer’s song gives us the enthusiasm, the joy and the new energy to move forward and create that new story.

Also attending the press conference was Brandon Mitchell, one of Confer’s producers. She said that he was a professional and talented young musician. Marcus Singleton, her other producer, was not present.

Confer is director of Community and Public Relations at Nissan – North America in Canton. She serves as the choir director for the Nissan Canton Choir; the only choir in the automotive industry in the country. She is the executive producer, writer and singer of “Mississippi Beautiful.”