If you know this song title then you likely know one or more of the many versions sung over the decades by well known and less well known artists.
“Respect Yourself” by the Staple Singers was the first version and was written by Stax Records singer Luther Ingram together with house songwriter Mack Rice.
Ingram was frustrated with the state of the world at the time and reputedly told Rice “black folk need to learn to respect themselves.”
Rice liked the comment so much that he built a funk groove around the lyric and gave the song to The Staples, who were also signed to the label. The message within the song accompanied by a soul-gospel feel encouraged self-empowerment and dignity.
The song gained popularity among the membership of the burgeoning self-empowerment movement for African-Americans. Timing is everything they say and this was the post-civil-rights-movement 1970’s – in no time the song became a civil-rights anthem.
After the song’s release in September 1971, “Respect Yourself” reached No. 12 on Billboard’s pop chart and No. 2 on its soul chart in December.
The single was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2002. Read more on this in an interesting article featured in the WSJ earlier this year.
Respect and leadership
Of course, respect is something that is important to a leader. Organizational behaviour, social dynamics, and psychology often talk about power and how this ties in heavily with the concept of respect.
We all know someone who simply walks into a room and becomes the complete focus of attention for everyone. This ability to muster the attention of others is not something magical, it is often the result of studied effort.
Clinton Jones is a seasoned writer with broadcast experience on the KenRadio Broadcasting Tech Talk Africa channel and with Road Algoa FM’s Computer bureau. He has experience in international enterprise technology and business process on four continents and has a focus on integrated enterprise business technologies, business change and business transformation. In past roles Clinton has worked for Fortune 500 companies and non-profits across the globe.