George T. Nierenberg's documentary presents an inspiring tribute to gospel music and to black men and women who have given it their special service and enthusiasm. In 2019, the film was rereleased in a 4K restoration by Milestone Films with support from the African American Museum of History and Culture and the Academy Film Archive. For a screening of this beautiful version, visit sayamensomebody.com.
The focus is on the lives and ministries (yes, that is how they see them) of Mother Willie Mae Ford Smith, a 77-year-old woman, who has been singing for the Lord for 60 years, and Thomas A. Dorsey, the father of gospel music. Although she started out mainly performing at revivals, her career has been buoyed by engagements all over the country.
In preparation for Mother Smith's anniversary concert, we meet several of her friends including the talented Barrett Sisters who sing "The Storm Is Passing Over." The O'Neal Twins sing "Jesus Dropped the Charges," a lively gospel number. All of these black men and women are "anointed singers" who have a "good news" message to proclaim. Mother Smith recaps the illustrious career of her mentor Thomas H. Dorsey, whose classic "Take My Hand, Precious Lord" is still popular today.
The music on Say Amen, Somebody will lift your spirit and set your toes a tappin' on the floor.