By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
They have been married for more than 50 years and singing together all the while.
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The legendary duo of Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr. joined the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) and the Black Press of America’s live morning breaking news show, “Let It Be Known,” for a special interview.
The couple, who began their illustrious career with The 5th Dimension, and whose 1977 single “You Don’t Have to Be a Star (To Be in My Show),” was their first No. 1 hit, has released their first album in 30 years.
“Blackbird: Lennon-McCartney Icons,” is a continuation of their decades-long activism for social justice and equity.
“We got together with a young man named Nic Mendoza and talked about direction and which way to go,” McCoo said during the 25-minute interview in which the seven-time Grammy winners closed the show by belting out a note to their signature song.
“I felt that something needed to be said about what was happening in our country today, and we wanted to speak out and encourage, especially our young people who are showing such concern about the direction we are going in,” McCoo continued.
“We also knew that Lennon and McCartney wrote this civil rights tune called Blackbird, and we knew how powerful it was. We decided that we needed to be able to make a statement.
“That is what we did with Blackbird. It talks about civil rights and about our Black kids leaving home and not being able to come back home because of police violence and gun violence.”
McCoo and Davis’s legendary career includes making history as the first African American couple to star in a network series.
McCoo revolutionized television on a separate occasion as a mature Black woman with a younger White man, Andy Gibb, as the hosts of “Solid Gold.”
Davis frequently joined as a guest.
The legends are enjoying a renaissance, appearing in Questlove’s ‘Summer of Soul’, which won the Grand Jury Prize & Audience Award at Sundance Film Festival.
“We appreciate all that Questlove has done. We have to give him his due,” Davis stated.
McCoo emphasized why the new project is titled Blackbird.
“When a blackbird leaves our mother’s nest, one day, it will not return. In 2021, mothers throughout our country live in the fear that our blackbirds may prematurely not be able to return to the nest of home because of bigotry and violence,” she stated.
“Blackbird is dedicated to the life and humanity of every blackbird, whether living now or lost in battle.”