Brandon Camphor & OneWay released an acapella rendition of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” on June 4, as a way of celebrating Black Music Month. (Courtesy Photo)

By Micha Green
AFRO D.C. and Digital Editor

As June marks Black Music Month, D.C.-based Billboard charting Gospel group Brandon Camphor & OneWay celebrated with an acapella version of the Black National Anthem- “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” released on streaming services on June 4.

“It’s not only an anthem,” Brandon Camphor said in a statement.  “It’s also a prayer of thanksgiving to God for His faithfulness and our freedom. That’s what inspired us to record it.”

The foursome’s smooth sounding, acapella rendition of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” is a celebration of Black culture, resilience and beauty, much like the original intention of the poem written by James Weldon Johnson in 1900 and adapted to music by his brother Raymond Johnson in 1905.  Their voices mesh so well together and the sounds take listeners on an auditory journey that is not only fulfilling but a reminder of Black excellence.  

In the music video version of the song, the group wows viewers in white and gold ensembles as they pridefully and powerfully sing Lift Every Voice and Sing, which was declared as the Black National Anthem by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1919.

Brandon Camphor & OneWay have been impressing audiences with Billboard Gospel chart-topping hits over the last decade, including, “God of Mercy,” “His Name,” “You Are God,” and “I Choose You,” which peaked at No. 21 in 2015.  

Part of the group’s secret sauce, other than training, practice and God-given talent, might be that they’ve been singing together for years.  The group includes Camphor, Angela Jones, Fred Cleveland and Julia McMillan and three out of the four members (Camphor, Jones and Cleveland) actually attended high school together at Duke Ellington School of the Arts, an institution that ensures that the Black National Anthem is often included at most events in performances.

“Angela and I were in the school choir together, Fred was in the theater department,” Camphor said. “We sang at almost every school concert.”

This is not the group’s first acapella version to excite and ignite airwaves, as they received great feedback after their recording of “Happy Birthday Jesus” released last holiday season.

“After the great response to our acapella `Happy Birthday, Jesus’ Christmas song last year, we realized that people really liked hearing us deliver acapella music,” Camphor said. “It’s also a way to showcase the group’s vocal ability, harmony, and style.”

Check out Brandon Camphor & OneWay’s acapella version of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” on streaming services including Apple Music, iTunes, Spotify, Amazon Music, Tidal and YouTube Music. 


Micha Green

AFRO Washington, D.C. Editor