The things that make life sweeter, even if only for a moment… is finding love and realizing why you have been placed on this earth…
Finding love and realizing his place on earth were the subject of the powerful speech delivered by Charles Holt, a Broadway actor and movitional speaker at the Business and Community Unity Brunch hosted by The Martin Luther King Jr. Observance Day Association. The brunch was held last Saturday at the International Trade and Convention Center. Holt motivated hundreds in attendance and moved with his journey of being arrested by the love of music.
Holt reminisced about being a young boy, around 4 years old in the front room of his grandmother’s home. He remembered sitting with her as she would sang. She wanted him to sing with her and said “Boy just open your big mouth!” Holt captured the audience and their hearts when he flawlessly belted out the song the way his grandmother taught him, singing “Great is Thy Faithfulness”.
Holt believes that it was the people like his grandmother who laid the foundation for Martin Luther King, Jr. King, also would sit around and listen to songs whose words were more than just lyrics, they ignited hope. “When Martin Luther King, Jr. thought times were getting hard, it was songs like Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around ( Holt sings) that helped him to continue the march across the bridge to Salem”, Holt explains.
Holt aspired to become a professional football player. He went on to graduate college and obtained a marketing position at IBM. He continuously found himself back in Memphis, TN singing at a nightclub. Holt quit his IBM job and began singing full time at the club. After losing his job at the club a friend encouraged him to audition for Broadway, and he did. He auditioned and was turned down for the musical Rent. He later auditioned for Smokey Joe’s Café and got the part and a part in Jesus Christ Superstar. After being on tour to several countries with other musicals, Holt received a call from Disney. He auditioned for The Lion King, a Broadway musical and gained the part of one of the hyenas. Holt said “this is the moment I realized my purpose”. On opening night as the characters sang The Circle of Life, Holt remembered it was his Granny who had gotten him there. “She didn’t know it would be Broadway, but she knew I would be using my voice” Holt said.
As Martin Luther King, Jr. said in his sermon entitled the “Drum Major Instinct “Tell them not to mention that I have a Nobel Peace Prize—that isn’t important. Tell them not to mention that I have three or four hundred other awards—that’s not important. Tell them not to mention where I went to school. I’d like somebody to mention that day that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to give his life serving others.
Holt closed by singing Amazing Grace and challenging the audience to continue to make a change, doing it through love. “Nothing you do matters unless you do it with love,” says Holt.
“If you can’t be the moon, be a star.” -Mary Mc- Leod Bethune