Last week, Walmart shoppers in Laurel, Maryland witnessed an impromptu, revamped rendition of Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” from a flash mob with brass band accompaniment. Respect DC, a group of community activists sang a clear, serious message, imploring the retailer to show respect to the Washington, D.C. neighborhoods in which it’s planning to open new stores. Their lyrics spoke of how they would Walmart meet with community leaders and guarantee in writing to improve the quality of life in those neighborhoods, and pay customers decent wages.
Alan Barber, an associate at the Laurel Walmart, told RespectDC.org was shocked:
When I saw the large crowd, heard the band and the words, I couldn’t believe it. But then to listen to their words—that associates should be respected, too — that really touched me, because we don’t get the respect we deserve at work. Management overworks and underpays us, and then makes things worse by creating a climate of fear so most associates are too afraid to demand better treatment.
When it comes to community protests, this surely has to be one of the most creative ones to come along. View a video of the performance below.