Saturday, December 31, 2005
Gloree-holly-lu...a new year has dawned upon us. And as 2005 concludes, we take a sneak-peek into what's 2 come for us in the new year. Things are looking hopeful for us all with projects from Greg Roberts & Soulful Celebration, James Hall & Worship and Praise and Malcolm Williams & Great Faith, making the grade for "Most Anticipated Album of 2006" in the Nuthinbutgospel/PRAYZEHYMN "The Good, The Bad, The Ugly" expose'. But check out from the man himself (that would be me) in our second online blogcast on upcoming releases, events and projects that are bound to come our way. Plus a lil' bit more. All under fifteen minutes.
PRAYZEHYMN Blogcast - Part I (Dec. 31)
The liberal crew at Rod 2.0, one of the most successful blogs online catering to various cultures and sub-cultures that deal with issues including fashion, politics, media and even homosexuality, may need to watch out. There's another Rod out there that's just as convincing and just as serious. Rod Parsley, the senior pastor of the World Harvest Church, a 5,200 seater housed in Columbus, OH whom is a favorite on the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), is taking his confident and intense message of revival to the masses along with his politically charged faith in the Republican party. While many critics have praised him for his boldness, he has also become one of the unpopular mega-church pastors in 2005 because of his shift towards "republicanized" ideas and concepts, which includes the war in Iraq in which he thoroughly supports. His sermons have also featured charges against abortion, gay marriage and even greater threats towards stem cell research and other Christian churches and institutions. A typical Sunday at World Harvest Church, to most observers, feature a charging display of praise and worship, excited congregants leaping in the spirit and radical moves of emotionalism and acts of God through healing and deliverance. Call it a Benny Hinn campmeeting on speed. But you must top it off with Parsley's radical preaching, or his special guests like John Ashcroft (R) whom share his views from a Republican perspective, in order to get the full effect of a World Harvest worship service. As of lately, trends have shifted from the regular to more, uncomfortability and private matters. What was once taboos in church are now being analyzed by Parsley: but the emphasis is on politics. He addresses those taboos with a political point-of-view. And he's not ashamed to say that.
In his latest book, Silent No More, Parsley declares that gays live unhappy and unhealthy lives, and he chides society for its acceptance of gay lifestyles. Gays are God's children, he says, but they have chosen a lifestyle that is harmful to themselves and society. "No one wants to talk about that because we hide behind this thin veil of political correctness," Parsley said during an interview. "I love homosexuals and lesbians, and I love them enough to tell them the truth." In his book, he also condemns Islam as being responsible for "more pain, more bloodshed and more devastation than nearly any other force on Earth." Yet Parsley said that he loves Muslims, too, and that it is his duty to try to convert them to Christianity.
He added that many Muslims want to destroy the United States, an objective he said is driven by some leaders within their faith. He also mentions, "There are clerics who will espouse love and teach their people that that's what the Quran teaches, but unless Islam is confronted from without and reformed from within, we are going to continue to have the kinds of difficulties we're seeing played out around the world today."
Kirk Franklin may have shouted out "GP, are you with me?". But when it comes to Rod Parsley, it's "GOP, are you with me?" Gabrielle Williamson, spokeswoman of the Ohio Democratic Party, believes differently stating "he needs to remember that God is not a Republican or a Democrat."
Parsley, whom is also a favorite in African-American circles for his preaching style and charisma, has also special interests in minority groups using his latest creation; the Center of Moral Clarity. Through his Center for Moral Clarity, one of the church's ministries, Parsley has embarked on a three-year campaign that he calls Reformation Ohio. Its goals are to register 400,000 new voters, organize black Ohioans who share conservative views on issues such as gays and abortion, and conduct getout-the vote rallies, all while leading 100,000 Ohioans to Jesus.
Surely the path Rod Parsley is engaging on is no different from Pat Robertson or Rev. Falwell. But with Parsley being the most popular in the evangelical community today and being as prolific as our modern political figures, it's pretty scary to see our pastors engaging in political issues but also knowing what happens behind the scenes regarding these issues. Imagine financial contributions being secretly poured into the Republican Party or future private endorsements from church contributions into political parties. Of course, the emphasis in the puplit should be on Christ and His Kingdom, but to hear sermons shifting towards opinionated beliefs that are still strongly split within the Christian community rather than the Great Commission, we should wonder are we really doing the Lord's Work or setting ourselves on a path that we personally desire and we hunger for.
A very powerful article written in the Columbus Dispatch has been posted online and reveals very important points and issues that may create a new vision upon Parsley's strongest supporters. It also goes in-depth on the issue of Parsley's assets and financial data being held confidential. While Parsley's telecast sites the opportunities of raising funds to help heal wounds in Sudan and with orphans, there is no public data revealing just how much of the proceeds from his supporters goes to these efforts. Instead we have seen high-profiled advertisements and campaigns regarding the Center of Moral Clarity and his latest book, Silent No More. You may want to catch up on this interesting article and learn something fresh on Parsley's political fight.
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
The Boys Choir of Harlem has performed for years across the globe using their extensive repertoire full of Negro spirituals, hymns, gospel music, jazz, classical interpretations and hundreds of scores from African-American composers and arrangers ranging from Moses Hogan and William Dawson. Unfortunately, the famed choir has run into a sour note or an abandoned piano out of tune. The choir is facing eviction from the New York Public School system where it has for years rehearsed for free and often provide instruction to over 500 talented boys ranging from grades 4-12. The dilemma surfaces after a major slump of expenses have been covered; tabulating a serious amount reaching debts up to $5 million. In January 2005, the Boys Choir sought $705,000 from the Department of Education to cover some of their financial problems. The department has never granted any monies to the Boys Choir of Harlem since it is a non-profit institution and basically leans off of donations and monies collected from extensive touring for its day-to-day operations. Still, the department refused to grant their request.
But the choir also faces some more grey areas of controversy. According to Michael Best, an attorney from the Department of Education, the choir failed in finding a new executive director to replace the founder Walter Turnbull. who was demoted that year to artistic director after an investigation concluded he did not act on reports that an employee hired by Turnbull sexually abused a student. Because of this dark cloud of confusion, it is possible that the department refused to grant their proposal for funds to help out with their outrageous debt. Alot has transpired since that accident, which includes many layoffs of staff employees due to the lack of funds to pay for their salaries
Donations from hip-hop moguls Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson and The Game have been collected to help their financial problems but apparently it wasn't enough. The choir's last day at their current location of services will be January 31, 2006. Mr. Turnbull cites that he is hopeful that they will probably find a new place to rehearse in the near future.
Message boards across the Internet are crying on the hands and mercy of hip-hop and R&B superstars to aid them, even Oprah. But can we also call on gospel artists such as Pastor Donnie McClurkin, Kirk Franklin, John P. Kee, Hezekiah Walker or Mary Mary to help out as well. The Boys Choir of Harlem has aided hundreds of young men to college and empowered their destinies. Yes, the group faces much controversy (and who can ignore the sexual misconduct issue), but if this institution desires to come out of the red, they must have a green light to help them; which proves that it certainly takes a village to raise a child.
Saturday, December 24, 2005
An exclusive special just in time for Christmas...
Our very first PRAYZEHYMN blogcast - featuring Christmas tunes, holy chit-chat, a word of encouragement and many well wishes for the holiday. Plus, we go in depth with the mystery behind the Christmas church closings and retail's final outcome for the holiday shopping season.
Share you comments here on the blog or send them to PRAYZEHYMN@yahoo.com
PRAYZEHYMN Blogcast - Part I (Dec. 24)
PRAYZEHYMN Blogcast - Part II (Dec. 24)
OK. Maybe it's too late to send a Christmas card or a gift by way of the U.S. Postal Service. But you can easily spread the love this holiday to PRAYZEHYMN, the official gospel communicator, online. Today is Christmas Eve, so feel free to put on your Santa hat and send a love gift using Paypal (the online version of a gift card). That will just make my day...and my holiday. So go on and be a bleshing (smiling).
I want to wish my friends, my family and all of the members of the PRAYZEHYMN Fellowship a blessed and glorious Christmas. And if you are just wondering here to the Blog or the site and are new to the PRAYZEHYMN Life...I want you to know that I love you, Christ loves you and that you may also enjoy your Christmas holiday. I pray you will witness the love of God like never before and experience the mighty wealth of His presence in your life this holiday. We celebrate Jesus on this, his observed birthday, and let there peace on earth; good will to all mankind.
Just a few friendly reminders this holiday:
1) Do not lie and say you loved the fruit cake when you fed it to the dog.
2) If you get a lump of coal in your stocking this year, don't get mad. Use it wisely to burn a good fire. The electric bill from overusage of the gas heater is too high this time of year.
3) Just because you see only nine cars in your church parking lot, that doesn't mean you should turn around and go home.
4) Open them gifts after church...you will feel better about the ones you don't want.
5) If you get two Ipods this holiday, instead of one, send the other to me. You will feel better afterwards.
6) If you are giving a pet this holiday, don't wrap them up. Normally this will harm the animal.
7) If you are giving a gift card, make sure the card also covers enough for tax. In other words, make sure the gift card has more than ten cents on it.
8) Try not to cuzz at your parents if they got you a box with the letter "X" on it; claiming it to be an Xbox.
9) Please try not to give coupons of 20% off to your church's bookstore. Everybody don't want the employee discount off of Pastor Jumbugg's latest series: "How To Get Out of Debt Part III".
10) Avoid buying bubble gum for church members. We don't need any more of that pink and white stuff underneath the pews. And also avoid buying the New Ebonic Ghettofied Revised Version of the Holy Bible. I read it...it's more confusing than Rod Parsley's Newly Converted Republican Edition.
Friday, December 23, 2005
Oh yeah, you might wanna see the Top 12 before reading the commentary below.
If you loved Ron Winans Family & Friends V so much, why didn't it receive a higher placement?
Good question. Personally, I enjoyed this project far more than Mary Mary, John P. Kee & New Life's and even Israel's project. But the final results were not based on what were my favorites. It was baded on overall satisfaction and overall value. Plus, there were some important factors that were weighed in when looking at "Family & Friends V: A Celebration" that hurt the image of the project. Great songs, great guest stars and great performances need great production. And I can honestly say that the production on this project was too raw for the conventional gospel listener. Many may get the impression that this was a church service recording. It just didn't get the rightful treatment it deserved. This hurt the overall image of this album; placing it lower than the other albums. This is another reason why not too many picked up on the album even though it was independently released (which was probably the main reason). Of course, I'm not the only that enjoyed the album. ChristianityOnline.com gave the album a wonderful review and rated it one of the better Gospel projects of the year as well.
Kirk Franklin at #10?
Yes, Kirk Franklin at #10. Some people may see this project as being a major improvement from "The Rebirth" and from his previous studio collections ("Nu Nation Project"), but whenever an artist has to depend on samples to make or break an album, it looses its potential of winning the ear of those looking for something original. There were too many samples used here for this to be classified an original collection. It was a good project, but far from being one of Kirk's better projects.
Youthful Praise #1? How is that?
Pick up the album and hear it. All the way through. That's all I need to say. The album was a nice ride from beginning to end and even though the mass media hasn't fully embraced this project since it didn't get mighty exposure in the press and an expensive budget for promotion, the content on this project will certainly prove just how infectious this album really was. I didn't just give this album the #1 slot because it was such a great improvement from their previous offering ("Thank You For The Change"). This indeed was a terrific project with barely a trace of error or mistake. And you barely can locate an album that was released this year that possessed the balance this project did. If you don't know the songs on this one now, you will later on.
If John P. Kee disappointed with the lack of guest stars and the critical misfortunes of "The Reunion", why are they listed #4?
I had to think this one long and hard. Double CDs are normally a scary sign that an album will lack substance and creativity, and of course I didn't expect anything exceptionally fresh on this collection. My expectations were certainly true. And what made matters worse was knowing this could have been the best album of the year, if more time was labored, if a greater number of former New Life members were involved and if the better songs weren't so divided up like were. Usually one disc in a double-unit collection is better than the other - that's usually the first one. But this album was a little different. It really depends on the listener and upon their personal choice on what songs they mostly enjoyed from John P. Kee's songbook. I think good tracks rested on both discs, while some renditions were lazy compared to the original. Little things like that hurts these kind of projects. Plus knowing Bruce Parham, Erick Matthews, Drea Randle, Shawn McLemore and New Life's former musicians weren't a part of this really bothered me. But I have learned to accept the good of a thing and just accept it. The idea of a reunion project for John P. Kee and the New Life Community Choir was certainly needed and just knowing that we miss the high visibility of Kee and those memories we experienced of his ministry only helped this project. And don't get it twisted: there's alot to cherish on here. "Wave It Away" makes the former version sound totally outdated and "I Must Tell Jesus", "The Lord Is Able" and "Rhema Word" are all keepers. Even though I still wonder if this album should have gotten a lower position on the final list after careful observation, my actions will remain.
What happened to Byron Cage's "An Invitation To Worship"? It didn't chart at all in the Top 12. Why is that?
Please read the PRAYZEHYMN review. That will probably explain why.
Those are just some of the observations that I felt like addressing. The rest should be self-explanatory. I close on this note...I've seen better years of album releases in the gospel music industry. 2005 was really a little boring to me. Nothing major and nothing seriously breathtaking caught my attention this year. I am hoping 2006 takes a turn for the better.
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
"Tis' the old ship of zion...get OFF board..."
Just when you thought the weather this time of year was cold enough. Sources are reporting that Victoria Osteen, wife of Joel Osteen of Lakewood Church, can be colder.
Just leaking into the media, an event took place on Monday on an airplane, owned by Continential Airplanes, scheduled to take off and heading to Vail, Colorado. Families waited for two hours while a big fuzz in the first-class section of the plane between Victoria Osteen and a flight attendant. It all started with a drink spill, which later fueled "a series of issues with the crew", passenger Herbert Towning said. Witnesses also claim that Pastor Joel Osteen is a man of his word and was very humble throughout the altercation; sitting there humble and very professional.
"She just had attitude," an unnamed passenger said of Victoria Osteen. "They took her off, and she never came back. Her husband went out, then he came back and got their stuff. An hour-and-a-half later, we were leaving."
"She was just abusive," said Sheila Steele, who said she was sitting behind Victoria Osteen. "She was just like one of those divas."
Most of the passengers were upset over the fact that there was a lengthy delay of travel because of this scenario and were ready to hussle towards their rightful destinations for the holidays. She was ordered to be removed from the plane, along with her family because of disorderly conduct and failure to comply with airline instructions. According to Luz Garcia, an agent at the FBI's office in Houston, charges will not be filed.
Lakewood Church spokesman Don Iloff mentioned to the press that the Osteen family were on their way to Vail for a ski trip.
Now, how cold is that. Burrrrrr!
Houston Chronicle: Few details released
Saturday, December 17, 2005
We've been off the air for a few days (make that weeks)
But we will be back later with brand new shows, just for you.
Don't change that station...we will be back after these messages.
COMING UP NEXT ON THE PRAYZE REPORT:
Essentially 2005: The Close-Up
The most-talked about retrospective on the Top 12 gospel albums of 2005. We give you the full monty.
What's 2 Come...
Wanna know what 2006 has in store...only here can you find the nitty gritty on what the gospel music industry has in store.
NUTHIN BUT PRAYZE?
Oh ok...kinda corny. Well, Nuthinbutgospel.com has become an oasis for online gospel music lovers. We dig into the brains behind the popular website in an exclusive interview right 'chere on the PRAYZE report.
Oh Happy Gay
Seems like the issue of homosexuality has become so dominant in the church during the last couple of months, even though many are calling it the big taboo of all the deep controversies. While many fail to recognize the issue in gospel music, many will be shocked at how its dealt with in the industry and the many different viewpoints people have on it. Other have escaped from discussing this issue, while PRAYZEHYMN goes deep on this one. Only right here.
Friday, December 09, 2005
OK. Have you noticed out of all the years we have witnessed the holiday season, 2005 has a big problem with the word or term "Christmas" with big businesses, politics and other social organizations.
I am having a hard time trying to realize why is that.
I guess those songs in the music stores should be changing sometime soon as well to fit the growing popular trends of today.
Rockin' around the holiday tree
at the holiday party hop
Mistletoe hung where you can see
every couple tries to stop
Rocking around the holiday tree,
let the season spirit ring
Later we'll have some pumpkin pie
and we'll do some caroling...
Merry Xmas baby, sure did treat me nice
Merry Xmas baby, sure did treat me nice, oh yeah
Bought me a diamond ring for Xmas
Feel's like I'm in paradise
We wish you a merry holiday
We wish you a merry holiday
We wish you a merry holiday
And a happy New Year
And so, I'm offering this
Simple phrase to kids from
One to ninety-two
Altho' it's been said many times
Many ways; "Merry Xmas to you"
Good grief, if you can't say Christmas...I guess secular society needs to take the word "Christmas" out of everything they created. When is too far just too far.
I guess they are gonig to take "Merry" away to since it sounds too much like the mother of Jesus. Well, let me go on the record for saying "Merry Christmas" and yes, I have a Christmas tree, not a holiday tree.
Props goes out to the Honorable Bernard Kincaid, mayor of the city of Birmingham, for going on the record for naming our city tree "a Christmas tree", not a holiday tree. Kudos.
Monday, December 05, 2005
"Love the site but I do have a ?tion. . . do you really think it is fair to judge and grade "Gospel" artists when it's not about their "music" per-say but the "message" that God has given them behind it? This is all "ministry" work and support, so do you think it's really beneficial to put up a website about them and their music? and if it is, who is it beneficial to? if i were a sinner and came to that site, would be turned off by some of the content. . ." - "PRAYZEHYMN Fan"
I am not alone. There are several Christian websites, even though many may not be familiar with them in certain circles, that have a rating system. Why not rate a particular project? Secular society is free to do so, Siskel & Rober review movies and they recommend their best, Amazon.com always feature their essential album favorites each and every year. But because we are profess to be Christians, we shouldn't review albums and rate them? Something is wrong with that picture. If a school teacher can grant an A or a F on a student's report card, why can't we do the same for our music. Let's be serious for a second: everything that comes out on radio and on a compact disc and contains a gospel lyric ain't always good. Even though some of my fellow contemporaries tend to kiss up to artists, especially their favorites, someone in these last days need to be willing to speak the truth, even if it looks or feels uncomfortable. I have prayed about how I handle my reviews lately, and I find no fault in it. God has no given me a new directive in handling what I say, and I refuse to compromise my standards and what I believe for anyone.
When one read my review, they should notice one or two things. I never review the artist, just the project in question. Also they should observe I don't play favorites, if it's a good album , it's a good album, if it's not, I point out what needs correction or other technical problems. Alot of people have been blessed by my reviews and I am highly thankful that God has given me the inspiration to do this. In closing, let me prove to the skeptics of my fellow Christian brothers and sisters that grading a project bad or good ain't evil. Check out ChristianityToday.com and NBG. And please, don't direct them any hate-mail. Either support them or briddle the tounge. As the Apostle Paul warns us in I Corinthians 12: "But now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary. And those memberws of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness."
Thursday, December 01, 2005
Well, J. Anthony Brown didn't point out any concern about the porn industry affecting the world. We know its affects in our society, but what concerned him as it did most of us this week is knowing gospel superstar Kirk Franklin was being featured on the Oprah Winfrey show as he discussed his addiction and obsession for pornography, which is old news to many since he publicly announced this bad habit a couple of months ago on Christian platforms such as TBN and CBN. But Kirk is very strategic in noting that he's been "delivered" and freed from porn and wanted to express the hypocrisy that surrounded what he did in private and what he did as a gospel singer and minister in the public.
Since the age of eight, Kirk was hooked to porn and even takes our ears where they have never gone; stating that he became sexual at the age of "nine and ten". He had an obsession with porn as well as sex at an early, young age. "Growing up, everybody's got a play uncle, a big brother... a friend that's got that big brother that has the stash [of pornographic magazines or videotapes] under the bed," he says. "From my first look, I was hooked."
Oprah then asks the audience if they had any uncles like that. Mixed emotions roared; the bulk of them couldn't relate. Shocked was the usual response.
Of course, every one knows the tough times of Kirk's early childhood. Having no father, no mother, being adopted at the age of four by his grandmother Gertrude. Many insecurities and poor self-esteem affected his choices in life, especially while growing up. But at the age of nine - it is too hard to imagine for a child to be sexually active at such a tender age, but the subject was pornography and Kirk was wise to stay on that subject. For a minute.
When he was 15, Kirks told Oprah that he began getting serious about his faith and went to his pastor to talk about his struggle with pornography. "He sat back in his chair and he took a puff out of his cigar," Kirk remembers. "He said, 'Oh, you're young, you'll grow out of it.' He had no idea that he spoke death into my life. That shut me down because [I thought], 'Well, someday I'll grow out.' [Instead], I grew in and I grew in deep."
Oprah was shocked to hear of these things, as did we. Especially when he boldly mentioned he was the "h" word. "A ho' [hoar]?" Oprah asks. "Yeah, a ho'. Lots of women..." Kirk painted this picture of a confused young boy, growing up with no guidance and protection and living a loose life on the streets.
This was the beginning of the strong, hard emotions that started to brew up inside of us regarding the church and its role in our everyday lives. She then asked Kirk when and how was the height of your obsession. "Everyday...everyday," he responds. Moments later, Kirk revealed bits and pieces of his "rock bottom" experience - his moment of shame. When Kirk goes on and on about being hypocritical and "feeling dirty" (a term he used a whole lot during the interview, a whole lot), Oprah finally asks where was "rock bottom" in his life. He thought marriage would ultimately "fix" his problem and curve his addiction. After getting married, he realized how severe his problem when he craved porn like never before; turning to it even in the middle of the night while Tammy was asleep. Kirk once felt so much self-disgust over his porn collection that he drove far away from his house to throw it away. "I tried to go to sleep that night and it was literally like a drug calling me," he remembers. "About 3 or 4 in the morning, in my flip-flops and boxers, I got in my car and drove back to that dumpster and dug [looking for my porn]."
During these moments of confession, Oprah knows how easy it is to find porn on the Internet. He claimed he was "not an Internet guy"; something that comes off as being hard to believe. Especially when he's very much an Internet guy - posting on his weblog [blog] on his website almost everyday, posting daily entries for weeks on the Gospelflava.com Blog while promoting his new project "Hero" and hitting places like Atlanta for MegaFest. Oprah reveals internet porn is the "crack cocaine" of pornography; it's easy, conveient and highly addictive. Stats prove that: 372 million pages on the Web are porn-related, 2.5 billion emails are pornographic and over $2.5 billion dollars go to the Internet porn industry every year. If Kirk was really addicted to porn and was not an "Internet guy" as he claims, where did he get it from? Did he go to the adult bookstores himself? He didn't order this stuff online since he's not an Internet guy, so did he have someone get this stuff for him? So many questions. He also mentions he hated going to L.A. and N.Y., saying they were easy places to get his "drug".
When Tammy appears on the set beside her husband, she was questioned by O on when she found out. "He sat me down and he said, 'Babe, I want to talk to you about a problem that I've been struggling with.' He had such sincerity in his eyes. You could tell that this pained him. For me, my immediate reaction was to just support him in it." They both agree this happened in L.A. She also believes that the obsession of porn ultimately affected their sex life.
Oprah always asks the big questions and never sugar-coats a drop of reality. She doesn't understand how exactly a wife can be so supportive of their husband in such a crisis. "You ain't Jesus," Oprah exclaims as Kirk and Tammy paints this beautiful picture that they got over the crisis easily. This is the nice, beautiful picture we all got: And in one prayer, he was saved and delivered and it will all work out in the end, "oh happy day..when Jesus washed...". Oprah is right, it's not that easy; which leads her to say these words, "I think the church is being hypocritical that its scornful of the behavior of sin, and they are doing it themselves." Amazingly, Oprah doesn't condemn Kirk during this "confession" on her show, since she mentions the awesome achievements he has done for the gospel music industry and for people across the globe through his music. She states that he literally transformed the face of gospel - this is a true remark. But understanding how they overcame this habit together was a hard one to digest for the Queen of Talk. "She's a strong woman, she's a soldier, she kept telling me "Boo, I got your back. Boo, I got you." When I fell, she stayed." Kirk's powerful words made it seem as if his wife was such a strong "God warrior". But the reality of all of this is - most married couples don't have that kind of a final outcome. Honestly, Tammy would have lost a lot, and money (let's be real), if she filed for a divorce. Instead, she decided to live through this with Kirk. Her choice.
But in my own form of commentary and in my experiences with women, I found out that they are not going to easily accept this kind behavior. They don't like to be cheated on, even though that's not to say that women don't cheat. But no one wants to be cheated on. Kirk admits he felt as if he committ adultery because he brought those images of other women and people into his mind and in his marriage. If this was the case for the average couple, most women wouldn't be as understanding as Tammy was. But just like Kobe Bryant and his wife, just like R. Kelly and his wife - both superstars engaged in lust and acts of deception - Kirk's wife remains faithful to her husband and refuses to let him go. Beautiful to hear that, but I'm wondering if Kirk had no money and no title, would the situation change? Would she be just as committed to staying with him as she is now?
Rob Weiss, a sexual addiction expert, approaches the issue in a very serious and realistic way. "I think of sex addicts as being drug addicts; only their drug is their neurochemistry, Rob says. "It's what turns them on. "I talk to guys who say that hours and hours and hours go by, and they're not even aware of the time change because they're so filled with adrenalin and dopamine and serotonin." When you're an addict, Rob says, you begin to notice the consequences of your actions. Kirk felt like a hypocrite on stage...those problems were born out of their excessive porn use, but he chose to ignore them, Rob says.
Controversy is already brewing over the Wednesday airing of the Oprah Show and even more beef is being raised on how Oprah views prayer. Her statement to Dr. Weiss was, "you cannot cure yourself" and "you cannot pray yourself out of this".
Religious fanatics see those comments as being a "no-win" for deliverance and the victory in Christ Jesus in the world of Oprah. But let's be realistic, a-prayer-a-day is not the solution to overcoming addiction to porn. If you think it's that easy, then you need to become an addict for real. Addicts whom overcome their struggle will tell you it's never easy, and we are pretty sure porn is no expcetion. Ask the 40% of clergy that have watched according to a poll stated on the Oprah Wednesday show. It was during the height of Kirk's career that he was obsessed with porn, even while he was married. While we jamming to "Whatcha' Lookin' 4" and "Stomp" and "Lean On Me" and "Revolution" and "Why We Sing" and "Silver And Gold", Kirk was bound to his addiction. I'm pretty sure it took more than a quick prayer to secure his freedom from porn. So I stand up with O to say that she is right. It takes much more than that.
In closing, I celebrate him in his victory and his boldness to address such a controversial issue. But I want to remind Kirk to think before speaking; you are "an Internet guy". You got an email address. We don't want you to feel like a hypocrite any longer.
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Award shows barely appeal to me these days. Normally the winners are chosen based on what a certain clique' or group of like-minded individuals ( labeled as being committee usually) praises. For many years, the Stellar Awards have followed in that long tradition - choosing their favorites as their winners. But this year's nominations for the big day in Jaunary set to take place at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville have some major surprises - even some historical ones.
Donald Lawrence, the guy that loves to end good careers (Tri-City Singers) and make new ones (The Murrills, Dewayne Woods), has a count of ten nominations in all; probably the most multiple nods an artist has ever received in the twenty-one year old instiution. J. Moss trails with nine nods while RiZen gets four. Will they go home with all or most of the trophies and titles? We're not sure. But let us say the other nominees are not worried.
Mary Mary, whom recently took home the Contemporary Inspirational award at the American Music Awards and facing big-time candidates such as Jars of Clay and Casting Crowns, has been chosen as a nominee in the Best Artist of the Year and may be the most likely candidate for this category. Dr. Charles G. Hayes and the Warriors are the big surprise also this year, since they are mostly known for their legendary sound and hits from yesteryear. With a big return to the #1 slot on Billboard's Gospel music chart this year with "The Remix" (an indepedent project on local ICEE record label), they receive their share of nominations in Best Choir and Music Video and even Female Vocalist and Traditional Female Vocalist for Dianne Williams' performance on the album's lead single, "Jesus Can Work It Out (Remix)".
Very surprised to see Mark S. Hubbard & the United Voices and James Grear & Nu Friends getting a nod for Traditional Choir; especially since these are two independent projects but are very good. Newcomer Micah Stampley, one of the most unique and refreshing vocalists this year, also gets a bundle of "amens" with New Artist, Male Vocalist while the album's producer, Cedric Thompson, is nominated for Producer of the Year.
The all-star celebration takes place on January 21, 2006 and will be hosted by Vickie Winans, Donnie McClurkin and Israel Houghton.
Stellar Awards Website (gospelflava.com)
Sunday, November 27, 2005
The Oprah special featuring Kirk Franklin regarding his past addiction to pornography will air on Wednesday (Nov. 30), according to valuable media sources. Remember to set your TiVos and VCRs and check your local listings.
Friday, November 25, 2005
Over the last couple of weeks, rumors and the latest gossip in the gospel music industry lit up like a hot barbecue in middle of July over Kirk Franklin's past lifestyle connected to pornography. Amazingly, Franklin has come "out of the closet" about his addiction and has silenced many of those accusations by boldly coming forth with his deliverance.
This comes at a very good time, especially since a few months ago the gospel superstar dropped his most recent collection entitled "Hero" on the GospoCentric/Zomba music label. Now Franklin is on a crusade and a controversial one at that to take his message to the masses by appearing on Oprah. The Queen of Talk will be featuring Franklin on today's episode (Nov. 25) so set your TiVo please. This is a definite must-see, especially since we all know by now Oprah's stylish and strategic manuevers of asking the cutting-edge questions. She don't hold anything back...but we do expect a lil' grace from O since she is interviewing a gospel celebrity.
And no, there's no details on what type of porn Kirk "preferred". He never specified, so don't ask me. Expect a follow-up on the show right here.
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
And thank God the quota for our everyday visitors will no longer be a problem in the future.
Visit out new home at www.prayzehymnonline.com.
And tell somebody about it. We will be glad you did.
And don't be so worried about the content at Beta v.03. That site will be up until January 1, 2006. Plus, the content from the Geocities page will be transfered to our new home, so don't be too alarmed. No information will be lost.
We thank you for your prayers and your support. It's been a long time comin'.
Thursday, November 10, 2005
For over a decade, the Tri-City Singers, led by its founder Donald Lawrence, have blessed the world of contemporary gospel music with their infectious harmonies and soulful deliveries. From their 1993 debut on GospoCentric to their lengthy tenure on Crystal Rose and EMI Gospel, the famed community choir which stretches throughout the Carolina region showcased a rare form of elegance and excellence unlike any of their fellow comrades. Even their unique wadrobes, usually draped in African-kentae' cloth representing the rich heritage of the Mother Land, are best remembered when one conjures ideas on the legendary group. But its founder believes its time to close the book on such a wonderful career with the Tri-City Singers. And they will do so at their final live recording session, which will take place in the heart of Atlanta, Georgia at The Tabernacle, a former church turned into a concert music hall, on November 16th and 17th at 7:00 pm.
"I have mixed emotions about the Finale because Tri~City has been a child of mine for almost 15 years", Donald Lawrence proclaims when reflecting about the group. "However I know this is a time for me to release the group and be released into the continued plan God has for us all!"
Though the event will be a celebration to some degree, while the majority of on-lookers will experience mixed emotions of disbelief, the group will perform with special musical guests including Walter Hawkins, Daryl Coley, Kevin Bond, Lejune Thompson, Kierra "KiKi" Sheard, LaShun Pace, Darwin Hobbs, Myron Butler & Levi, The Murrills and DeWayne Woods.
Tickets are just $10.00 (U.S.) each night. Not bad at all. Let's hope there's tickets left. Amen lights!
"I'd like to say to the good citizens of Dover: If there is a disaster in
your area, don't turn to God. You just rejected him from your city," - Pat Robertson, CBN Founder
Can a Christian talk too much?
Well, if you don't think so, notice the latest headlines on religious broadcaster Pat Robertson, founder and commentator on the Christian Broadcasting Network's "700 Club".
He's been in the fire for quite sometime, especially after his tumble with saying hateful words upon Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez; pronouncing his future assissanation. Venezuelan amabassador Fermin Toro Jimenez pointed out that such statements is a crime under U.S. law as well as an act of terrorism under international law. But Robertson is at it again.
This time, he boldly declares destruction upon a little town called Dover, PA since all eight of their city's school board members were defeated on Tuesday after trying to introduce "intelligent design" — the belief that the universe is so complex that it must have been created by a higher power — as an alternative to the theory of evolution.
Well, the school systems in our country have been practicing the seperation of church and state for quite some time. It's something we all are very much aware of. Yet, no person or person should become so vocal that they prononce destruction from the hand of God (the same hand that provides blessings and mercies) upon all of our cities and our country. Robertson preached the assissanation of a foreign president, now he's preaching the assissanation of a city. Wow, how controversial can one get.
Thursday, November 03, 2005
Having your church pastor invite Minister Louis Farrakhan to your church will be a thing of the past very soon...Especially after viewing his incredible speech delivered at Rosa Parks' funeral service in Detroit, Michigan.
This is no joke. If you read the transcripts or viewed the live telecast of Parks' funeral service on C-SPAN or CNN or FOX News, you can probably recall Bishop T.D. Jakes, one of Gospel's most celebrated preachers and leaders, not even mentioning the words "Jesus" and "Christ" in his moments of reflection towards the civil rights mogul.
Just to briefly describe the lengthy service held at the gorgeous edifice of Greater Grace Temple, pastored by Bishop Charles Ellis III, it should be called a "superstar showcase full of surprises, twists, courageous preaching and joyous pompstance". Even though the pulpit hosted the superb occasion of an A-List full of dignitatiries from CEOs of mega corporations, politics and civil rights leaders; probably unlike any other funeral service for any public figure, the spotlight reigned on Sister Rosa Parks. Truly, the seven hour long service to many on-lookers would probably faint over the lengthy celebration, but she deserved every ounce of the occasion. If only she received this kind of admiration when she walked amongst us before she departed this reality at the age of 92.
"We know that we will be winning Mrs. Parks "war" when it's yesterday's news when a newly elected governor, senator, or President is a woman or person of color - yesterday's news. We know we will be winning the war when people in the state of Michigan do not have to vote on whether diversity in our university classrooms is a good thing. We know we will see signs that we are winning this war when love overwhelms fear, and acts of quiet strength become our daily bread. So "good night, Mrs. Parks, from the state of Michigan, to our own gently powerful hero. Because by your actions, you have given us our final marching orders. We are enlisted in this war. On behalf of the state of Michigan, ma'am, we are reporting for duty." - Jennifer Granholm (D) State of Michigan Governor
The highlights, plenty to recount, are worthy of being mentioned. And even though former U.S. President Bill Clinton, U.S. senator Hilliary Clinton, MI Governor Jennifer Granholm and former presidential candidate John Kerry praised Parks in its highest degree, the sweat began to pour and the shouts of verbal agreement filled the temple when Joseph Lowery, co-founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, approached the platform.
"I call upon you today, let's don't stop with this ceremony. You must move from ceremony to sacrament. Sacramental honor means that never again can you let an election pass without getting up and casting your vote. Sacrament means that we must not tolerate homelessness and hunger in the midst of our community. Sacrament means that we know where the weapons of mass destruction are. They are not in Iraq. They're in Detroit and Chicago and Atlanta and Montgomery. That's where the weapons of mass destruction are. 50 million people in this country with no health insurance. That's a weapon of mass destruction. Minimum wage is a weapon of mass destruction." - Joseph Lowery
The preaching continued. Next comes the politically-charged Rev. Al Sharpton.
"I heard somebody say Jim Crow is who she fought, and Jim Crow is still around, but Jim Crow is old. That's not who I'm mindful of today. The problem is that Jim Crow has sons. The one we've got to battle is James Crow, Jr., Esquire. He's a little more educated. He's a little slicker. He's a little more polished. But the results are the same. He doesn't put you in the back of the bus. He just puts referendums on the ballot to end affirmative action where you can't go to school. He doesn't call you a racial name, he just marginalizes your existence. He doesn't tell you that he's set against you, he sets up institutional racism, when you have a nation respond looking for weapons in Iraq that are not there, but can't see a hurricane in Louisiana that is there." - Rev. Al Sharpton
The intensity of the moment grew even more. While mixed emotions flared over the charging speeches given by civil rights icon Sharpton, nervousness filled the atmosphere when Minister Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam, approached the microphone. But what the viewing public didn't have in mind what was to come.
"Rosa Parks was chosen from the womb of her mother to do something that will make a change. I like to think of her as a disciple of Christ. Say Farrakhan, what do you know about being a disciple of Christ?"
The congregation responds with laughter while Farrakhan agrees with chuckles of
glee. Truly, a momentous occasion. Of course we all are asking the same
question. But he drives a strong message home afterwards.
"For too many of us know His name, so many of us praise His name, but too few of us are willing to be his disciples. Jesus said "if any man would be my disciple..." He didn't say you had to go to church every Sunday. He didn't say you had to sing in the choir...he must first deny himself, secondly he must pick up his cross and thirdly, follow me."
The tone of his message reflected powerful conviction - something Bishop T.D. Jakes forgot to bring to the stand when his turn approached. Definitely, it was Farrakhan that ignited a fire of new direction, change and prolific restoration to religious communities and helped create a new awareness towards justice and liberation for all people. Something we should be proactive in preaching and living in our everyday lives.
Jakes' message was neatly sown together but it seemed like a safe escape towards acceptance from all walks of life. Bittersweet. Comforting. Gentle. Sly and slick.
"America has lost an icon -- an emblem of freedom and democracy -- but far deeper, Black America has lost a mother. I share my condolences to her immediate family and to all of us who are the privileged offspring of her valiant life's work. Her passing reminds us all that we are fast approaching the end of a most important era in the African-American community. This mighty matriarch of the civil rights movement has left us in body, but her spirit will endure as we watch and wait for the next generation of leaders to stand up, take the torch and lead our children into a new era of brave equality." - T.D. Jakes, The Potter's House, Dallas, TX
On that note, I do believe after those statements, everyone could have gone home feeling good inside.
Strangely, there's not that many sources or links pointing to Louis Farrakhan's speech from the funeral services of Rosa Parks. Maybe due to the fear of Christian believers tapping into the rhetoric from the Nation of Islam leader. But regardless of what, Farrakhan's words definitely fit the bill and serve an important notice to the Christian community. We are behind on alot of things and regardless of what one might say, God can used whomever He sees fits to declare His Word. And He choose to used Farrakhan. And Sharpton. And Rev. Jesse Jackson. And Lowery.
Oh, of course, Rev. Jackson's words were bold and courageous. Reminding us of the horrendous struggle our forefathers had to endure during the civil rights movement and painting imagery of the Emmit Till tragedy that continues to haunt the African-American community. But we can expect that from the high-profiled Rev. Jackson. But for Farrakhan to say the words "Jesus Christ" as many times as he did and for Jakes to escape from using the very name in whom he's made a living off of for years paints an uncanny picture to the Christian community.
Say what you want. Having Minister Farrakhan at a city-wide revival service ain't such a bad idea after all. Coming to a city near you...
[ROSA PARKS FUNERAL, ETC...]
Should The President Have Been At Rosa Parks Funeral? (BET.com)
T.D. Jakes Spoken Transcript at Funeral
Saturday, October 29, 2005
What's so magical about the Magic City?
Almost sixty years ago when the city of Birmingham had grew multiplied by the thousands in its population and job growth, the citizens coined the city as being the "Magic City". Sixty years later, Birmingham has struggled through a turbulent past including historical points within the Civil Rights Movement and many escaping the Dirty South and moving to Chicago and Detroit for decent jobs. Now, Birmingham, Alabama, which continues to be the center of the Southeast, is living up to their "magical" moniker; emerging into a booming city full of life and zest. Even though the city has always been a nice spot for tourism due to its cultural attractions (Civil Rights Center, Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex, the Summit, City Stages, Birmingham Heritage Festival, VisionLand, etc.), the city continues to reinvent itself, even though nay-sayers and doubters continue to doubt the facts at hand.
The Magic City Classic, a football tradition filled with festive celebrations, tailgate partying, parades and joyous drive, continues to be the main attraction to the region on the weekend of Halloween and All Saints' Day (weird). And even though it has been sixty three years since its debut, the Classic which brings the football armies and zesty marching bands of Alabama State University of Montgomery, AL and Alabama A&M University of Huntsville, AL to Birmingham for face-off continues to attract folk by the thousands. Kick-off takes place at 2:30 p.m. at Legion Field.
Unfortunately I wont be there....but the party goes on.
For an entire weekend, the party will be in Birmingham, AL. Need proof?
Tom Joyner brought his annual Birmingham SkyShow here once again this past Friday. This time at the BJCC Concert Hall. The place was packed and filled with infectious joy. New Edition was the special musical guest.
Leela James, urban R&B songstress, also performed on Friday at the Harbert Center; delivering neat performances from her debut project, "A Change Is Gonna Come".
Bill Cosby, during the height of his remarkable controversial comments on black economics and civil rights (hmm), arrives in Birmingham for two shows at the Wright Center on the Samford University campus. The shows are already sold out. Should be interesting to hear what he has to say...pretty sure the laughs are guaranteed.
L.L. Cool J's (that means, "Ladies Love Cool James") presence will be mighty big here. And you prolly will be seeing alot of him if you are here in Birmingham. From the parade to the half-time show, the mighty "cool" brotha from Brookyln will definitely issue his rare form of coolness to the ladies (and to the fellas'); proving to be an urban legend years after he brought his "Radio" LP to the masses. He will also be appearing and performing at the TI Concert After Party. Yea, TI will be in town too. But that's not all, add Trina, Tony Yayo, Young Buck, Lil Wayne, Juvenile, Master P, BG and G-Unit to the mix, and the entire world of gangsta rap and hip-hop will surely view Birmingham as a cultural magnet. They all will be at the Alabama State Fairgrounds for their after-party taking place at 6:00 p.m.
Anthony David and Three 6 Mafia will be here too.
Love comedy? Bobby Rush, former host of "Showtime at the Apollo" whom showed off his rare form of comedic talent on BET's Comic View, will be bring down the house at the StarDome Comedy Club, along with Lester Bibbs and Joe Clair. October 28-30, 2005.
Just too much for me, but...
What does that have to do with gospel music?
Well, let me close on this note. Prince Yelder & Disciples For Christ, whom has appeared on projects with Beverly Crawford, Angela Spivey and Dorothy Norwood, hosted their annual Praz N Da Houz celebration on Friday evening. Always at 8:00 p.m. And the praises continued until 2 in the morning. That's normal for the event, since choirs and groups from all across the Southeast merge together for the all-nighter event. B. Chase Williams and Pastor Juandolyn Stokes (gospel DJ and announcer) from Atlanta, GA spoke and gave Yelder their best wishes. Of course, Stokes brought a word with her and tore the house up with her infectious form of evangelism and prophetic decrees. The choirs came in good fashion, which consisted the Alabama A&M Gospel Choir, Min. Kevin James & the Louisville Voices, the Birmingham Community Mass Choir and Courtney Moore & the Remnant of Praise. Most of the groups were far from original, doing their interpretations of Ricky Dillard ("Without God", "I Give It To You"), James Hall ("Hold To God's Unchanging Hand") , but Prince Yelder always shows off and impresses fans with his spunky flamboyant directing skills. And that kind of drive was definitely showcased that night, especially on traditional throwbacks including Dr. Charles G. Hayes' "He Laid His Hands On Me/Jesus Can Work It Out". He even ripped Richard Smallwood's "Thank You" up to pieces; turning it into a ten minute odyssey. Too bad some of the vocalists studied the album version and forgot to add in her own testimony to the mix. It pays to be original, folkz.
Anyway, regardless of how people view this article, the Magic City is full of magic. The city of Orlando may have the Magic for a national basketball team, but we are proud here in Birmingham to be the original magic. Let's just hope the magic doesn't die out like most tricks.
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Gospel albums being recorded overseas is nothing new to the gospel music community. Donnie McClurkin had a chart-topping success with his "Live In London" project, while fellow contemporaries including Hezekiah Walker and Rev. Timothy Wright paved the way for him with their very own projects in the U.K. But Integrity Gospel does the remarkable: going to a place that is past due. South Africa. Over the years, South Africa, along with their most celebrated hero of faith, Nelson Mandela, has experienced torterous decades of below-the-line poverty, even centuries, of global neglect and suffering including slave trade and the latest epidemic, the increasing population affected with AIDS. But above it all, South Africa celebrates a new day, a new season and continues to triumph by showing the world that there is much more to dwell on.
Add praise-and-worship done in gospel style to their new season of refreshing change. All thanks to Israel Houghton and New Breed. The profound success of their "Live From Another Level" double-CD project caused a major stir of excitement within the gospel industry, especially when word leaked out that Houghton would take his next recording overseas to Capetown, South Africa. And this is not just another album either.
Two CDs packed with new material featuring the first-released single "Not Forgotten" and the joyous "Favor of The Lord" and even a medley of his most treasured compositions ("New Season", "Your Latter Will Be Greater", "Again I Say Rejoice", "Friend Of God" and "You Are Good") are too die for. Add R&B/jazz icon Jonathan Butler to the mix and a neat hologram cover and you are bound to rush to the register with this album in your sweaty palms. This is sure to send Kirk Franklin's "Hero" project down a notch or two on Billboard Gospel charts this week, no doubt. Remember, two CD projects constitute as two units. So when you purchase ten copies of "Alive In South Africa", you are actually buying twenty units, according to Billboard. How clever.
Gospelflava Review and E-Card (Gospelflava.com)
Integrity Gospel Coverage
Listen to "Not Forgotten" (Nuthinbutgospel.com)
30 Second Snippets (Integrity Music)
Rosa Parks stood for many things. Within her gorgeous face and her beautiful skin texture, one could only fantom the amazing potential this woman could have released just for being a fashion model. Yet she shifted her capabilities in yet another direction; becoming a model of great faith and helped revolutionized how we see faith operated in the natural. Her stand for equality and justice has been etched into the hearts of most Americans and has greatly impacted the systems of our society. During the height of the Civil Rights Movement (1960s), while photo images of African-Americans being lynched by the Ku Klux Klan, hosed down by police officers and black churches suffered in raging fires caused by demonic racists, Mrs. Rosa Parks did what many consider the turn-around for the Civil Rights Movement. Many will even label her involvement in the struggle as being the starting point for change during this time. Regardless of where one positions her refusal to head to the back of the bus for a white male on a Montgomery public bus just because of his skin color, her choice brought change. It took courage, it took boldness, it took guts to do such a thing; especially during the hateful environment created by our forefathers. To her it didn't matter. What mattered was her future, our future and her enormous faith to make a difference.
If only we had more leaders, pastors, civil workers, teachers, lawyers, doctors, gospel artists, executive directors, managers, parents and regular everyday people with that same courage. I don't think it takes a lot personally to do such a thing. But whe you are fed up, you will took whatever it takes to see change. As Malcolm X is known mostly for quoting, you will do whatever is possible, "by any means necessary". And God will do the rest.
It was brought to my attention by a good colleague of mine that Apple has posted a tribute to Mrs. Parks on their website; which is befitting for the hour since we lost her on Monday at the age of 92 in her home in Detroit, Michigan. The cause of her death was reported as being a mix of "hypertension and dementia". Memorial services have been set up in both Montgomery, Alabama and Detroit, Michigan; both cities have agreed to work together to bring tribute to one of America's beloved figures in civil rights history. Saturday and Sunday her body will lie in state for public viewing at St. Paul AME Church in Montgomery, AL. Funeral services will be held at Greater Grace Temple in Detroit, MI on Nov. 2.
Sunday, October 09, 2005
The Box Office has released the information we all have been waiting for. And despite what the gospel industry expected, The Gospel, a dramatic motion picture based on Gospel music and deals "knowledgeably with the role of the church in black communities", finished at #5 for its opening week rather than parking at #1. The cast features Hollywood known celebrities including Boris Kodjoe, Nona Gaye, Omar Gooding, Clifton Powell and some of Gospel's popular giants including Donnie McClurkin, Yolanda Adams and Hezekiah Walker. The Christian community began to embrace the movie when first announced and hoped the movie would achieve the success that Passion Of The Christ, Diary Of A Mad Black Woman and The Fighting Temptations created.
The Passion... debuted at #1
Diary Of A Mad Black Woman debuted at #1
The Fighting Temptations debuted at #3
The Gospel reached #5.
That's not bad at all, especially when you compare this movie with its predecessors.
Check out some of the comments by the serious critics on the movie and see if you agree.
Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"'The Gospel" is the first mainstream movie I can remember that deals knowledgeably with the role of the church in African-American communities. It is not a particularly religious movie; the characters are believers, but the movie is not so much about faith and prayer as about the economic and social function of a church: How it operates as a stabilizing force, a stage for personalities, an arena for power struggles, and an enterprise which must cover its costs or go out of business."
Ty Burr, Boston Globe
"...a heartfelt but muddled melodrama..."
Bob Townsend, Atlanta Journal-constitution
"...a preachy soap opera about Saturday night and Sunday morning."
Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune
"The Gospel may not surprise us, but it's a likeable movie done with verve and style."
Laura Kern, New York Times
"Unlike actual soulful and infectious live church services, this muddled film probably won't inspire people to jump out of their seats."
More mementos from The Gospel below. Enjoy.
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
Who would have imagined...the impossible...
Pastor Shirley Caesar, renowned gospel artist and recipient of eleven Grammy awards and tons of Dove and Stellar awards, willingly raps. On her 41st musical project, "I Know The Truth", she joins with Verity recording artist Tonex' on the title cut; exploding on an "in-your-face", infectious churchy track. But it is her rap, which floats right in on the vamp, that may send an alarm to the masses. Good or bad, you be the judge.
Talk about me just as much as you please
But the more that you talk, I'm gonna sell CD's...
You tellin' lies but I know the truth
We're off to the Grammys
Sounds like Rappin' Shirley has gotten a lil' too edgy for most conservative listeners. Can't wait to hear her join 50 Cent and G-Unit.
A lil' more info for you, the legendary Caravans DID record a live recording at West Point Baptist Church in Chicago a few weeks ago and featured Albertina Walker, Dorothy Norwood, Inez Andrews and Delores Washnigton. Shirley was scheduled to appear from earlier press statements but was not present. Evelyn Turrentine-Agee, known for her sensational hit "God Did It", was one of the guest vocalists.
Thursday, September 29, 2005
Jamel Strong is a tour de force. He captures a radiance of bold charisma, a splendid personality, and an anointing that will cut through the intense fibers of a person's strongholds. When hearing his vocals at work, images of a contemporary version of James Cleveland come to mind. His voice can be gritty at times and very churchy, but it is infectious and uniquely different. In just a short period of time, Strong has delicately served the gospel music community with his creation, Strength Ministries; which serves a handful of super-charged events throughout the year including his annual Triple M Conference. And while his resume' continues to enlarge with respected achievements (especially since American Idol winner Ruben Studdard served on his musical staff), he is becoming the voice for a lost generation of gospel newcomers seeking to be heard in the Deep South.
This weekend, Jamel Strong, along with his vocal aggregation simply called Message, will celebrate yet another anniversary together. The celebration will be intense, as some of Gospel's most esteemed vocalists gather to pay tribute to Strong's growing music ministry. Leon Lacy & LIV (known for creating "Ain't Nobody Like Jesus" on the Hezekiah Walker "Family Affair" project) will be present, along with Verity Recording artist Shea Norman, vocal extraordinaire Nikki Ross, Erik Matthews and Kenn Orr. We do expect Strong & Message to get up and deliver a few tunes as well.
If you are anywhere near the Huntsville, Alabama community, we urge you to make haste. Be present for this celebration.
Date and Location:
October 2, 2005 @ 6:00 p.m.
Pentecostal Lighthouse Church
6107 Blue Spring Road NW
If you rushed to your music store this week, or toppled through your local Wal-Mart, you may be lucky to find "20/85 The Experience"; the new project from contemporary gopsel artist Hezekiah Walker & LFC (an acronym for the Love Fellowship Choir).
Why luck? Well, even though the album showcases brand new music, unlike the "Family Affair II" project which consisted mostly covers of their previous hits, this album contains only twelve tracks. Most of the songs are over-cooked, baked at major time limits ranging from six to eight minutes. Plus D. Lawrence produces the project, along with Tonex'. Nothing really's wrong with that, unless you dismantle the LFC sound we all have grown to love.
Well you be the judge of it. The lovely folks at PRAYZEHYMN have been drilling this project on the Message Board and are proving both sides of the issue on whether it's a keeper or a wasted reunion project. With hits like "Calling My Name", "99 1/2", "How Much We Can Bear", "Jesus Is My Help", "Clean Inside" and "Jesus Is The Light", Hezekiah Walker deserves a little more for a 20th year celebration than twelve long tracks. Plus. we wanna know where was:
Bishop Eric McDaniel
Teddy (FX) Rollins
and the rest of the LFC alumni.
Family reunions should get bigger, not smaller.
Well, don't think I'm hating...the album is right now in stores. Experience 20/20 vision for yourself.
For the Billboard Magazine issue, hitting stands for October 8th, Luther Vandross takes the #1 spot on the R&B/Hip-Hop Music Charts with his fabulous tribute album ("So Amazing: A Tribute to Luther Vandross) created by some of R&B most celebrated crusaders (Patti Labelle, John Legend, Aretha Franklin, Fantasia, Celine Dion). Kanye West, whom claimed the spot for weeks, parks at #2. The posthumous tribute album also resides at #4 on the Billboard 100 (pop). Earth Wind And Fire's "Illumination", the major come-back project fueled by top producers including Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, the Black Eyed Peas and Raphael Saadiq, claims the #8 R&B/32 pop positions; proving that they keep gettin' better and better in time.
We are definitely proud of these achievements. We can only wait to see what ol' skool will do next to the world. The takeover continues.