Wednesday, November 30, 2005

How The Stellars Got Its Groove Back

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 (

Sunday, November 27, 2005

RE: Whatcha' Lookin' At?

Just a brief announcement.

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

Whatcha Lookin' At?

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

Moving On Up...

PRAYZEHYMN has an offical website. Word up.

And thank God the quota for our everyday visitors will no longer be a problem in the future.

Visit out new home at
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

The Final Stages

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!

Robertson Just Won't Shut Up

"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

Move Over Jakes, Here Comes Farrakhan

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...
More images to view, for your viewing pleasure...