Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Remembering Bishop G.E. Patterson

I'm far from being a member of the "Grand Ole" Church of God In Christ denomination. I have family that are COGIC (considered to be the second largest Pentecostal Christian church in the U.S. and the fourth largest Protestant religious denomination in the world) but I never found myself linked to the church. Being around them offered my amount of experience of the sanctified lifestyles and characteristics of the saints of this profound and well-respected denomination. But it wasn't until I encountered for the first time on a TBN telecast the likable, charismatic and down-home personality found in Gilbert Earl Patterson, the longtime leader of the Temple of Deliverance Church in Memphis, Tennessee. His approach to ministry was comforting and his viewpoints border lined strong fundamental guidelines and a passion for liberation and social change. Whether you were Democrat or Republican, it was hard to not like the Bishop. Whenever he tried to sale a point to his listeners, he gave it with a loving smile, that irresistible Southern charm and never feared to find the appropriate scripture and response to coincide with it. He was truly a man of truth to his very end. Even in the midst of confrontation and controversy, Bishop G.E. Patterson was the embodied example in modern society of how to conduct a life of balance and purity. His "over-the-top" views may have bothered a number of deep conservatives such as his position on women preachers, politics and advancements in technology in the church. "I used to be like many of the brothers: down on the women," he told delegates during a message in 2001. "But the Lord showed me that COGIC was started in a prayer meeting that was held in a woman's house." Women are "the envy of the religious world," he added. He also shared that we should overcome our differences with race and culture to spread our faith. "I don't know why we ever got stuck on that thing that we're only supposed to witness to black folks," Patterson said. "Once you've received the word, spread it. God's not going to do something to bless your work until you do something to bless his work."

After I viewed his weekly telecast and continued to listen to his life-changing messages of faith, hope and love, I almost felt as if I was a member of his church.

That voice was silenced on Earth on Tuesday, March 20, 2007 at 4:03 p.m. due to a serious battle with prostate cancer and heart failure at the Methodist University Hospital in Memphis. He was 67 years old. He was the founder and pastor of one of the country's largest mega-churches (totaling 12,000) and was also a gospel recording artist on his Podium Records label - even receiving a GRAMMY nomination for the "Just Right For A Miracle" album in 1999. At this year's Stellar Gospel Music Awards, he won Traditional Male Vocalist for his "Singing The Old Time Way Volume Two" album. He was considered to be one of the greatest clergyman of all time and anchored the Church Of God In Christ as Presiding Bishop since 2000.

"America lost an angel today," former U.S. Rep. Harold Ford Jr. of Memphis said in a statement on Tuesday. "He was favored by the Almighty, and he used his favor to instruct us all on how to be better servants."

We mourn and extend our prayers to the Church of God In Christ and Patterson's family during this time of bereavement. He will truly be missed and will forever be remembered.

THURSDAY, MARCH 29, 2007 • 7 PM

FRIDAY, MARCH 30, 2007 • 7 PM

SATURDAY, MARCH 31, 2007 • 10 AM

All Services will be held at:
Temple of Deliverance Church of God In Christ
369 G.E. Patterson Avenue
Memphis, TN 38126

* All Cards and Condolences for Mother Lousie Patterson and Family may be sent to Temple of Deliverance at the above address.

J. Matthew Cobb
PRAYZEHYMN Entertainment


BREAKING NEWS: Bishop G.E. Patterson Has Died (WREG-TV)
G.E. Patterson (Wikipedia)

Saturday, March 10, 2007

American Idol Close-up

Another season. Another blog to post. FOX's American Idol is still setting and breaking records. And while the other networks prepare to roll out their strategies to bring down the pop culture phenomenon, American Idol has already announce their Top 12 contestants and are gearing up for a few big specials in the weeks to come. From big-time special musical guests to an amazing fund raiser to benefit poor and devastated areas in Africa and in New Orleans.

But this season, most have glorified much of the bombshell drama and negative press on the show. But for a show this hot, the negative heat has only ignited the show's success to higher heights and has helped broaden the exposure of this season's contestants, as well as previous winners and potential stars.

Let's look at the AI scorecard, shall we.

Chris Daughtry, one of our big predictions from last season, is killing the stars on Billboard with his #1 self-titled album. And even though he has found his home in performing what is elementary to him (rock music). And while southern charmer Bo Bice, the popular runner-up to victory in Season 5, may have proved that AI could produce a rock star album, Dau ghtry took things to the next level with his more edgier look, distinctive modern approach and lots of sex appeal and presented an album that is being compared to modern rockers such as Fuel and Nickleback. The album reached #1 on Billboard Pop charts.

Fantasia is doing pretty good too. She just got picked up to join the stellar Broadway cast of The Color Purple - brought to life by mega-billionaire and television talk show host Oprah Winfrey. And not only that, her latest album release (this is #2 for her) is getting some love and attention from critics - calling it an album that shows depth and more personality than her debut. Fantasia calls the new album a mix of Aretha Franklin meets Tina Turner. Funny, we all thought she was capable of pulling that off when she was on the show. Her new album climbed to #3 on Billboard's R&B charts and #19 pop and is being anchored by her hip-hop club anthem single, "Hood Boy". Oddly, with all the praise her new album is getting, we should mention her first album sold more units; reaching #2 R&B and #8 pop.

All eyes are glued on Miss Dreamgirl Jennifer Hudson also after nabbing the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Effie White in the motion picture version of Dreamgirls. Even though she has taken a new career in acting, she hasn't forgotten her roots. She loves to sing and her acting role in Dreamgirls was definitely about singing and showed the world that she definitely has pipes worth signing to any record label. And in the next couple of months, she will be working on just that and will be releasing an album sometime in the fall of this year. In the meantime, her performances on the motion picture soundtrack, a glorious showcase of 60's pop-soul swinging ballads and dance numbers, are breathtaking and also claimed the #1 spot on both pop and R&B charts. Amazing accomplishment there, especially for a movie soundtrack.

Other winners including Carrie Underwood (whom took home a GRAMMY for Best New Artist) , Taylor Hicks and Ruben Studdard are also enjoying their careers and are still visible in the public eye. Seems like everyone is reaping their rewards from Idol fame.

So this season shouldn't be different. Right? Well, sorta. Seems like the guys this year are not as macho as they need to be. Our biggest predictions on the guys' side leans on the pop-flavored looks and sounds of Blake Lewis and Chris Richardson. Lewis leans more on the edgier, urban reincarnations of Justin Timberlake. He may not be the strongest male vocalist in the competition this year, but he definitely is pop material and has what it takes to form a good sounding record. Chris Richardson also has that pop wow-factor. He's refreshing and has good vocals and handsome features. He's also picked up some love for soul and R&B music - which should win favorable results across the cultural board.

But it's the girls that are bringing home the bacon this season. Both Lakisha Jones and Melinda Dolittle are delivering the goods on performance night and are both showing their passion for victory. Jones is one of those contenders that we didn't expect. She's not a goddess of beauty, but she's charming, likeable and full of personality. Her smile definitely is a connecting force to viewers. But it is when her killer vocals exit her lips that America hears talent in powerful motion. She leans on big ballads and fiery R&B to showcase her strengths. Dolittle is also a dominating force this season with her youthful style, facial expressions and over-the-top power vocals. She works the stage and is showing a broader range of material - a big plus for viewers.

No one can really explain why the 17-year old Sanjaya Malakar remains in the competition. All three judges remained baffled and puzzled over the better male vocalists leaving the show on previous nights while Malakar, with a weaker vocal and barely any soul and rhythm, remains standing with the other contenders. This is probably one of the biggest jokes in American Idol history. And who can forget the biggest episode of drama resting on Antonella Barba and her racy nude photos? Of course, the media are questioning AI's decisions of letting her remain in the competition until she was voted off the show on March 8. Even the controversial Rosie O' Donnell decided to put AI on blast for calling the show "racist" for kicking Frenchie Davis off a few seasons ago without her even getting much time on the show.

That's probably why American Idol works. These are real people, but there is some soap opera action that looms around all of this hype and fame.

At AllMusic.com, the fierceness continues as the All Music gang gets together for an adventure of words and opinions on the #1 show on TV. That's why I love them so - so opinionated yet they are so right. Check out the full conversation by
clicking here.

Jennifer Hudson (MySpace.com)
The Final 12 Revealed... (AllMusic.com)
Antonella Isn't Talking (RealityTVWorld)

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Rap Music Sales Creates Concern

Glamorized lifestyles of booty, sex, drugs and big P-I-M-P-I-N-G in today's rap music take a turn for the worst. According to recent statistics, revealed by the Associated Press, rap music sales dropped a whopping 21 percent from 2005 to 2006, and for the first time in its 12 year history on the Billboard charts not one rap album was among the top 10 albums of the year. The report also stated that a recent study by the Black Youth Project showed a majority of youth "think rap has too many violent images". In a poll of black Americans by The Associated Press and AOL-Black Voices last year, 50 percent of respondents said hip-hop was a negative force in American society.

Rap insider Chuck Creekmur, who runs the leading Web site Allhiphop.com, says he got a message from a friend recently "asking me to hook her up with some Red Hot Chili Peppers because she said she's through with rap. A lot of people are sick of rap ... the negativity is just over the top now."

The article is indeed chilling and amusing in parts as hip-hop star David Banner expresses that his music is what he feels most Americans want to hear and is a depiction of society; reflecting the problems in urban communities. But let it be said that most rap consumers are white also and they may not be buying the material as much because they now see the consequences of the negatively-portrayed genre.

Many people are calling rap music the new "disco". Even though disco music never really died, the popular fad of it did and has now been replaced with other sub-genres including dance, techno and house music. Many predict this could also take place in the realm of rap music. And with popular rapper NaS scoring a hit with his controversial album "Hip-Hop Is Dead" - many may label him a modern prophet. It's not dead now...but according to sales, he apparently can predict the future.
If this is the case, we probably won't have to worry about Oprah embracing rap in the future.

Thanks Aima for the story.
Sales of Rap Albums Take Stunning Nosedive (FOXNews.com)