Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Very Rugged Cross At Mt. Calvary

After reading this, people might start calling this blog nothing less than a gossip resource. But don't get mad at me...I'm not making the headlines. I just report the headlines.

Today's news just got troublesome for one of the biggest mega-churches in the Washington, D.C. area - Greater Mt. Calvary Holy Church - headed by Bishop Alfred Owens, Jr. and the highly-charismatic and popular preacher Co-Pastor Susie Owens. And it's all because of a female choir member who probably hungers to be the next Wendy Williams. In an e-mail sent out to the pastor in December and January, the undisclosed choir member decided to out more than 100 church members and staff of a number of the church's choirs; accusing them to be homosexuals. The names were mostly male choir members.

In one of her emails, she states that she "will be leaving the choir at the top of the year because eighty percent of the tenors are homosexual and act more like a female in choir rehearsal than I do." She released a second email on Jan 2, after her first email identified 45 church members as gay, releasing another 62 church members - with both first and last names attached.

Precautionary actions within the church have been made - coming from Owens - as he met with all of the members mentioned in the first e-mail. According to a Washington Blade article - a popular DC gay newspaper, an unidentified male forwarded the email to them and also acknowledged that Owens "wanted to help people who wanted help to not be gay and that he was willing to help anybody change from being gay." Gay activists are appalled by the emails and are pursuing to make headlines with this story.

By the way, this is not the first time Greater Mount Calvary has made news headlines. In April 2006, homophobic remarks were made By Bishop Alfred Owens, using the words "faggot" and "sissy", during his Palm Sunday sermon.

You all don't want to hear my "two cents" on this matter. So I will conclude the article with these wise words: "If you have such a problem with homosexuals being in your church, why did you let them in your membership." And to the concerned choir member with the Wendy Williams spirit: "Was that an act of holiness? If you don't like where you are, go another direction. If you don't like a business, just stop going to it. That's what I believe.

And don't yall email me for the original copy of the emails. That's just down right messy!

Outing campaign roils black church (Washington Blade)
Mt. Calvary Has A New Cross (PRAYZE Report)

Motown Under Fire Again

Gosh, just when you thought Motown couldn't get any more bad press.

Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, whom was a visible presenter at last year's Stellar Awards and is known for being dubbed as the Hip-Hop Mayor, appeared beside his wife on a video that was heard all across the world asking for the public's forgiveness. The video is pretty sketchy when analyzing it from beginning to end because it never goes into details on what he's apologetic for. His words are as follows: "I am the mayor. I made a mistake. I truly apologize to you. I am accountable."

Sounds like a 9-year old picking up his first Balloons and Bears books for the first time. But the Detroit mayor is addressing concerns about an alleged steamy love affair from his former aide, Christine Beatty. A prosecutor is now investigating if he lied under oath regarding the affair last summer in which both denied having a physical relationship. Because of legal matters, Kilpatrick was not allowed to discuss any serious details about the case or situation on air. A conviction from lying under oath can lead to a maximum of fifteen years in prison.

The dirty laundry of the entire situation surrounds the biggest blooper of them all: the steamy, flirty and even sexually explicit dialogue found in their text messages - all recorded on Kilpatrick's work cell phone. The only words the mayor's wife, Carlita, released regarding her husband's turmoil were that she "is angry, hur and disappointed, but no question I love my husband."

The speech was recorded and aired from his church home, Greater Emmanuel Institutional COGIC. Church name sounds familiar? Of course it's the church where J. Drew Sheard is the pastor and gospel singer Karen Clark-Sheard is the first lady. Seems like the Sheard family got another thorn to pick from their flesh. Our prayers go out to the good folk of Detroit.

He has not stepped down from his mayoral position; returning back to work after the apology. According to the Battle Creek Enquirer, he has resigned from the Florida A&M University foundation board, school officials said.


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Another Choir Bites The Dust

Okay...while the PRAYZEHYMN Message board lights up with all of the free advertisements and soliciting a brotha can handle from Dexter Walker and his Chicago-based community choir, Zion Movement, I felt like bloggin' my thoughts on this side of heaven - at the PRAYZE Report. And definitely feel it's necessary.

I find it so strange after I reviewed his YouTube music video of '>Hezekiah Walker's "Lift Him Up" on the recently posted commentary on (The Spirit of Rebellion) and speaking out against the radical and rebellious nature of the entire rendition, a link of the video is posted up during a Walter Hawkins/Favorite Tune topic. Now when did Walter Hawkins ever pen "Lift Him Up" or ever cover that particular song? Well, let's just say that it had to have been posted after some Zion Movement supporters decided to "move" with a plug for the video since I publicly announced my unfavorable opinion of the video. A deliberate move to try to prove Mr. J Matt wrong.

I have always considered Dexter Walker an opportunist. Not to say he's a bad person, I just think - my opinion here - he's just stuck like glue to his own ministry and what he does. Don't believe me: join the board and check out every single time Walker has posted and witness how many times it's been about him and his ministry. I think everyone should have a good outlook on what they do...but when a person makes decisions that, in the end, come off as being arrogant, standoffish, self-absorbed...and they are always in defense-mood by trying to glamorize something that isn't quite acceptable to the mass public, that's when they need to take a step back and reevaluate their own selves.

Personally, I'm tired of all of the ZM chatter, especially when I couldn't find but one or two okay songs on the project. And I'm not the only one that will go on the record to profess that.

Go ahead and be mad at the video for yourself. And if you like crazy antics, fake-looking flamboyant praise breaks and busy musicians playing all over one another like it's a reality-TV talent contest, then be my quest. I can't help it I listen to good music and am proud to say that. For those whom are publicly patting artists on the back and joining their fan clubs, make sure you are not doing it on purpose but with a spirit of confidence.

Dexter Walker & ZM "Lift Him Up" video
The Spirit of Rebellion (

Monday, January 21, 2008

Campaign MLK

On MLK Day, observed by millions of Americans on January 21, we pause to reflect on the legacy and life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Seems like it's also a day of campaigning for everything that MLK fought for the heart of equality, the end of segregation, economic and political empowerment and anti-war progress.

As the presidential caucuses and primaries continue and as the country fearfully awaits the arrival of Super Tuesday, the Democratic party leaders (Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards) prepared their speeches to deliver at several of the country's memorial services in honor of the great civil rights leader. On Sunday, Barack Obama's speech at Ebenezer Baptist in Atlanta almost sounded like a sermon as listeners awaited to hear his commentary and promises for the country's future through his potential administration. But listeners were also awaiting to hear what new comments he had for former president Bill Clinton. The media has been on a uprising trying to smite the two leaders in a war of words ever since Bill Clinton labeled his promises for the future a "fairy tale." Obama decided to counterattack Clinton while trying to do bring down his current competition for the Democratic nomination, Sen. Hilary Clinton. After a victory in both Nevada and New Hampshire, Sen. Obama and Sen. Clinton are considered by most critics and news outlets to be in a very close match for victory.

It seems like Sen. Hillary Clinton has experienced a war of words from all sides of the spectrum. For being a woman and the only woman running for office and for being married to former president, Clinton is experiencing from most of her opposition a great deal of discomfort. Stll, she rises up to the challenge and proves her experience is as mightier than most realize. On Sunday, Sen. Clinton attended an observance for MLK Day at the esteemed Abyssinian Baptist Church of Harlem, pastored by Reverend Calvin O. Butts, III. A mix of boos from Obama fans and cheers from the crowd awaited her during her visit. A small but boisterous crowd declared that Clinton was there to steal the black vote, as the pastor of the mega-church announced his endorsement to Clinton. According to most polls, the Democratic party in the eyes of most black Americans sees the "Clinton vs. Obama" situation as a war on issue of black vs. white.

According to Letta Tayler of, hecklers continued to repeat "Harlem for Obama", briefly drowning out Butts' endorsement. When Clinton passed cups of steaming coffee to the crowd on the bitterly cold day, one Obama fan shouted, "I don't want your coffee!" "HIL-lary! HIL-lary!" Clinton supporters shouted back.

Outside the church, Butts, who also is president of SUNY at Old Westbury, said his endorsement of Clinton had prompted angry phone calls from some parishioners. But, he added, "a vote for Hillary is not a vote against Barack Obama or any community, be it African-American, Latino or any other." Instead, he said, it is a vote for the candidate "who has the vision and experience to make things happen."

On MLK Day, a debate featuring the Democratic candidates and things just got ugly between Obama (whom made an announcement earlier that we should unite) and Clinton. Edwards put a little humor into the situation when he acknowledged that there were three people in the debate, not two.

The highlighted moment of the evening surrounded Obama's defense about recent comments he made about Republican ideas and Ronald Reagan. During his comments, Clinton interrupted and said she has never criticized Obama's remarks on Reagan. Obama, slyly responded, "Your husband did." She snapped back, "I'm here. He's not."

The debate, sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus Institute and CNN, took had a change of direction later on as Clinton and Edwards questioned Obama's present votes for legislation laws that would have have downfall effects and possibly bring about legal concerns. Still, a great number of African-Americans during the debate hoorayed for Obama; showing him support possibly because of Obama's skin color.

South Carolina, a state Obama ventured through last year with a gospel tour featuring Donnie McClurkin and Mary Mary, holds their primary on Saturday, Jan. 26.

As MLK Day comes to a close in 2008, we must remember that our right to vote is essentially important...not just to our race, but for the good of mankind. Let's vote for the best candidate involved...and not just because of a person's skin color, but let's vote for the best and most experienced person for the job. In the end, it's performance that is going to get us out of this mess we are in as a country.

Hillary gets mixed reception in Harlem (
Clinton, Obama clash at debate (Yahoo! News)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Why Did I Take Steroids?

Maybe this should be the new film title for super black cinema producer Tyler Perry, whom soared to stardom with his best-selling Madea plays. The actor and director along with an A-list of celebrities including Mary J. Blige, Wyclef Jean, Timbaland and 50 Cent were named in connection with an Albany, NY-based steroid investigation that alleges the celebs took performance-enhancing drugs.

None of the celebrities was accused of violating the law. Instead, the investigation has focused on stopping the flow of the drugs by cracking down on doctors who illegally prescribe them without seeing patients, and on the so-called anti-aging clinics, pharmacies and other distributors that supply the drugs.

While Mary J. Blige's reps commented on the report and claims she has never taken any illegal steroids, reps from the other stars' cabinets have not yet commented.

Let's just hope Madea ain't taking these drugs to enhance that supersized chest of hers anymore.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Another Stellar Sweep Goes Wrong

Okay, I'm not a hater so don't get things twisted...but the Stellars seem to love honoring those that fit well in the popular category, because the Voting Committee of these awards are now only focusing on their T-Mobile 5 Favs instead of focusing on the big picture.

The announcement of Saturday's 23rd Annual Stellar Award results are finally out (sorry, didn't attend) and to my surprise, as usual, the bulk of the awards ended up going to the good ol' buddies of the industry. Donald Lawrence has taken home in a three year radius almost every award since the release of 2004's I Speak Life. Now he's being honored for two projects he's affiliated with: newcomer DeWayne Woods "Introducing DeWayne Woods & When Singers Meet" and the final chapter of the Clark Sisters "Live: One Last Time." Both albums, produced by D. Lawrence, stole the show and apparently stole the awards from the other nominees. Call it the ultimate black ghetto award fiasco gone wrong again. Why I call it a fiasco? Because even the big critics, such as myself, know that both of these albums lacked substance, strong material, and an evenness that great albums should possess - and better suited projects that were nominated failed to get the big endorsement from the voting squad of the Stellar Awards.

Check this out and tell me if this doesn't make sense.
Artist of the Year - Clark Sisters
Song of the Year - Let Go, Let God by DeWayne Woods
Male Vocalist of the Year - DeWayne Woods
Producer of the Year - Donald Lawrence
Group or Duo of the Year - Clark Sisters
New Artist of the Year - DeWayne Woods
CD of the Year - Live - One Last Time by the Clark Sisters
Traditional Group of the Year - Clark Sisters
Urban Inspirational Single/Performance of the Year - Let Go, Let God by DeWayne Woods

Almost look like the credits to a YouTube Do-It-Yourself-music video.

Don Johnson - you oughta be ashamed of yourself for hiring and soliciting a narrow-minded team of inexperienced voters to come up with this year's wins. Use some common sense here. Dreamgirls, the motion picture, was a great film and deserved at least one or two Oscars, but it didn't deserve a sweep...and it didn't. Sweeps usually take place when there's nothing else good in place. Personally if I were a Stellar nominee, I would have wanted a refund and probably would have wanted to call my lawyer - demanding to sue the entire event - for stealing my time.

What makes this situation even more frustrating is knowing that both projects were marinated by the gospel industry with circumstantial hype and overdone "reality-TV" glitz that most of the other albums couldn't compete. In the end, it really looks like the other candidates - even if they had perfect albums and performances - couldn't stand in the ring with the Clark Sisters' heartbreaking final album as a group and the buzz surrounding DeWayne Woods' popular search-engine bio announcing his deliverance from HIV. But when did music award shows become humanitarian awards?

Honestly, there's too many friendships and buddy systems in place at the Stellars. Thank God for real award shows like the GRAMMYs. At least they cover the entire spectrum of each genre and try to deliver a more eclectic and reasonable response to their voting process.

And I don't care who hates me after I post this - because I don't hate anyone. I just believe fair is fair. When I think of Best Album of the Year...I don't think my best friend should win it because I hung out with them at the mall last weekend and I took a picture with them at last year's church convocation. But I must get over this setback in gospel music history...I always thought R&B was my true calling.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


Okay, a new year is here and we are hoping to do a few things differently, especiallywhen today's status quo even wants a little taste of change in their system. So we are debuting in January our brand-new live, 24-7 radio station called the PRAYZEHYMN Express.

Powered by, the station will feature some of the best in traditional and contemporary gospel music - and alot of stuff that won't get played on your local radio stations. Plus, for a couple of more weeks we will be playing the TOP 50 Gospel Songs of 2007 - taken from our
PRAYZEHYMN exclusive article posted on the website.

What's so cool about the station is that you can vote for tracks you like or dislike...and listening to the station is totally free. If you don't like the commercials or interpretions due to being time-out or lack of activity, you can always subscribe to as a VIP member.

The station's playlists are constantly updated so you never what's going to be played next. We are also working on posting brand-new JUST YAKIN: BILL & BEE segments on the station, along with artist interviews and other cool ideas to help spruce up the station's programming.

Love the station? E-mail us and let us hear your feedback.


Wednesday, January 09, 2008

BMI and ASCAP Gets The Party Started

BMI and ASCAP, two of the key performance rights organizations in music, are gearing up for a weekend of festivities during the 23rd Annual Stellar Awards.

BMI's 9th Annual Trailblazers of Gospel Music Awards Luncheon will honor and salute Vanessa Bell Armstrong, Mighty Clouds of Joy and Pastor Marvin Winans. The invitation-only celebration is set to take place at the Rocketown venue in Nashville, TN.

ASCAP's big Stellar Award Nominee Reception, staged at the ASCAP building in Nashville, will feature appearances from J Moss, Smokie Norful, Karen Clark-Sheard, Kelly Price, Darius Brooks, Maurette Brown Clark, Micah Stampley, Troy Sneed and many others. This event, hosted by Damita Haddon, takes place on January 11 at 3:00 p.m. In order to attend you must comfirm your attendance with the ND Co. at 323.298.8660.

Major distributor Central South Gospel will be hosting a number of events as well during Stellar Awards week at the Gibson Showcase in Nashville . Details of the events have been posted below:

10:30 a.m.
Jazz Brunch/Meet-And-Greet

Special Guests: Bernard Harris Trio and Kevin Turner

12:00 noon - 2:30 p.m.
Educational Workshop

3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
1st Annual Gospel Announcers' Spotlight Awards
Hosted by David Mann (Mr. Brown from Tyler Perry's Meet The Browns)
Special Guests: Vickie Winans, Martha Munizzi, Micah Stampley, Mary Alessi, William Murphy

4:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Invitation-Only Dinner

5:30 p.m.
Annual Praise Party
Special Guests: Myron Williams, Marvin Winans Jr., Norman Hutchins, William Murphy, Mary Alessi, Jason Nelson, David & Tamela Mann, Bryan Wilson, Bishop John Francis, Jerard Woods, Dave & Nicole Binion and Tarralyn Ramsey

10 p.m.
Urban Soul Summit Concert
Hosted by John Gray

Special Guests: Canton Jones, Mr. Del, Vashawn Mitchell, William Demps and Antwaun Stanley

Seems like the Stellars is becoming a bigger and badder attraction for gospel lovers. Glad to know the hype is looking favorable for one of the music world's underrated music shows.

The Stellar Awards (Official Website)