Monday, December 14, 2009
Probably not expected to hit the fan at Gospelflava.com or GospelCity.com, but it's worth every inch of space here at the PRAYZE Report (soon to be merged with our new MainIngredient blog).
Brian Moore, pastor of Life Center Ministries and developer of a number of satellite churches in both Carolinas, was arrested December 10 for felony possession of a controlled substance, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was released on bond totalling $3,250 dollars. His arrest information has now been made public; courtesy of the Office of the Sheriff, Mecklenberg County, North Carolina.
Melvin Crispell, renowned musician and songwriter for James Hall and Hezekiah Walker, is the church's minister of music.
Don't get mad at the law. They were only just doing their job. Instead, let's get mad at the church for thinking they were above the law.
To see the public records regarding Moore's arrest and charges, click here.
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
This is a new day.
PRAYZEHYMN Online.com, the parent company of the PRAYZE Report, announced its latest adventure into mainstream coverage including popular album releases, film, DVD releases, TV and much more. The new direction also includes a Facebook-supported networking group and a new blog called MAIN INGREDIENT.
The launch site of MAIN STREET (http://www.prayzehymnonline.com/mainstreet) included reviews of the films New Moon: the Twilight Saga and Precious, along with album reviews of Melaine Fiona, Brian McKnight, Angie Stone, Rod Stewart and Marques Houston. It also includes a On-the-Go music station, poll section and a featured YouTube video.
"This is a blessing to us here at PRAYZEHYMNOnline.com. The PRAYZE Report has been a popular blog for gospel music listeners and we are happy about its success," expressed site developer and chief editor J. Matthew Cobb. "But we are pushing away from the Blogger-supported blog because we aren't aware of how large our traffic is. The new blog is linked to our site and will actually give us a better understanding of how vast our audience is. We believe the end results will be boundless."
In a press statement and article posted on MAIN STREET, Cobb explained the site's vision and new direction while also expressing his disenchantment towards the gospel music industry.
"Gospel music has been good to me," the 29-year old editor expressed. "I love the genre, but the industry needs to do better. It's still a small clique' that believes there's only one way to succeed and to do things. Unfortunately, I'm not a part of the fraternity. I'm glad I'm not."
Since the announcement of MAIN STREET, PRAYZEHYMNOnline.com promises to continue its coverage on gospel music.
An end-date for the PRAYZE Report is soon to be announced.
To visit MAIN STREET, go to:
Sunday, December 06, 2009
For the 52nd annual Grammy Awards, a good number of awards will be given to some of this year's favorite artists. This year was a tight but respectable year for good music, which is easily showcased in the list of nominees.
Leading the board of nominees included the triumphant Beyonce' with a resounding ten nominations. The Black Eyed Peas, Maxwell, Lady Gaga, Kanye West and Taylor Swift's Fearless received several nominations as well. Legendary soul vets including Stevie Wonder, for the Obama tribute "All About the Love Again" and Hall & Oates, for their performance of "Sara Smile" on the Live at the Troubadour DVD and album, were also recognized. Whitney Houston, who released her best-selling return album I Look to You, failed to impress the Academy and failed to earn a Grammy nod. Melanie Fiona, one of 2009's biggest debut artists, earned a nod for "It Kills Me" in the Best Female R&B Performance category.
All eyes will be glued to the coveted Song of the Year category as Lady Gaga's "Poker Face," Beyonce's "Single Ladies" and Maxwell's "Pretty Wings" face off.
In the gospel categories, Israel Houghton was nominated twice for Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album and for the song "Every Prayer" off of his Power of One album. Mary Mary, who also dueted with Houghton on "Every Prayer," walked away with a second nod for Best Gospel Song with their R&B crossover hit "God in Me." This year's most overlooked but industry beloved compilation, the Oh Happy Day soundtrack, received a few glances for Best Gospel Performance ("I Believe" by Jonny Lang & the Fisk Jubilee Singers), Best R&B Performance by Group/Duo with Vocals ("Higher Ground by Robert Randolph & the Clark Sisters) and for Best Traditional Album.
Heather Headley also got two Grammy nominations for Best Contemporary R&B Gospel and Best Gospel Performance for her rendition of "Jesus Is Love." J Moss, Matthew West, Sheri Jones-Moffett, tobyMac and Donald Lawrence also were nominated in the gospel categories.
On a side note, Tonex' registered a nod for Best Urban/Alternative Performance for the song "Blend." Tonex faces a strong set of neo-soul wonders including Bilal, the Foreign Exchange and Eric Roberson.
Gospel diva Ann Nesby even got her share of recognition for "Sow Love," off of her Lula Lee Project, in the category of Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance.
Mentioned earlier this year, the Best Performance by a Gospel Choir or Chorus category was removed from the ballot due to the lack of nominees and album submissions.
To read a full list of this year's set of nominees, click here.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Released today, Central City Productions president Don Jackson issued an open letter in response to the growing concerns about its nomination process and its embattled issues of integrity.
In his letter, Jackson stated, "As a direct result of the constructive feedback of the Gospel Music Industry, from the sources I’ve identified above, I am pleased to inform you that for our 25th Anniversary Show we implemented several improvements to our Entry, Nominating and Balloting process that we feel strengthened our overall Voting process and made our procedure more open and inclusive, while continuing to maintain the integrity, fairness and highest standards of our overall process for everyone. "
Several minute changes included the elimination of the mail-in ballot, expanding the charting system to include all Nielsen BDS data which virtually allows all independents a right to a nomination and extended time record labels to submit their recommendations.
Strangely, all of these changes seem to have been made this year as evidence points that artists were added to the nomination lists days after the first round ballot surfaced. Previously, albums had to have visibility on the Billboard charts. Most of the independent artists nominated this year have not even charted on Billboard; which ultimately suggests that the new changes had to be activated prior to Jackson's recent announcement.
On the heels of the Stellar Awards' open letter to the public and gospel media, a letter from Stellar Awards Gospel Music Academy (SAGMA) president Henry Harris encouraged all of the Academy's members to vote for his online Radio Station and media resource, Spiritco1.com, for Best Online Radio Station - once again creating a cloud of criticism. The problem abounds in its conflict of interest. The email was sent to Harris's Facebook followers and to his mailing list. This year, Spiritco1, also an independent marketing firm, became embroiled in a massive pool of controversy due to its long list of customers making the Stellar Awards' ballot. Included in the drama, Harris also announced a 2-for-1 membership special to help encourage his supporters to buy more memberships to increase his artists' changes to make the final ballot.
An online petition, created by gospel blogger EJ Gaines, caused a stir three week ago asking the Stellars' to develop necessary corrections. Unfortunately, only 200 individuals have signed it.
The Stellar Gospel Music Awards, celebrating its 25th year anniversary, will take place at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, TN on January 16, 2010.
Online Petition to SAGMA & CCP [PetitionSpot.com]
Monday, November 23, 2009
About the only thing reconcilable about Voices of Citadel's latest album, Won't It Be Wonderful, is their revisit to Butch Heyward's '80s classic "Hallelujah to the Lamb." The song has that extra punch and energy very reminiscent of '90s contemporary gospel music via the Hezekiah Walker movement.
While it was posted back in 2008, the raw video taken at a James Hall's appreciation service may be the only video of VOC in action singing the song. Check it out and let me know what you think.
Temporarily, you can listen to the single at PRAYZEHYMN Online.com in the Nu Tunes section.
The album is digitally available at iTunes and eMusic.com.
Friday, November 13, 2009
Got to call it what it is. It's gossip. But as they always say, there's always some truth in the tale.
Twitter posts and unauthorized gospel blogs went haywire this week concerning the moral discrepancies and recent fall outs concerning urban gospel/hip-hop rapper Da' T.R.U.T.H. and gospel star Tye Tribbett.
Both are now the subject of marital infidelity and moral indiscretion. For Da' T.R.U.T.H., the rapper publicly posted via his web site a letter to his fans that he will be taking a sabbatical from the music ministry and is need of time to heal for his wife and family.
In May, former label mate Ambassador was released from his record label, Cross Movement Records, concerning moral failure pertaining his wife.
After Da' T.R.U.T.H publicly announced his semi-retirement leaked, Cross Movement issued a public statement revealing their decision to drop him from the label. "It is with tremendous sadness and humble disappointment that Cross Movement Records must inform you regarding the suspension of the promotion and forwarding of the artist...Da Truth,...due to recent findings of moral failure in his marriage." stated the letter. "It is the expressed ambition and demonstrated intent of this label to foster Christian leadership that utilizes the platforms of an artist or musician. While obedience to the word of God is the high standard for all who name the name of Christ, for the Christian leader, the standards and the consequences are even greater.
In closing, for those that want to label this as just another sleazy, downgrading ploy designed by Satan. I leave you with these powerful words: "You shall know Da' T.R.U.T.H. And the truth shall set you free." Amen.
Da' T.R.U.T.H. Takes Sabbatical for Moral Indiscretion [Gospel Pundit]
Thursday, November 12, 2009
In the charismatic climate of the Churches of God in Christ Holy Convocation, Pastor Donnie McClurkin once again addressed the cloudy and controversial nature of homosexuality - a subject that continues to give the popular gospel singer more and more media coverage. And things got even more graphic as he peculiarly opened the painful chapters of his past and his epiphanies concerning today's generation in front of thousands of youth and young adults at a youth service.
"I went to Mason's Temple and sat in the musicals." He then cried in displeasure, "No, no, no...Where are the fathers?"
An altar call towards deliverance, hearkened by McClurkin's anti-gay rants, opened the door for even more skepticism. Deliverance, a charming term used overtly and often times out of context, still worries theologians and modern Christians today. According to the "ex-gay" ministry Witness for the World's web site, they believe deliverance from homosexuality is a process. While the debate continues to loom with even larger interpretations in the church, homosexuality is widely encountered in the animal kingdom and is slowly pointing to its place of origin in the world of genetics. Ex-gay movements like Witness for the World still believe that a person can be delivered, or liberated totally, from homosexuality and lesbianism.
In the videos now streamed by thousands of visitors on YouTube, he openly addressed Tonex', the former gospel singer and urban R&B singer who spoke about his long-rumored sexuality. He even went on to compare homosexuals to the likes of vampires. Good gracious.
McClurkin recently spoke about his battle with homosexuality while also comparing his sexual urges to his medical diagnosis of diabetes. "I don't eat sugar, but it doesn't mean that I don't want sugar."
McClurkin also uttered with tears piercing his skin,"It's not the children's fault. We failed our boys...and girls. But today, Bishop Blake said this is the convocation of the turnaround. Today, the tables are about to turn and Satan is going to be destroyed over the lives of our young people."
So I guess in some supernatural way, since this is the year of the turnaround, gays and lesbians will cease to exist and less gays will congregate into the midnight musicals. Or maybe not.
In response to McClurkin's choice of words at the COGIC campmeeting, Yvette Flunder, pastor of City of Refuge Church and renowned gospel artist, stated in a Facebook journal entry:
"My deep concern is for those young people who are part of the COGIC and for their families who have now been driven deeper into the closet by experiences like this. The closet is a dangerous place, where theological, and physical self-abuse runs rampant."
Tell us about it, Yvette. It was the closet that made McClurkin what he was and what he still is.
Thanks Rod 2.0 for informing us about this one. You can read Rod McCullom's post on Donnie McClurkin's rants by clicking here.
What's Gotten Into Donnie McClurkin [TheDailyVoice.com]
The best-selling Gotta Have Gospel series, made possible by a joint-venture between Integrity Music and Zomba Gospel, has released its first holiday compilation featuring a strong list of gospel artists including John P. Kee, Richard Smallwood, Yolanda Adams, Juanita Bynum, Israel Houghton, CeCe Winans and many others.
"Gospel consumers and music fans everywhere will love this homage to the greatest songs of Christmas as well as newly re-purposed classics done in a contemporary gospel style," says Daniel D. McGuffey, chief marketing officer of Integrity Media. "Some of the biggest gospel artists in the world have put their unique signature spin on these wonderful songs, which makes for a marvelous seasonal experience."
The single disc collection is in stores now and is available in CD and digitial form at Amazon.com.
Friday, November 06, 2009
According to the Associated Press, BeBe Winans has been uprooted from the Oprah Winfrey Show until the legal charges against him based on allegations of him attacking his ex-wife are resolved in court.
Winans did appear on her show last week to promote Still, his new album with sister CeCe, and was seen in promos for upcoming shows. A show focusing on a "karaoke challenge," bolstered by the debut of the video game Band Hero, was supposed to feature (BeBe) Winans, but will be cut from the show according to show spokesman Don Halcombe.
Amid growing concerns from bloggers about Oprah's harsh stance against domestic abuse, Oprah responded in a statement: "Domestic violence is something that I wouldn't tolerate. Period."
More growing concerns for Winans has sparked surrounding the rumors of his departure as a judge and co-host on BET's Sunday Best. At press time, BET has not confirmed such a report, but the rumors seem to be true, as reported earlier by Gospel Pundit. BeBe & CeCe Winans are still expected to go on tour to promote their new album.
BeBe Winans Leaving Sunday Best? [Gospel Pundit]
Monday, November 02, 2009
I smelt this one coming.
At the social networking web site Facebook, one proud Larry Langford supporter put their foot towards the threshing floor to start up a militant campaign of awareness to help free Larry Langford. Since the trial ended, the fan page --Free Larry Langford -- has welcomed a staggering following of over 3,000 members.
Since most of the former Jefferson County commissioners have all been persecuted and lost in the court of law - including Gary White, Mary Buckelew, Jeff Germany and Chris McNair - the next in line ended up being former Birmingham mayor and former Jefferson County commission president Larry Langford.
Two of the former commissioners (White, Buckelew) were white. The other two were black. Still a considerable number of black citizens in Birmingham rush to his aid crying out that the trial was racially motivated. The group's description states that "racism is still in effect, yes he may be have been wrong but those crackers r doing da same thang he was doin n gettin away with it." *
In his defense, over 3,377 Facebook members have joined the Fan page to express their love and admiration for the embattled mayor. Strange isn't it. Where was that super large support group when Frank "God's Gangster" Matthews and SCLC drum major Rev. Calvin Woods initiated a prayer rally the Sunday before his bribery trial? Only 33 supporters showed up.
Goes to show you Birmingham can sometimes be mostly all talk, very little action.
Check out the special key chain Mr. Matthews wants every Langford supporter to have.
*Apologizes for the bad grammar, but we quoted the text from the original fan page. Author's actual words.
Vote 2009: Let's do something (like select another mayor) [Wade on Birmingham]
The Life and Crimes of Larry Langford [Birmingham Weekly]
Birmingham mayor Larry Langford guilty on bribery, fraud, conspiracy [Wade on Birmingham]
The Trial of Larry Langford [Wade on Birmingham]
Trials in Alabama: Langford, Thomas [PRAYZE Report]
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Announced on Thursday during a press conference in Nashville, TN, Don Jackson of Central City Productions delivered the list of nominees for the 25th Annual Stellar (Gospel Music) Awards.
Among the chief of nominees, a number of independent artists including Vickie Winans, Phillip Carter & SOV and Malcolm Williams & Great Faith head the list of multiple mentions. Artists including Donald Lawrence & Co., Paul Morton, Israel Houghton, Mary Mary, Kierra Sheard and Hezekiah Walker top the list for most mentions from mainstream talent.
Axed from the final ballot and set of nominees were Coko, James Fortune & FIYA, Sheri Jones-Moffett, 21:03 and Melinda Watts.
Word has already leaked of the possibility of paid-for-play or behind-the-scenes payola as being the the reasons behind so many multiple mentions from independent artists in the category. The biggest observation coming from upset Stellar supporters stems around Vickie Winans' super list of nominations - coming from an album that bearly met the deadline for an album release date according to SAGMA (Stellar Academy) guidelines.
According to the Stellar award web site, nominees for the 25th annual Stellar Awards must be released in between the dates of July 1, 2008 and August 31, 2009. Winans' album How I Got Over was released to stores on August 25, 2009. The album made the deadline, but gospel lovers are concerned if foul play is at fault.
Jawn Murray, popular celeb journalist and Tom Joyner's gossip resource, started a Twitterbot called #YouKnowYouMadeTheStellarsBallot. One of the most hilarious comments he posted on his Twitter page mentioned "you know you made the Stellars' ballot if your CD has never appeared on the Billboard Gospel charts."
The jokes, coming from a large source of gospel artists and industry vets, made the Twitter bot a popular destination. Some of the most popular jokes posted included:
"You know you made the Stellars' ballot if you didn't know you was nominated," "You know you made the Stellars' ballot if you and your label buy up all the units" and "You know you made the Stellars' ballot if you spent your entire budget on SAGMA memberships."
Indeed, the controversy continues.
Returning to the music charts with their new reunion project Still, gospel duo BeBe & CeCe Winans landed on the front cover of last week's issue of JET Magazine. The two talk about their new album, the long-anticipated reunion and the loss of their father.
If you can, pick up a copy of the issue at your local news stands.
EbonyJet [Official Website]
BeBe & CeCe Winans Are Reaching People Where They Are [1800 Gospel]
BeBe & CeCe Winans Album Review of Still [PRAYZEHYMNOnline.com]
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
I may be setting my eyes on moving away from Birmingham, but today is a new day.
Larry P. Langford, mayor of Birmingham, Ala, was found guilty on all 60 counts in his federal bribery case. It only took 2 hours for the jury to come up with their decision.
This was what he had to say to the news media and his critics. Ouch. Feel pretty sad for NBC 13's Jon Paepcke. Please watch the clips for yourself.
He along with his wife blamed the verdict on race, even though the defense asked if the case be moved to another city than Birmingham; feeling as if the trial would not be fair for the defendant. Both Al LaPierre and Bill Blount, former co-defendants in the case, plead guilty earlier this year and even testified on the witness stand. Langford didn't.
Beginning today, Carole Smitherman, council president, will serve as interim mayor until a special election is help. Valerie Abbott will become acting council president.
A full report and quick bio on the now-former mayor can be read at:
Wade on Birmingham.
The Life and Crimes of Larry Langford [Birmingham Weekly]
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
During an unprecedented year filled with racial harmonics and historical firsts, two historical churches in Philadelphia are hoping to mend the broken pieces of a 200-year old schism that led Rev. Richard Allen and Absalom Jones, the founding fathers of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, to walk out of St. George's United Methodist Church.
On Sunday, October 25, the parishioners of both congregations, Mother Bethel AME and St. George, united together at St. George during Sunday morning worship services. The bittersweet occasion proved to be a glorious moment of historical relevance as both congregations help to heal the wounds of the past.
"This balcony that's been a symbol of bad memories can also be something that stokes some hope and some positive memories moving into the future - that we can be together." Rev. Fred Day, pastor of St. George's, said to CBS 3.
According to news reports, the reunion idea was developed by both pastors, Rev. Day of St. George's and Rev. Mark Kelly Tyler of Mother Bethel, not long ago.
Day asked Tyler to preach as part of the 240th anniversary. "Why don't I bring Mother Bethel with me ?" Tyler asked Day. Tyler recalled the conversation in an interview last week.Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love, was also the center of attention in 2008 when a presidential-hopeful Barack Obama delivered an important speech focusing on America's unresolved racial problems. The Constitution Center, the site of Obama's message, is just a few blocks away from St. George.
He acknowledged that "a few persons in both congregations were wondering why this was necessary," Tyler said. "A few in our church didn't think going back could ever change anything. And there was some apprehension of us returning on the other side."
But no dissonance was ever expressed, and both congregations overwhelmingly approved the idea, said Tyler, who had been looking forward to his moment in St. George's pulpit.
"...It's a sense of rejoicing, moving beyond bitterness," said Tyler.
2009 marks the 240th anniversary of St. George. The congregations will meet once again: next time at Mother Bethel AME.
Philadelphia Congregations Break Down Barriers (Video) [CBS 3]
Thursday, October 22, 2009
For the month of October (boo), the eyes of the law remain glued on the state of Alabama for the biggest spook-tacular to ever outshine the perils of goblins and witches. Bloomberg opened an editorial this week on Alabama's status using the headline: Armageddon in Alabama. Whoa, could it be?
Two high-profiled cases, now making national headlines, are already in session, which include Mayor Larry P. Langford (D), the current mayor of Birmingham, Ala., who has been accused by the feds of bribery, and former Alabama Circuit Court Judge Herman Thomas, who is accused of exchanging leniency for sexual acts such as paddling, masturbation and oral sex to convicted felons.
First case: Larry P. Langford.
While never shy from controversy and the media, Langford is heading up an ocean without a paddle. Both Al LaPierre and Bill Blount, who formerly plead not guilty to their crimes and who stood as co-defendants with Langford, worked up a plea agreement with the government. As part of their plea deal, both will be called to testify against the mayor during the trial.
Langford faces 60 charges from a federal indictment returned in June 2008 and unsealed six months later. Among the charges are bribery, money laundering, conspiracy, mail and wire fraud and filing a false tax return. If convicted on all counts, Langford could serve a staggering maximum of 804 years in federal prison.
In closing, take a good listen to the rhetoric delivered at the prayer vigil held last Sunday. Leading the pep rally are Frank Matthews, known as God's Gangster, and SCLC local leader Rev. Calvin Woods. Matthews was recently hired by Langford to serve as the co-director of Birmnigham's Office of Citizen Assistance. Only 55 people attended.
A snippet of the vigil has been posted below:
This quote had me laughing, but it's a golden truth from Birmingham Weekly.
"The vigil was led by the Reverend Calvin Woods of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. That means the same organization that persuaded 3,500 students to come downtown and confront Bull Connor in May 1963 couldn’t get 60 people to come downtown to listen to a guy on a bullhorn in October 2009."Second case: Herman Thomas
The former Mobile, Ala. judge, known for sporting his bowties and for being a proud cardcarrier of the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity, is facing major heat due to the bizarre nature of the allegations. Thomas, 48, faces more than 20 felony charges including sodomy, attempted sodomy, sex abuse and assault. Sodomy is the only class A felony, which is punishable by 10 years to life in prison. The case included 11 alleged victims and 52 counts. Closing statements have already been made and the 5-man, 7-woman jury, as of 3:34 p.m on Thursday, begins their deliberations on the case.
Words of advice:
Even if you are a man or woman of the law, that doesn't mean you are a man or woman above the law.
Follow daily updates on the Larry Langford case at:
LangfordTrial on Twitter (NBC 13)
Wade on Birmingham
Herman Thomas trial: Jury begins deliberations... [Mobile Press-Register]
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Columbus Day was a holiday and a day off from work for some. For Isaac Carree (of Men of Standard fame) and gospel artist James Fortune, it was just a day of horrid discovery.
The reports were first made on their Twitter accounts and eventually leaked on gospel radio. Early reports on Gospelflava.com stated they were robbed in Atlanta. Well, we have since read an entire different version at other gospel online resources (including GospelPundit.com). They were robbed at gunpoint while leaving Le Peep's restaurant near Houston's Galleria. Personal belongings reported stolen, according to the victims, were iMac computers, jewelry, passports and money. Both Carree and Fortune were unharmed.
Monday, October 12, 2009
We try not to cover too many stories about religion gone bad. But hey, stuff happens.
This story didn't get profiled here when it first came up, but we sure wanted to make a post of the guilty verdict given to Robert Reaves, a former pastor of Cedar International Fellowship in Durham. Reaves, also referred as a self-proclaimed bishop, was found guilty last week of killing a woman in his congregation. Prosecutors said Reaves was "rebuffed after making sexual advances toward a former college basketball star who rented a room from him," according to Rod 2.0. "...so he stalked and killed the man's girlfriend in revenge."
Steven Randolph, the basketball star and former roommate, also testified in the trial and mentioned Reaves' interest of offering free rent in exchange for oral sex.
It didn't take long for the Wake County jury to give the final verdict: just a day and a half.
During the closing arguments of the case, the prosecutors mentioned the minister's gloomy crime sheet, which included sexual misconduct with boys. He was found guilty of first-degree murder and faces life in prison without parole.
Reaves' church family had very little to say about the verdict or their f0rmer pastor. Well, what could they say? Well, they could try to explain why an anti-gay preacher like Reaves would also live a hypocritical, private lifestyle - while harming and killing innocent people.
Stuff happens - even in the church.
Guilty verdict in I-540 murder trial [WTVD-TV Raleigh]
Wake jury convicts Reaves in NCCU slaying [Durham Hearld Sun]
Saturday, October 10, 2009
The famed producer behind the popular Madea movies, #1 box-office dramedies and stage plays opens up about the painful abuse he experienced as a child to his father. Tyler Perry, born Emmitt Perry, Jr., changed his name to distance himself from his father.
Perry recounted a few of those disturbing revelations on his web site's blog after realizing an upcoming movie he's working on conjured up some of the raw emotions from his past. "I'm tired of holding this in," Perry wrote on his site,"so I've decided to give some away."
One night when his mother was gone, Perry stated, his drunken father "got the vacuum cleaner extension cord and trapped me in a room and beat me until the skin was coming off my back."
Perry also wrote that his father, a construction worker, constantly used profane insults at him and belittled him until he turned 19.
Perry has since forgiving his father from his abuse. Attempts to reach his father for comment, according to CNN, were unsuccessful.
Not as publicized as the physical and verbal abuse, Perry also spoke about child molestation horrors he received from a neighborhood woman at the age of 10. He also spoke of a church-goer who molested him as a kid. The man died broke, according to Perry's statements, and Perry was asked by the family to help pay for the funeral. "I quickly said no, but I wish I would have said yes. There is something so powerful to me in burying the man that molested me," Perry wrote. "I would have dug the grave myself."
Precious, a movie about an illiterate, obese Harlem girl who is abused, hits theaters this fall. The movie, also starring Mariah Carey, will be produced by Perry along with talk show mogul and internationally-known philanthropist Oprah Winfrey.
Friday, October 09, 2009
To some it comes as a surprise. To others, it's elementary.
The work President Barack Obama put in to "building momentum behind his initiative to reduce nuclear arms, ease tensions in the Muslim world and stress diplomacy and cooperation rather than unilateralism" were the grounds of success for the high honor.
Already nine months in his presidential run, many thought it was too early for the popular president (look at the polls and his current approval rating, as of this week) to receive such a nod. Obama, himself, said he was surprised and deeply humbled by the honor. According to the Associated Press, he plans to travel to Oslo to accept the prize, which he said he does not see "as a recognition of my own accomplishments," but rather as a recognition of goals he has set for the United States and the world.
"I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many transformative figures that have been honored by this prize," Obama said.
Still, his work on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are far from over. He is thinking about sending additional troops, led by demands from the military, and may be considering the decision to ask allies to help out.
Other sitting presidents who have received the covetous award include Theodore Roosevelt, in 1906 and President Woodrow Wilson in 1919. Al Gore received the award in 2000 for his work in raising awareness for global warming.
Thanks Rod 2.0 for the Obama headshot.
President Barack Obama wins Nobel Peace Prize [Yahoo/Associated Press]
President Obama wins Nobel Peace Prize [Reuters]
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
Normally I don't watch TBN. I'm just not a big fan of religious programming. After hearing the rhetoric from super-conservative bullies, I just slowly lost interest.
But GospelPundit.com led me to watch the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) archived copy of October 5's Praise the Lord. Glad that I did.
The evening's lineup was in rare form that night. Donnie McClurkin hosted the live taping, while special musical guests Vanessa Bell Armstrong and refreshing newcomer Melinda Watts brought some of their best stuff and gusto to the stage. Armstrong debuted her new single, "Good News," from her recently-released album The Experience; sending the audience into a Holy Ghost frenzy. And Watts, surprisingly, sung "Come Boldly." Astonishing enough that in my album review of her debut project People Get Ready I mentioned the song was the strongest moment on board. But thw show's first guest, renowned comedian Steve Harvey captured the heart of the evening. It was hilarious, uplifting and emotional - even leaving the original King of Comedy in tears.
Harvey, a New York best selling author and radio host, brought his blunt and forward humor to the stage and incredibly spoke of his faith in God. The infamous introduction of Jesus segment, taken from his T.D. Jakes' Megafest stand-up performance, opened up the program and had the audience enraptured with shouts of joy. But his breakdown on men, excerpts from his best-selling book Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, allowed the church crowd to get a dose of reality and truth from a renowned mainstream comedian. How incredible is that.
Powerful words from Harvey, when talking about fame, faith and the troubles of the Internet:
"It's this fame thing that makes it hard. See, my life is under a microscope. I get sick of that sometimes. People don't understand how that is, man, to have your life dissected by people who don't know you. See, the Internet has become this place for evil to dwell. People who blog who have no sense of reality. They just blog about you, don't even know you...I have kids that be reading stuff that ain't true about their father. But you gotta have a piece of you that hold you when all of it is bad. I give God all the credit."
After hearing Harvey's transparency, his profound testimony and words of truth, there was no need to even bring out the preacher of the hour.
Below is a short five-minute snippet from Harvey's TBN appearance.
Steve Harvey, Vanessa Bell Armstrong, Melinda Watts - Archive [TBN.com]
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Lexi is on a roll with her highly-acclaimed, cable TV talk show The Lexi Show.
After debuting her new season with a highly controversial one-on-one interview with urban gospel/R&b singer Ton3x, Lexi returns with an even greater episode. This time around, Lexi sits down to chat one-on-one with Pastor Tony Smith, an Atlanta preacher who has become the latest YouTube sensation of bold, brash and unapologetic preachers. His bold statements, rolled up with attacks on popular church leaders like Bishop T.D. Jakes, Paula White, Joyce Meyer and Bishop Eddie Long, has giving him a brutal edge of saltiness over the controversial Rev. David Manning of the New York-based ATLAH Ministries.
Things even got heated when Smith tries to mimick Lexi's decorum and professionalism. Lexi bites back, with a little Wendy Williams grit, when she says "You gonna start with me tonight? I'm not the one." The moment is spectacular.
Watch all three parts and get a good dose of church humor and religious domination.
Get in on the nomination process. If you love gospel and you have time, head to the online ballot and cast your votes. Online voting is available to the public during the 1st round of the 25th annual Stellar Awards. Only one vote per email address.
Vote for your favorites at:
It's a pretty long ballot and, for most of the choices, you must vote for 10 candidates with your first preference being the number one pick. From what I gathered, artists with multiple mentions included Israel Houghton, Mary Mary, Donald Lawrence & Co., Hezekiah Walker & LFC, Malcolm Williams & Great Faith, Phillip Carter & SOV, Shari Addison, Melinda Watts, Lee Williams & the Spiritual Q.C's and Vickie Winans. But remember, this is just the preliminary stages.
Stellar Awards (Official Website)
Sunday, September 20, 2009
We kinda smelled this one coming. At least I did.
EJ Gaines, the forerunner for popular gospel blog GospelPundit.com and former industry intern, will sit and chat with Deitrick Haddon over his recent homophobic rant on his Twitter page involving gospel artist Tonex'. The coverage, first broke ground at GospelPundit when Gaines felt it was unacceptable and unnecessary for that type of language to be made in the gospel field. The original post, which featured over 70 comments from concerned gospel fans, has since been removed "pending a discussion that Deitrick wants to have with me." said Gaines on his Twitter page Saturday morning. "While I don't take responsibility for Deitrick Haddon's comments, I'm more concerned with bringing unity to this industry."
That might be the objective, EJ. But we believe it's a little more than that. Maybe you're just giving an olive branch to your fellow co-workers and employer.
Another addition to the story:
Deitrick Haddon's Twitter page, originally made public for his fans and supporters, has now been protected his tweets from outside viewers. What once was public is now private.
Below is a picture of what you will find when you click on Haddon's Twitter page; that's if you're not a follower already.
Gospel Singer Deitrick Haddon: "Not a Sissy Bone In My Body" (Rod 2.0)
Thursday, September 17, 2009
On his Twitter page, gospel artist Deitrick Haddon decided to chime in on the popular online debate surrounding homosexuality in the church. Apparently it created major attention when EJ Gaines posted a thread on his site, GospelPundit.com. Now with over 50 comments at Gaines' site and other blogs jumping into the heated conversation, Gaines extracted from the Twitter content some of the homophobic language from Haddon's statements.
"All Gospel singers are not gay as I don't have a sissy bone in my body."
Apparently outraged from Tonex's recent conversation with gospel artist Lexi on her Word Network cable show The Lexi Show, Haddon also commented, "Listen people. God loves everybody but he hates sin! God destroyed Sodom & Gomorah because the city was gay! You think he wants it in his church?" He did repeat on several Twitter posts that he was not a gay basher or homophobic, but his usage of the word" sissy," a derogatory term for "homosexual" upset a number of bloggers and readers.
"God is not pleased with the anger we exhibit, and the venom we spew," Gaines stated in his editorial. "Just because we say “I’m doing it for YOU, Lord.” We condemn other religions for committing hateful acts in the name of God, we have seen (as a nation) racial oppression premised on people’s errant interpretation of Scripture. And we’ve not liked it....let's do better."
In response to Haddon's comments, Tonex' spoke to popular urban gay blog Loldarian .com and said that he was a "little bit disappointed with the response. I think the term "sissy" wasn't necessary but as a brother of mine, no love is lost here."
Not all stand in EJ's corner. A number of Haddon supporters and anti-gay protesters are also becoming more and more vocal with their stance on homosexuality and Tonex's decisions to speak out about his sexuality. BIGG C left these words, "Come on people, please. Why are we so soft on sin, God aint., yes he’s a forgiving God, but he ain’t soft on the sinning. Homosexuality is sin, fornication is a sin, lying is a sin. It aint being hateful if we call someone out who is wrong, if we base it according to the word of God. DH shouldn’t have to apologize for nothin’. He’s not hatin” or being hypocritical."
Daservant posted, "Ohhh I get it now…SISSY…has been elevated to the big ‘N’ word. Never knew…thought it was just like any other word used…not of the caliber as N*GGER OR F*GGOT OR CR*CKER!, man SISSY is not that serious!!"
Amazingly, the controversial content was removed Wednesday from Haddon's Twitter page and shows no sign of the conversation ever taking place. No word if it was removed due to possible orders from his music label, Verity Records, or its parent company, Zomba.
Haddon, married to gospel singer Damita Haddon, topped the gospel charts in 2006 with Crossroads. In 2008, he released his most recent project Revealed, which featured the R&B crossover hit "Love Him Like I Do," featuring guest appearances from Mary Mary and American Idol winner Ruben Studdard.
In conclusion, maybe Haddon needs to learn a valuable lesson from Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC), tennis champion Serena Williams and hip-hop icon Kanye West about civility. There's a time and a place to say things. Artists needs to get back to what they do best...stop preaching and promoting their ideologies and get back to making good music. Do we buy their music because of how good they preach or how great their music is? Right now, we can't tell.
Read the other comments from Haddon's Twitter posts below.
Gospel Music: "There's Not a Sissy Bone in My Body" (Loldarian.com)
YPJ Calls for Order (PRAYZE Report)
Monday, September 14, 2009
Since Tonex opened up about his closet on the Lexi Show, Facebookers and Twitterers have opened up dialogue about the state of gospel music and the need to do something about the most recent buzz topics in the gospel industry today (i.e., the PJ Morton/Tye Tribbett secular vs. sacred debate on CNN, the Mary Mary & Ne-Yo collaboration, Whitney Houston's emergence as gospel star with "I Look to You").
Seems like YPJ wants a piece of the action. And he's calling all cars to the scene of the crime.
Don't know who he is? Well, we don't either. But he's making some noise with his viral Facebook video calling on major gospel artists (including Deitrick Haddon, Mary Mary, Fred Hammond, Tonex', Tye Tribbett, Kirk Franklin, Donald Lawrence, Kierra Sheard, and Donnie McClurkin) to rise up using the spirit of prevention with the hopes to create a healthy dialogue about these and soon-to-come situations.
A brief snippet on YPJ's profile: he's part rapper, part preacher and a Tye Tribbett admirer. His biggest moment in the gospel spotlight was his cameo appearance on Israel Houghton's A Deeper Level project where he raps on "Surely Surely."
It would have been nice if he didn't have to call out the Who's Who in gospel music in the video. Some are in trouble, some are not, some are superstar gospel artists and some are just trying to move away from a murky past. YPJ, on the other hand, does his hardest to bring all the junk into one video. It just seems that the guy, who so happens to be an artist himself, is in desperate need of attention. If he's any good at doing music, I think YPJ needs to focus on the greater good and perfect his gift. The desperate need to bring everybody into one room to try to unify (something that is probably impossible to do in these end times) is like trying to morph Republicans and Democrats into one single political party. YPJ, get in the studio and try to make some music. That's if you can.
In the video, YPJ summons gospel artists to come together and talk about these matters at his state of the art facility.
"I offer you my facility. I have a 2,000 seat sanctuary, 88,000-square foot plaza, which has the accommodations necessary for those of you who may be celebrities and stars, if you need different dressing rooms, whatever you got, whatever you need, I can handle it. I'm offering my facility for free."
By the way, at his request, YPJ is urging gospel audiences and fans to "repost the daily." Not just the message. He wants you to spread the word about the messenger and his video. How clever.
To view the video, you must be a member of Facebook.
Friday, September 11, 2009
Always considered a maverick and controversial, Anthony C. Williams, II, best known to the gospel world as Tonex' with a list of gospel hits under his belt including "God Has Not 4Got" and "Make Me Over," opened up to talk show host Lexi on the season premiere of the Lexi Show - which aired nationally on the Word Network. The interview dealt with the hard questions and reflected back on familiar territory including the jaded events surrounding The Naked Truth, child molestation and his four-year marriage. On the show, Tonex', who has always been embattled with rumors about his sexuality, addresses the subject by confirming that he is "attracted to the same sex."
Amidst the tough responses and disgruntled viewers that remain disappointed at Tonex's decision to open up about his life, he spoke about the hypocrisies of the black church and its unfair treatment towards the LGBT community. "The church has completely faggotized everybody who's gay, sends them to hell over the pulpit and the church literally screams "hooray" and are happy about that. And yet, we celebrate the pastor who has a clean record and a clean look, but yet he is still doing the same thing that the same gender loving people are doing."
He also raised a powerful piece of logic "People can say 'See, I knew it all along," Tonex muttered. "If you knew it all along, this is the same guy who was taking you into the presence of the Lord. This is the same guy that wrote those songs. I'm no different."
Previously, on many occasions when addressed about his sexuality, Tonex' denied the rumors. "I take ownership of that," Tonex' now admits.
Several online media journalists are already labeling Tonex' has being the only gospel artist to date to speak out about their homosexual tendencies. The information is inaccurate. In 2008, Ray Boltz, a popular Contemporary Christian/gospel singer and Dove Award winner, came out the closet. But Tonex's views and decision to speak out openly on the matters are entirely different from Donnie McClurkin or even Terrell Carter (a Tyler Perry co-star who recently was outed online by an ex-boyfriend with several personal pictures depicting an intimate relationship, but has yet to address the allegations in the media). Tonex' instead becomes transparent and finally delivers a honest and courageous thing; something most gospel recording artists are too afraid to do.
Cell phones and Twitter pages should be blowing up right now. Surely, Tonex' should be commended for blowing the whistle on what we knew all along about the gospel industry, but were too afraid to talk about. Certainly, the hypocrisy from closeted preachers, ministerial actors, homophobic-and-hateful ministers of the cloth still possess a mighty dominance in the house of God. And that shouldn't be so.
Tonex's (now spelled Ton3x) last album, released on Battery Records and distributed through parent company Zomba, received some attention for its subject matter and mature lyricism, but is considered by critics to be one of his safest pop-oriented albums to date.
Watch Part II of the interview below.
Parts I and III can be viewed at Lexi's YouTube channel page.
Lexi Television Channel (YouTube)
Friday, August 28, 2009
In light of an engaging conversation piece presented by PJ Morton's new book Why Can't I Sing About Love, CNN.com decided to speak with the Grammy-award winning song writer and producer about his notable decision to sing love ballads. Surprisingly, the battle brews as CNN's TJ Holmes asks gospel recording artist Tye Tribbett about the idea of singing both gospel and R&B. Tribbett's response felt as if it leapt from the pages of a John Hagee camp meeting. In his own words, you simply can't do both.
It's a moving debate and has drawn up enough criticism on both avenues. Morton, the son of popular teleevangelist Pastor Paul S. Morton and also composer of gospel songs for Men of Standard and DeWayne Woods, is enjoyable a career working the indie soul circuit and aims to release mainstream R&B with substance and a message. Tribbett, who doesn't deny the "inspirationalism" of Morton's lyrics, feels it's impossible for a man "to serve two masters." Bold words there. Still, it's pretty weird for Tribbett to utter such an tough opinion when his music feels like it was inspired by the same R&B and soul geniuses that influenced Morton.
Watch the CNN report below.
Morton also rebuttals the argument at YouTube - in bible study fashion.
I was originally scheduled to interview PJ Morton earlier this month for PRAYZEHYMNOnline.com but had to postpone it for a future date. I am currently working on a rescheduled opportunity. After the coverage on CNN, I kinda wished I didn't cancel it from the beginning. Stay tuned for more details and possibly an additional article on this subject.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
For a brief moment, record producer and gospel artist James Moss, who represents one-third of the hit-making production team PAJAM, experienced a career plunder in 2008 when news leaked about his marital infidelity. It became official when Lakisha Hughes, of Douglasville, GA, asked the courts for a paternity test resulting in J Moss being the child's father. To some observers, the hot press disappeared too quickly of the radar but many of Moss's supporters still felt the sting from the disappointing news. The new album, Just James, hopes to highlight some of those personal episodes and to offer up a spiritual voyage into the paths of reconciliation, forgiveness and repentance.
At the PRAYZEHYMN Message Board, members highlighted the uncomfortable sting of the public's disapproval of mega pop stars like Chris Brown and R. Kelly, but feel the gospel community, who are spiritually conditioned to forgive the sins of the past, will be able to transition themselves beyond Moss's shortcomings. "In a perfect world, we would say just let the man be 'cause we all have sinned and fallen short, expresses PRAYZEHYMN member Ashleigh D. "But the truth of the matter is we have a hard time accepting the message if we find fault with the messenger. If he wants people to buy his music and accept anything that he has to offer, he is gonna have to prove himself."
During a candid, transparent interview with GospelPundit.com, Moss explained that the leaking of the news was a vital part of the cleansing process. "For one, I didn’t want to leave that lifestyle because it felt good, said Moss. "And, you know, people say “affair” and they think it was some long-term thing. This wasn’t that. It was something that I got caught up in. But I wasn’t afflicted until it became public. So, I feel like it was GOOD that it came out like it did because had it not, I wouldn’t have been able to learn His statutes even better. I don’t think I would’ve stopped because I was enjoying what I had."
The new album, Just James, hit store shelves this Tuesday, August 25.
J Moss Interview (GospelPundit.com)
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
On a (depressing) local level, Birmingham, Ala. and the citizens of Jefferson County are awaiting the sound of the trumpet that may just end some of its most recent public woes. Later this month, Mayor Larry P. Langford will face a jury with multiple counts of bribery and conspiracy as the long-awaited federal trial begins. Last year, the FBI made their arrest and broadcast their attempts to take the Birmingham mayor to court regarding a number of charges that include bribery. Two of the co-defendants in the trial, as we all expected, plead guilty to falsifying records. This quote comes from the Birmingham News regarding their dealings.
"The government alleges Langford used his influence to steer county financing business to Blount, resulting in Blount getting $7.1 million in fees. In return, prosecutors say, Blount showered Langford with $236,000 in cash, clothes and jewelry."
Their plea agreements represent the writing on the wall for the mayor's gloomy forecast for the future.
Wade Kwon, blog journalist and virtual buddy to the PRAYZE Report, has designed a nifty timeline of daily celebrations featuring Birmingham's biggest crooks for the entire month of August. Of the honorable mentions, former Healthsouth founder Richard Scrushy (whom once had a street named after him, thanks to Langford) is a no-brainer and lobbyist Al LaPierre, convicted last month, is a close buddy to Langford. Rev. Gregory L. Clarke, pastor of the New Hope Baptist Church, also made the list (yes, even pastors) for his conviction of filing false tax returns owing a total of $35,600 in back taxes. Kwon is saving Langford for the 31st. No surprise there since Langford, if convicted, will be the first mayor of the city ever to be removed from his honorable position. Just when Detroit's Kwame Kilpatrick reign of terror was just a figment of our imagination.
Birmnigham's Biggest Crooks [Wade on Birmingham]
31 crooks in 31 days? [Birmingham Weekly]
Blount expected to change plea [Birmingham News. AL.com]
Mister McCoy Can't Take the Heat [PRAYZE Report]
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Reported in Charisma Magazine this week, the former mega church owned by the late Bishop Earl Paulk best known as the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit was sold for $17.6 million, according to CNL Speciality Real Estate in Orlando, Florida. The new tenants are Atlanta's Greater Traveler's Rest Baptist Church in Decatur, GA.
"We are happy to have brokered a successful outcome for a property of this size, especially in today's challenging economic climate," Matt Messier, broker and principal for CNL, said in a statement. The church campus houses a 6,000-seat main auditorium, a large fellowship hall, seven buildings, offices and a theater.
Paulk's legacy, reaching back to radical integration in the 1960s and "kingdom now" theology, drew over 10,000 members to the church during the 1990s. Gospel artists including John P. Kee, Richard Smallwood and James Bignon recorded successful gospel projects at Cathedral during its zenith. But prior to Paulk's passing, the church was in the controversial spotlight when a series of sexual misconduct allegations surfaced against him. Several women accused Paulk of leading them into sexual affairs while one victim alleged she was molested as a child.
D.E. Paulk, current pastor of the church and the son of the late predecessor, embraces universalism and "radically inclusive" teachings, which lead to the decline of most of its parishioners. Greater Traveler's Rest, a 6,000-member congregation, is pastored by E. Dewey Smith, Jr. and is also known in the Atlanta area for his dynamic music ministry and connections with the gospel community. The church has hosted live recording for the Chicago Mass Choir and Micah Stampley. Greater Traveler's Rest Church plans to host their first service in their new sanctuary on August 30.
For more details on this story, click here.
Greater Traveler's Rest Baptist Church (Official Website)
Greater Traveler's Rest Baptist Church Members Responds (YouTube)
Cathedral of the Holy Spirit (Official Website)
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Promoting their upcoming album release Resting On His Promise, JJ Hairston and Youthful Praise worked their "Awesome God" magic on the BET set of Bobby Jones Gospel for their new season in Washington DC. The album, Resting On His Promise, hits stores September 1, 2009.
The cool back-to-school look, a bit synonymous to Tye Tribbett's Stand Out uniforms, looks cool on the choir. By the way, ain't JJ looking more and more like Common.
More photos from the BET set, featuring snaps with Vashawn Mitchell and Bishop Eric McDaniels, are below.
Light Records (Official Website)
Pre-order the CD Resting On His Promise (Amazon.com)
Light Announces New CDs from Coko and Youthful Praise (PRAYZE Report)
Sunday, July 26, 2009
This year's festivities at the 42nd annual Gospel Music Workshop of America convention is loaded with wonder and lots of stargazing. Of course, since the week long gathering sports a laundry list of worship services, musicals, concerts, live recordings and new artist showcases, we decided to condense some of the big events down to a thread. Hopefully, if you're anywhere near the Cincinnati area during this week, you will find a way to get to one or two - if not all - of our personally selected events.
MONDAY, JULY 27
Intercessory Prayer starts at 8:30 a.m. with the Daily Bread Service starting at 10:00 a.m. An unsigned artist showcase takes place at 4:30 p.m. Midnight musical (let the Praise Continue) takes place at midnight.
TUESDAY, JULY 28
Bishop Paul S. Morton, Sr. will be preaching during the Daily Bread Service from 10:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m. After the service, according to the folks at Light Records, Morton will be signing copies of his new book and CD, Cry Your Last Tear.
A Gospel Announcers Guild (GAG) Showcase and Luncheon will take place afterwards at 4:30 p.m. where Bishop Morton will showcase his latest single and bonus track "Don't Do It Without Me."
WEDNESDAY, JULY 29
The 25th annual National Prayer Breakfast, sponsored by the GMWA Men of Promise, will take place at 7:30 a.m. The guest speaker will be the GMWA chairman Bishop Albert Jamison, with musical selections provided by Lamar Campbell and Chester D.T. Baldwin. The event will also honor a number of GMWA legends including founder Rev. James Cleveland, Rev. Theodore King, Dr. Isaac Whittmon, Bishop Richard "Mr. Clean" White, Rev. Quincy Fielding, Jr., Dr. Charles Fold, Dr. Steven Roberts, Rev. Daryl Coley and Rev. Timothy Wright. Individual tickets are $35.00.
The Tribute to the King celebration, in honor of Rev. James Cleveland, takes place at 4:00 p.m. Youth and young adult forum is scheduled at 11:00 p.m.
THURSDAY, JULY 30
A Who's Who in Gospel will make their way to the Duke Energy Convention Center for the Macy's sponsored-Gospel Festival at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are from $20-$40. Special musical guests include Shirley Caesar, Yolanda Adams, Byron Cage, Kurt Carr, Smokie Norful, Dorinda Clark-Cole, Bishop Paul S. Morton, Dorothy Norwood, Dottie Peoples, Youthful Praise feat. JJ Hairston, the Tommies Reunion Choir and others.
If you're into the Hat & Tea thing, check out the 5th annual Hatter's Tea at 3:00 p.m. The event will honor the musical contributions of Yolanda Adams and the legendary Clara Ward Singers. Individual tickets are $35. For more information, you can call the chairperson Juanita Suggs at 832.231.4590.
Men's and Women's night services takes place at midnight.
FRIDAY, JULY 31
Academic convocation and workshop recording begins at 9:00 a.m. and will conclude at 3:00 p.m.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
US Magazine purchased the footage to the pyrotechnic accident on the set of the controversial 1984 Pepsi commercial shoot and has since revealed it to the public in order to kill any doubts of the events' occurence. It is noted that Jackson - who suffered second-degree and third-degree burns to his scalp and face - became addicted to painkillers since the accident.
It is pretty sad and horrific to watch. Just letting you know, before viewing the footage, that you have been warned.
My good buddy Erik Dillard is doing big things! Some of you may remember him as an indie artist (releasing Great Things and The Basics) and for appearing on Bobby Jones Gospel years ago. Well, he's an excellent vocal technician with a strong background in vocal training, teaching and even music production. He's become a sensation on YouTube with his tutorials and vocal warm-up lessons - even internationally. Recently he posted one of the first episodes of his newly-invigorated Vocal Clinic, which features some neat warm-ups, vocal health specialist Crystal Sellers and a musical appearance from country songwriter/singer Cliff "Crash" Cody. Cool thing about it, it was taped before a live studio audience.
I enjoyed myself. Kinda wished I was there. The audience had fun and the viewers are as well.
Highlights (from me) include Cliff Cody's excellent song selection, that hilarious myth segment and the closing funky tongue twister performance at the end. Somebody is definitely going to sign up that band for a job well-done. And shout-out to the "Sherberts."
And for gospel viewers, the big question arises during the Q&A segment: "Is there a proper and great way to growl when singing?" Check out the videos to learn the answer.
According to Dillard, more episodes are soon to be posted, so be sure you subscribe to his YouTube page and keep checking out for more updates. Live tapings for the Erik Dillard Vocal Clinic will resume this fall.
See two segments of Episode 2 below.
Wednesday, July 08, 2009
The rumor mill ran abuzz this week when Terrell Carter, a star in Tyler Perry's stage plays and featured actor in the famed Madea movie blockbusters, was outed this past weekend by an alleged ex-boyfriend who posted photos on the Internet featuring Carter and him together. Alex Cortez, the boyfriend, began posting pictures on networking web sites and on his profile pages at Twitter and MySpace while also writing about the scorn of the aforementioned relationship going wrong. In his words, Cortez wrote "Hell yeah i’m angry!…there are fucked up ppl out there no matter how nice they seem to be & it’s their fault, ppl they harm are bitter!"
Since the outing, black gossip blogs, gay news sources and other media outlets including MediaTakeOut, Rod 2.0, Sandra Rose, Advocate and PerezHilton have been lit up with hundreds of comments from Carter's supporters and some of Perry's hardcore fans. Sandra Rose, who reported last year that Carter was suspect, didn't help much when she wrote that "99 percent of the actors in Tyler's movies are gay."
The actor is also an indie soul artist who has released three albums, according to CDBaby. Along with his background in Tyler Perry gospel plays like Meet the Browns and Madea's Class Reunion, Carter was a background singer for Fred Hammond and Yolanda Adams.
No correspondence or a press statement from Carter's camp has surfaced since the rumored allegations hit the fan. Maybe he's hoping all of this will die down until the next Madea movie announces casting calls.
J MATT'S COMMENTS:
Since I have been heavily criticized for running a rumor mill at my gospel e-zine and blog (Keish, hope you're reading this), I wanted it to go on record that this blog entry was only submitted because no other gospel web site won't touch it. I was also questioned by the media about the immediate reaction from the faith community. I personally felt it was newsworthy because other news outlets have covered it and it also raises a lot of questions.
Will Carter press charges against Cortez for defamation of character?
When a gospel-related star is in trouble, why do the gospel web sites choke up?
And when issues of homosexuality arise, why is it the church gets louder and the gospel community goes silent?
These and other issues are bound to make you wonder if we are really being effective in our outreach of Christian evangelism. I hate that Carter is now the victim of a bitter, heartbroken drama-king, but the popular, yet paranoia-like proverb remains a careful reminder to our decision-making. It is also a title to one of Perry's stage plays in which Carter was also cast: "What's done in the dark...shall come to light."
Tuesday, July 07, 2009
It was indeed a spectacular event designed for a king. Over 11,000 fans converged on Los Angeles at the Staples Center on Tuesday to bid farewell to the King of Pop - Michael Jackson and to pay tribute to his musical legacy. Amongst those who attended and participated in the super memorial service was Los Angeles Laker pros Kobe Bryant and Ervin "Magic" Johnson, Rev. Al Sharpton, Brooke Shields, Rev. Bernice King, Rev. Martin Luther King, III, Smokey Robinson, Queen Latifah and Motown founder Berry Gordy.
Of the services' most memorable performances, Stevie Wonder wowed the crowd with a fitting two-song medley of "Never Dreamed You'd Leave in Summer" and "They Won't Go When I Go." But Wonder's words offered up a wave of inspiration and encouragement when he spoke: "I do know that God is good and I do know that as much as we may feel – and we do – that we need Michael here with us, God must have needed him far more.”
Also, pop sensation John Mayer provided an acoustic backdrop on an instrumental performance of "Human Nature," Jermaine Jackson glowed on the happy-hearted Charlie Chaplin classic "Smile" and Mariah Carey opened the star-studded show with the Jackson 5 hit "I'll Be There." But right after Queen Latifah recited the Maya Angelou poetic tribute "We Had Him," the event took on a radiant quality of spirituality that allowed Michael's star to only twinkle while God was getting all the glory.
Lionel Richie's brilliant display on "Jesus Is Love," a song he recorded with the Commodores in 1980, moved the audience to tears as Richie poignantly expressed his gratitude to God's amazing grace. The song was recently covered as a duet by gospel singer Smokie Norful and Heather Headley.
American Idol finalist and Oscar-winning Jennifer Hudson, who lost her mother, brother and nephew in a tragic domestic shooting last year, electrified the audience with her soulful gospel rendition of "Will You Be There."
R&B crooner Usher effortlessly walked through Jackson's heartfelt ballad "Gone Too Soon." Towards the end of the song after making his way to Jackson's golden casket, Usher was comforted by the Jackson family after being moved to tears.
Smokey Robinson reminded us of God's blessings and reminded listeners that Jackson was a blessing specially designed by God. Towards the end of his remarks, he repeated that "he's not really gone. He's going to live forever and ever and ever."
Shelia Jackson-Lee eclipsed the commentary of the King family with her amazing speech and her introduction of Resolution 600 officially recognizing Jackson as a musical icon, legend and humanitarian. She also reiterated the importance of faith and acknowledged while Jackson possessed a great sea of fans across all aisles of faiths and walks of life that the story of the Good Samaritan from the Holy Bible best described the heart of the late musical giant.
The closing performances showcased Jackson's strong good will ballads like "Heal the World" and "We Are the World;" which culminated with Jackson's farewell tour singers, his family and other celebrities and pop stars taking the stage as one big chorus.
But the opening moments, highlighted with the Andrae' Crouch Singers echoing "Soon and Very Soon" and the pallbearers entering the stadium with Jackson's gorgeous coffin, clearly set the angelic tone for a moving, somber tribute to the King of Pop.
Rumors in the faith community surfaced last week after gospel duo Mary Mary announced on their Twitter page that Michael Jackson accepted Jesus Christ into his life after a recent meeting with gospel legends Andrae' & Sandra Crouch. Afterwards, the Crouchs quickly responded to Charisma Magazine that the entire set of accusations were "incorrect and absolutely not true." During a recent visit with Jackson weeks before his passing, Andrae' Crouch planned to reunite with the pop icon to work on two new songs for a pending album release.
2009 marked the 50th anniversary of Berry Gordy's musical empire of Motown Records. Unfortunately, it also mourned the lost of one of pop music's greatest contributors.
Below is a clip of Lionel Richie's performance at the memorial service of his gospel ballad "Jesus Is Love."
Michael Jackson Memorial Unites Smokey Robinson, Mariah Carey, Stevie Wonder and More [Rolling Stone]