I’m not even gonna preface this by telling you what this is about because after you read it you’ll know. As I so eloquently named MY blog “The Soap Box” (because all content here are MY views and MY opinions and may NOT necessarily be truth–gotta preface THAT because some folks don’t think lol)…I’m going to get on my soap box…right now! 🙂
I read a blog (and to shesasanga, if you’re reading this thanks for that–I love this controversial stuff!!), and it just brought back all the discussions (heated and civil) concerning it. I felt the urge to jump “back in the game.” I don’t like these personal attacks on Mary Mary. As a matter of fact, I don’t like personal attacks on anyone! Unless you have a plan of action to perpetuate change, then sitting around injecting these toxic, slanderous comments about people DO NOT help and WILL NOT change anything!! Ok…let me calm down…can’t START this thing heated 😛
Let’s start with a couple of truths: TRUTH…the church is influenced by the culture as far as style & dress. But what is the church made up of? People! What do people do? We like to look good! If we see something that we think is hot, then we’ll duplicate. No harm in that. Where the harm comes in is when we blindly accept what’s before us without first thinking about if it’s even appropriate and how it will be perceived.
TRUTH…some gospel artists do push the envelope as far as what they wear–Mary Mary included lately. And I must say, the cover of Damita Haddon’s CD and her photos inside did make me kinda raise an eyebrow, but does that make them less anointed? Are we shallow enough to start judging holiness by what people have on?? Does the anointing dwell in clothing now??? COME ON people!
TRUTH…gospel music today is HOT! Traditionally “hot” does not describe gospel music because traditional gospel music is just that…TRADITIONAL!! You know it…organs…1-3-5 harmony…choirs…live band…screaming LOL. But seriously though, everyone know traditional gospel when you hear it. But it’s 2009 now and–catch this now–there’s this NEW thing called CONTEMPORARY gospel that just kind of appeared out of nowhere!! HA! Why do folks always act brand new??? I’m a little young, so I don’t know about much before 1982 (lol), but contemporary gospel has been around AT LEAST since the 80’s. We had The Clark Sisters, BeBe & CeCe Winans, Commissioned, The Winans…should I go on? Yes, they all were contemporary in their day, and for the most part their music was similar to the mainstream music of that day. So, what mainstream music consist of today? BASS…lots and lots and lots of bass…808…synths…digital instruments…rap…whatever else you can think of. Soooo………what do you think contemporary gospel music is going to sound like??
TRUTH…I just said that gospel music today sounds like “secular” music (I know…hold on…I’ll cover that in the foolishness section!), and I also explained why. Maybe the church shouldn’t look to the world for direction as far as music is concerned. Maybe the church should start being a trendsetter in the music industry. Maybe we should have our own stuff. Maybe some dude who is good at making hot beats should blow up and be recognized. Maybe there’s a lot the church could be doing to influence music, but guess what! We’re not big enough! As vast as the gospel music genre is (and I mean VAST), our platform is not big enough to perpetuate change. Why? We’re in a box! Should it be that way? No, but that’s the way it is. Did we do this ourselves? Maybe, but it doesn’t change the fact that we are. As soon as you label yourself as “gospel” you’re done. I’m not saying that in a bad way because if I ever pursued a singing career I’d be gospel to, but check this out. Once you declare yourself as being a gospel artist, you cut a large percentage of the musical audience out. That’s ok because all genres do that because people like what they like, and what you sing may not be for them. Continuing on…along with cutting a lot of the audience out, you get this unspoken (well, today it’s spoken!) set of rules and expectations placed on you and if you don’t follow them then you’re considered radical, edgy, or even “unannointed.” So yeah, our favorite artists like the Mary Marys, Kirk Franklins, Deitrick Haddons of the world have finally put gospel music in a place where EVERYONE can see it. We finally have a platform, but it’s up to the artist to step up to that platform and do what needs to be done with it. Period! It’s THEIR job…THEIR calling…THEIR responsibility. Do we the supporters have anything to do with it? Sure we do! But we need to stop criticizing them for what they do, or don’t do. You don’t know how hard they’ve worked to get to where they are!!
FOOLISHNESS…I’ve pretty much covered the foolishness with the truths! lol, but for real, there’s more where that came from. What is secular music? Like, the actual music part…the instrumentation and such. If I play a track can you identify it as being secular? I know you could identify it with the BGVs and lead added to it, but what about the track itself? What if I played a track that you had never heard? I don’t think you could. Why? Because there IS no secular music! Music is music! It becomes secular when the artist taints it with the lyrics, and even then the music itself isn’t secular. We just identify it as being so because of the artist and lyrics that go with it. So…what’s wrong with overlaying hot, God-honoring lyrics over a tight, “secular” beat? What makes a beat secular? The person that creates it? So, if i make a tight beat is it gospel? Think about this people!!
FOOLISHNESS…Everyone knows, well, let me not start that sentence like that. IF you claim to be a music enthusiast, then you should be able to recognize that different songs serve different purposes. Some songs just make you want to dance. Some songs make you want to cry. Some songs are perfect for your private pity party because they are filled with so much drama. Some songs make you feel better about life. Some songs are just stupid. Although gospel is stuck in this box, it’s not exempt from this. When I feel like worshiping I reach for certain artists. When I feel like rocking out I have my picks. When I feel like dancing…well, I don’t really dance lol, but when I feel like crankin the volume and bobbing my head I grab certain artists. Yes, they may have some “worship” songs (another blog) on their album, but….I don’t know….I just don’t feel them like that, you know? I like them because the tracks are hot. And yes, I suppose they are only good to me for entertainment purposes. Whether that’s good or not, I don’t know. “Why don’t you just listen to secular music then? It does the same thing?” I figure if I’m going to blast music, then it might as well say something! Next! Don’t come at me with that LOL. OH! Quick story. One day a couple years ago I was at a light, and my music was up of course, but I had it up extra loud because I was straight jamming. It was Praise Up by Deitrick Haddon. That song is a little old now, but I still love it. Anyway, the person in the car next to me (just happened to be an older caucasian woman) was flagging me down, so I turned the music down to see what she wanted. She wanted to know what I was listening to because she really like it and it made her want to dance! SO…what if I weren’t listening to gospel right then? What if I was bumpin some Lil’ Wayne at that time? I probably would have offended her instead of lifting her up. Gospel is ALWAYS appropriate!!! I got off on a tangent on this one, but original point was if you don’t like the way certain songs make you feel, then don’t listen to them!! It’s not rocket science. Just because you see a gospel album doesn’t mean you have to like it, buy it, support it, or listen to it! If you don’t like mainstream sounding music, then don’t listen to Mary Mary, Deitrick ‘nem! Why does this have to turn into a huge controversy? Every gospel artist is not gonna sound like mama ‘nems choir! Every gospel artist is not out to entertain Christians! And the fact that you KNOW some artists sound mainstream means that you listen to mainstream, so you must like it! LOL, I don’t like the term “crossover.” Crossing over into what? How are we expected to reach the lost with traditional gospel music? If that were so then the world would be a very different place, but it’s not. So what do we do? We go over to their camp, take them something that they like, and hope that it makes a positive difference. That’s missions!
I feel like I’m rambling now and have thought related diarrhea LOL. They’re not stopping, so I’ll have to do a part two some other time. In the meantime, don’t hate the messenger, but consider the content!