Touring is back. I’d heard that
touring was dead but, in the last year, several tours by Gospel and
Christian artists have made that statement untrue. Tye Tribbett
teamed up with the House of Blues and did a country wide tour at a
good number of the chain’s facilities. While that tour was happening
Fred Hammond came back with the Festival of Praise Tour that
featured artists such as Donnie McClurkin, Israel Houghton, Hezekiah
Walker and Kim Burrell (see sidebar). Other artists such as For King
and Country, Chris Tomlin, Lacrae, Andy Mineo and even James Fortune
and FIYA began touring also.
So I guess you can say the tour business is on and popping in the
church arena. Another tour was that of Israel and New Breed when
they took over Asia. Not only did they tour, but they recorded a
whole new live album entitled Covered: Alive in Asia, which presents
concert footage from several cities. Who knew the church had such an
impact out there! God has shown Israel, and all of these artists,
favor with these tours.
Michelle Williams surprised
everyone when she stormed the gospel charts with a reunion with her
former bandmates Kelly Rowland and Beyoncé Knowles for the song “Say
Yes.” This cut was in heavy rotation for weeks on gospel radio
networks worldwide and it landed Williams much praise and
acknowledgements throughout the last year.
One Sunday, Bishop Jamal Harrison Bryant
was preaching when all of a sudden a phrase from Chris Brown’s hit
song “Loyal” was dropped. Bryant told his congregation to look at
their neighbor and say, “These Hoes Ain’t Loyal.” The line received
roaring applause and cheers, but not from everyone. Social media
went in an uproar after the statement went viral, but what black
pastor has not used that word or that type of phrase at some point
in their sermons? Bishop Bryant has since expressed remorse and
regret after women began to tweet and bash him for that sermon.
Pixar Animation Studios, famous for
some of the most popular computer-animated Disney films, is now
wowing Christian families with their latest film, “Inside Out.” The
film depicts the lives of our emotions though the brain of a child.
While the movie has been highly praised by many parents, some
pastors have yet to give this film a solid yay or nay. Many people
are calling this movie a great *Christian* film because it teaches
us that we must learn to control our emotions and not allow those
emotions to control us.
In The Eye of The Storm:
The massive Hillsong live.
Trending in the Gospel and Christian music worlds are topics
LGBT community and their involvement with the Gospel music
industry. Of course, a good number of our favorite Gospel and
Christian hits were written and orchestrated by our brothers and
sisters in the LGBT community—whether we admit we’re aware of their
orientation or not. The recent
Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage now has many
churches debating whether or not we keep allowing them to serve and
write in churches. Many people are against this, but there are
people who are actually open to moving towards a more open and
affirming platform, or an at least more sensible one: better we have
people in the church and not in the world right?
Hillsong NYC’s Campus Pastor is under fire for allowing a gay man to
be his choir director, but now it goes further. The choir director
and his partner, who also sings in the choir, are engaged to be
married and want to be wed in the church in which they serve.
Hillsong has been one of the pioneer churches to allow openly gay
men and women to serve in their church without judgment or fear.
People are in an uproar and are saying that the pastor needs to be
sat down, but Co-Lead Pastor Joel Houston, who is in Australia, has
stated that he wants and hopes more and more gay men and women come
to their churches.
In 2013, a video was placed on many forms of LGBT and Christian
media of recording artist Kevin Terry enjoying gay sex. The gospel
and church communities lashed out and pretty much threw Kevin and
his choir away. They were not getting engagements anymore and most
Christian retailers pulled their music and videos off of the
shelves. This went on for about a year, but what I find interesting
is that not a ton of Christians knew who he and his choir was until
this scandal came out.
In 2014, gospel superstar Deitrick Haddon visited Kevin and his
choir (as we saw on The Preachers of L.A.) and, instead of
bashing and preaching to Terry, Haddon ministered and encouraged
Terry and his choir in their hour of need. Terry has since released
two new singles that Christian radio refuses to play, but both songs
are being sung by many choirs and praise teams throughout the United
States. This situation kind of reminds me of Tonéx when he came out
and the gospel community threw him away. Some of gospel music’s best
songs were written by this man and yet we don’t play his songs
anymore on mainstream Gospel and Christian stations.