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The R&B of Gospel

The Rhythm & Blues of Gospel The age-old conversation about R&B artists singing Gospel and Gospel artists producing “cross-over” music, still is a “conversation” as it would appear. From Ray Charles to Kirk Franklin, the issue still arises. Recently, in a bible study class, I can remember someone asking the question, “Can an R&B artist be saved?”

Quickly, I thought about Jennifer Hudson who serves at her church on a regular basis, and she’s an amazing R&B artist… just because she sings R&B she can’t be saved? Mostly recently, Israel Houghton recorded a song with Monica… just because she sings R&B should she have not been included? C’mon people, let’s get real. Even Coko of SWV stated in an article, “I've always been active in my church despite my profession in R&B music. Church was more than a breeding ground for me to sing, it's where I nurture my soul…It's a lifestyle for me.”

This conversation is close to my heart being that I have a son who performs professionally as a hip hop jazz dancer in the R&B circle. When he signed his first contract with Aretha Franklin I was approached in disagreement and my response was, “He’s been raised in church and I have to have confidence that the Word he has been taught will keep him.” Many artists have said the church was too judgmental of their gift, which caused them to enter into R&B.

Personally, I developed a view that was confirmed in that bible study class: Performing is a J-O-B. Many would argue it is serving God and man, but just as any other person working in a secular profession, how they handle the Gospel in R&B can only be judged by the Almighty.


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1. Fellowship Chapel U.C.C.
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