Article by Dr. G
Dr. G is a highly accomplished professional with a very diverse background and over 19 years of experience in the area of business management & development, corporate training, consulting, marketing, music media, education & counseling, as well as community outreach & service. He is a best-selling author and national recording artist who has toured all over the world.
The first origin of Black Gospel music has been traced back to the early 20th Century. It really took off in the ‘30s. The music was based on the rich culture and history of the times. Thomas Dorsey, a preacher’s son and blues pianist, is known for being “The Father of Black Gospel Music.” He wrote one of the most recognized gospel songs, “Peace in the Valley,” among many others. Beloved vocalist Mahalia Jackson was known as “The Queen of Gospel,” and also left a mark of her own on Black Gospel music.
Dorsey and the rest of the early pioneers of Black Gospel had a major influence on musicians such as Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles and James Brown. Elvis Presley also spoke of his love for the genre as well. Without a doubt, you can hear the inspiration in the music. It continues to have a strong influence on the music of today. You can also hear rock, jazz, blues, soul, hip-hop and R&B in the music. Not only has Black Gospel influenced so many artists, but it’s also influenced by all of the different genres.
The artists of Black Gospel are some of the most emotional. They perform the songs with such feeling and strong beliefs. You can hear the strong emotion as it comes out in the music. Some of the biggest artists of today’s Black Gospel include CeCe Winans, Kirk Franklin and Yolanda Adams. Winans is one of the most popular and she is a very strong force in the genre. On her website, she says, “When you’re in the throne room, your focus is just God. Nothing’s more powerful than that. When you do other music-positive music, gospel, inspirational, whatever you want to name it-you’re teaching lessons to other people, which is still very important. But nothing is more powerful than when you’re face to face with God.”
As far as combining gospel, pop, hip-hop and R&B, Franklin is one of the best. He has taken this form of music, made it his own and has fans in each of these genres. He also has a life story to tell that a lot of the youth can relate to, and he stands as a testament. It’s important for the young people of today to have positive inspiration, and the Black Gospel artists of today do just that. As for Adams, she has a positive determination that comes through in her songs and she is a strong testament to her faith. When she signed with Elektra, which is not a Christian label, she was quoted as saying, “…gospel music had stepped up and gathered a myriad of influences-jazz, hip-hop, R&B. I need to be in a place where my message can be heard by everyone. I understand my purpose. I understand what I was put here for. I take that on every day of my life.”
All of these artists and many more have made a place for the genre in the world of music. Black Gospel has so much influence on music that it is and always will be relevant. The genre has a large following and has a large presence in the music world. It’s true that good music never goes away. There will always be an audience for Black Gospel music and there will always be musicians who will continue to be influenced by it. As long as there are artists performing it, Black Gospel will continue to be relevant.
Sources: www.cecewinans.com, www.kirkfranklin.com, www.yolandawilliamslive.com