Music Makers Blog | What Gospel Means to Me by Gerard Henderson

      If you recently watched the 2017 Grammy Awards or even watched video clips, you can understand why Chance the Rapper’s performance was widely talked about, personally it was my favorite performance of the night. He performed “How Great” and “All We Got” with gospel Legends Kirk Franklin and Tamela Mann. Accompanied by a choir it gave the full southern black church experience. One of the main reasons why I love Chance the Rapper is the gospel inspiration that you hear in his music. Gospel music influenced jazz/blues and jazz/blues has influenced countless genres of music.

      This is going to be about the aesthetic of Gospel Music rather than the religious aspect of it. I love Gospel Music. I love the choir, I love the emotion, and I love the raw and soulful sound. The pain and joy that you hear with every note is breathtaking. I love old school gospel music like Mahalia Jackson. I love new school gospel, the kind that makes you feel good while you’re blasting it in the car, such as Kirk Franklin. I love it all. I remember my first encounter of Gospel Music was in the move “Diary of a Mad Black Woman”, “Father, Can You Hear Me”, still one of my favorite gospel songs to this day. I love how gospel music makes you feel every emotion possible. You can go from feeling hopeless to hopeful all in a 4-5-minute song. Some of the best voices and musicians that I’ve ever heard have came from gospel music backgroundssuch Whitney Houston for instance. She is considered The Voice, she started off singing in the church. Another reason why I love gospel music so much is through all adversity, hardships, and sufferings that black people have endured in this country, gospel music has been a release. Gospel music has its deep origins in slavery. It started off as negro spirituals that later turned into gospel music. I don’t believe people realize how much of an impact gospel music has on the black community, from the slavery to civil rights movement to today. Gospel music gave encouragement and reassurance to blacks all around the country during rough, unimaginable times. At my grandmother’s church in a rural Georgia town, they sing “We Shall Overcome”, a significant anthem in the civil rights movement, every Sunday morning. I asked my grandmother why do they sing every Sunday morning and she said “It’s how we communicate to one another, saying ‘You are my brother (or sister) keep pushing forward, it is almost over, I am right there with you.’” Gospel music has such a deeper meaning than most people realize, so yes, I love gospel music, I love gospel music, I love gospel music. I love the feeling you get, I love the soulful sound, I love the musicians and vocalists it produces. And I also love how it makes me feel connected to my ancestors who came before me so that I could have a better life. I love how it has influenced American music. Whether you believe in God or not, I think everyone can find an appreciation for what Gospel Music has done.

Dante Jones