Gospel music is underappreciated, misunderstood and neglected by mainstream media.
This is painfully true from the highly critical Op Ed written in The Washington Post, to the off camera Billboard Awards Gospel/Christian category presentation recently. Lecrae deserved his moment. He debuted on Billboard Top 200 Albums Chart over Maroon 5, the biggest pop group in the country.
Yet, BET missed the moment to crow history.
BET is missing the mark to stand on the changing divide and sound the trumpet for the changing face of gospel. Let’s just part aside the fact that no traditional gospel is discussed or has been discussed in months. Let’s just focus on the present time. Their narrow view of gospel and its affect on music fans is reflected in the stunning mix of contemporary nominees not mentioned. J. Moss, Jessica Reedy, Tasha Page Lockhart, Donald Lawrence, 3 Winans Brothers and gospel music newest upstarts The Walls Group were not nominated. They all made 2014 one of the greatest years in gospel music creatively. The music was challenging and imaginative.
Yes, I understand the argument that it’s a matter of what sells. When you take a deeper look it’s not a numbers game. Gospel albums have sold as many if not more units. Lecrae and Erica Campbell have bested their rivals in sales.
There should be at least four categories added to their list of. Even if, they do not show them on screen, a la Americana Music Awards, there should be the following categories added: Best Female Gospel Artist, Best Male Gospel Artist, Best Gospel Group Artist and Best Rap/Hip-Hop Gospel Artist.
This year they presented an anemic nomination list.
BEST GOSPEL ARTIST Nominees are:
While, these are all great nominations, there should be more glory shared for this genre.
BET is missing the moment to pay tribute to the complete the African American music tradition by truncating gospel to one category. All other genres borrow from this deeply spiritual music. Think about it. The call and response of rap comes from praise and worship. Booming soul shaking vocals comes from the lead vocalist singing and pleading their case to the heavens. Questioning soulful riffs come from singing parables.
How can you deny this thread that weaves through popular music. How can you deny a part of our culture that has paved and led the way to social change and personal victory? BET created ‘Celebration of Gospel’ to celebrate gospel music, but as of late, there have been many more secular artists on the show than gospel artists. They should feel some allegiance to safeguard part of our culture that is massively underserved.
The “BET Awards” celebrates its 15th anniversary live from the Nokia Theatre, Sunday, June 28, 2015.
By far the most visually fun video of 2014 was 3 Winans Brother’s ‘Move In Me’. Watch this video and explain how BET could not put this in their nominations category.
Lecrae took the award home for gospel artist of the year. They did a small tribute to Andrae Crouch with Donnie McClurkin singing the lyrics surrounded by a small choir.
Take a look at past winners of BET Gospel category below.
Make sure to read: