Explores the rich history of Black spirituality through sermon and song.
GOSPEL encores Sunday, February 18 at 1 p.m. on WXXI-TV.
From executive producer, host, and writer Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., GOSPEL reunites with directors Stacey L. Holman and Shayla Harris after recently teaming up on Making Black America: Through the Grapevine.
Gates, the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor at Harvard University and director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, speaks with dozens of clergymen, singers and scholars about their connection to the music that has transcended its origins and now spreads “the good word” all around the world. The series features interviews with notable names including Dionne Warwick, U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock, Rev. Otis Moss III, professor Michael Eric Dyson, and awe-inspiring musical performances of Gospel favorites “Can’t Nobody Do Me Like Jesus,” “Total Praise,” and others from talents including The Belle Singers, Cory Henry, Celisse, and more. Throughout its four hours, GOSPEL gives a look at the history of Black religious music and preaching, showcasing the symbiotic relationship of words and song present in any Black church. The series examines the origin of Black gospel music, which blended the sacred spirituals with the blues tradition and soared to new heights during the Great Migration. This music served as an outlet for the anger and frustration of living as a Black person in America, which remains true today. The series also explores the evolution of preaching styles over time, and the impact of class, gender, cultural innovations, and consumer technologies shaped the development of gospel since its conception.
Photo: Tyrell Bell and the Belle Singers, featuring Ian Johnson, perform “Can’t Nobody Do Me Like Jesus”, for GOSPEL. • Credit: McGee Media