Oh, to be a (successful) gospel artist in 2012 indeed perplexes performers on every side. For, on one side, there is the ministry – the very vein of intent to be a vessel for Christ through one’s artistry. On the other hand, there is the business.
Regardless of intent, labels want to see records sold – through marketing, publicity, and performance. The ongoing battle between “ka-ching” and “blessing”…
Already bound by public opinion, today’s top gospel artists have had to fight the good fight to balance integrity and believability of their product while still maintaining a marketed edge. This has been evidenced by the inclusion of contemporary beats, collaboration with secular artists, bigger budgeted music videos, and the like (see Kirk Franklin, Cece Winans, etc).
And, while all of the aforementioned has been met with criticisms from the sector’s traditionalists, it has overall proved itself to be steps in the (arguable) “right” direction. Now insert the “reality show”.
A concept all but unfamiliar with secular artists who have used the platform as a launching pad for their product, we saw WeTV test the waters with Mary Mary‘s reality show earlier this year…which indeed proved itself to be a success. As expected, within a few months’ time, other popular gospel acts like Marvin Sapp, Kim Burrell, and now Karen & Kiki Sheard are tapping into the well of reality (with more sure to follow).
Is it too much?
With some viewers already voicing their disappointment in some of the behavior displayed afront Mary Mary’s show (see mentions of strippers, etc), some argue the venture into reality is too far “worldly” for gospel acts to continue a clear distinction between themselves and their secular counterparts. Causing them to venture into territory of being “saintly sell-outs”.
So you tell us:
Problem Or Progressive Praise: Are gospel stars & reality shows a mismatch made in heaven?