Progressive Or Problem: Do Gospel Stars & Reality Shows Mix?

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.  That very requirement catalyzes 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 have been met with criticisms from the sector’s traditionalists, it has overall proven 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 – a feat 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.  This, of course, 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?

Written by:  Quinnon Rashad Taylor

Your thoughts?

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  1. J. V. November 11, 2012


    And what really kills me is Sunday Best!

    How are you going to JUDGE someone who just wants to work for the Lord?


    • mobwife: full of “p*** & vinegar”…..LOL November 12, 2012


    • IDK November 12, 2012

      lol! I never looked @ it that way! lol Right tho!

  2. king z November 11, 2012

    i say PROGRESSIVE!

    i enjoy gospel and i think its unfair that gospel singers (who are ARTISTS) are not allowed to experiment and PROGRESS due to what the old-heads say.

    Yes, there is a level of crossing the line, but hey – it’s art. that’s the beauty of being an ARTIST!

    as long as they dont run out and cuss, or talkin about s**, i dont see anything wrong with seeing the human side of gospel performers

    • Matthew Charlery-Smith November 12, 2012

      Godly artistry promotes God, not just whatever is in people’s heads. Please remember it is ministry before it is artistry.

      • X,Y, AND ZIDIOT November 12, 2012

        Indeed it is a ministry…but the saints seated comfortably in front of their televisions watching it, judging it are the ones feeding into it all…and it makes ratings, moves units and sells.

        I believe that if that’s their lane…they should stay in it…but showing that Christians have lives and get into arguments is ok.

        Now, the stripper pole…good core work out or not, would give anyone MM follower PAUSE and a cause for concern.

        People like to pretend that Christians don’t talk about this kinda stuff…like women don’t sit around with their, “Girl, you a mess” commentary…It happens…

  3. CURLY SUE November 11, 2012

    Mary Mary has always been a risqué gospel group. My jaw dropped when one of them wanted to take up pole dancing classes! :-O

    BUT I see nothing wrong with gospel artists having reality shows.

    • Onigga Still Floppin’ Doe November 11, 2012

      Well alot of women Christian and other wise take up Pole dancing because it is an amazing CORE work out. Working the arms by lifting your own body weight… strengthen the leg muscles by flipping upside down. Why do you think most strippers are in such good shape. ITS A WORKOUT!

      • CURLY SUE November 11, 2012

        Ok, and that’s why Tina refused to do it…because she knows of it’s origin, and she knows what she’s supposed to represent. I ain’t no extra holy church goer, but I’m just saying boo……

      • Matthew Charlery-Smith November 12, 2012

        I didn’t have a problem with the pole dancing as exercise is exercise and as you said it strengthens core muscles. It was used historically, I believe, as a fitness technique long before a sexual element became attached. I think the Chinese used to use it. It’s a form of gymnastics. If the teacher is doing it from a fitness point of view and not an erotic, strip-club type then it’s ok.

  4. Tisha November 11, 2012

    In my opinion reality tv doesn’t mix with ANY star.

    I understand why: you want attention, it can give the public a more personal look at you, it can help you earn money, etc. at the same time…a reality show is ALSO a business venture and no one wants a reality show that fails. If you get one…they expect SOMETHING to be shown that will get viewers. Hence all the ghetto, awful, ignorant, behavior you see on reality shows today.

    I think for people representing God’s Ministry either hold your reality show to a higher standard or don’t have one, but don’t betray your own mission.

    • Matthew Charlery-Smith November 12, 2012

      Exactly! Why don’t they film themselves going to minister in impoverished nations and visiting incarcerated people? THAT would be the type of reality show the World needs to see; Christians in action, not Christians in strife, their show!

      • X,Y, AND ZIDIOT November 12, 2012

        True…it’s what the world NEEDS to see…but the sad fact is that ain’t nobody trying to see that on tv. That doesn’t boost ratings… but I agree with you.

  5. king z November 11, 2012

    same thing when it comes to gospel artists using rap or rock beats. it’s the MESSAGE that matters, the music doesn’t. and if rap or rock appeals to younger audiences and still allows them to tap into their spiritual side(s) and connection with God, then sobeit.

    I can get with traditional gospel all day long, but there is nothing wrong with upbeat praise

    • Matthew Charlery-Smith November 12, 2012

      I don’t think anyone said there’s anything wrong with upbeat praise. But as you said it’s about the MESSAGE and that message is being ruined by the shows content. Ask yourself, have you grown spiritually by watching their show?

  6. Monstarebel (RiRis S** S****) November 11, 2012

    Rihannas Diamonds video already has over 10 millions views on YouTube/Vevo your favorite could NEVER!!!!!!!!!!! lol

    • Onigga Still Floppin’ Doe November 11, 2012

      We are DEFINITELY talking about Gospel Music right now… Get yo life and stop stanning on posts that have nothing to do with Your leader Curry Goat

      • Monstarebel (RiRis S** S****) November 11, 2012

        ok that’s nice that they make gospel music but their irrelevant, Like really who are they? mk

    • Rihanna’s stretched p**** (the navy drinking rihanna’s p**** juice ) November 11, 2012

      man get the f*** outta here with that b******* f**

      • Monstarebel (RiRis S** S****) November 11, 2012

        Lmao u mad?

    • GivingAwayFreeChairs_/_/_/ November 11, 2012

      @Monstarebel, whatever that f** name is, get a life bro….You can’t be serious right now!

      • IDK November 12, 2012

        LOL! He’s going to Hell

  7. Spe3cial November 11, 2012

    Romans 3:20 records that by the law shall no man be justied..therefore, when u confine ur self to the laws that have been placed before up in hopes of pleasing God, u r wasting ur time because u will only please him she u seek his righteousness in spirit n in truth. So there is nothing wrong with gospel singers being reality starts because they r gospel singers..what is important is that they worship God in spirit n in truth..self righteousness will get u nowhere….

    • Spe3cial November 11, 2012

      If u seek him*

      • Matthew Charlery-Smith November 12, 2012

        Your statement is rather shallow. Do you think it’s appropriate for strippers to appear in provocative form on a Christian show? Are you growing from watching it? Let’s put this show on TBN or God TV and see how many write in to thank God for their shining example. Interesting how the Christian networks aren’t showing this trash.

  8. Bam Bam November 11, 2012

    I think it is progressive because people tend to think that because someone sings Gospel they are not subjected to the things of every other person. It shows that they are human and face the same things that everyone else does. Stiff neck people in the church will try to hold you up and question your salvation when my bible says that “All men have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” and because they sing gospel makes them no better than anyone else.

    • Matthew Charlery-Smith November 12, 2012

      Please research the Bible and show me where Godly men and women resorted to hype to gain attention and it worked in their favour? Please read the story of King Jeroboam’s attempts to gain followers…and the Lord’s reaction.

  9. Benron (King Of The F****** Navi)) November 11, 2012

    When were Mary Mary or kirk franklin actually considered gospel (by consumers of gospel music) Everyone I know who listens to gospel calls them hip-hop singers.

    • ENOUGH ONIKA November 11, 2012

      That’s because 90% of listeners just listen to the beat instead of the words. If they did actually listen to what these artist were saying it’d be more than obvious that they were gospel..

  10. eric November 11, 2012

    I think it’s all about the attitudes you project and how the show is marketed. Like J.V. said, Sunday’s Best is the wrong format for gospel singers. To joke and laugh and try to imitate the likeness of Simon Cowell when someone is in front of you singing sincerely about God’s greatness? We’re supposed to be teaching that the gospel is NOT a show, but we keep treating it like entertainment. – it’s destructive, in that respect.

    • ENOUGH ONIKA November 11, 2012

      I see your point. But this show is about allowing people the opportunity to sing on a “major” gospel platform, which is a business. No one saying these people can’t sing and put out their music independently to glorify God, but if you won’t major label backing, then there are certain things you have to have, same goes for mainstream music. No label, gospel or not is going to invest in someone who can’t sing and has no stage presence, bottom line. If that was the case, the gospel market would be over saturated with people who can’t sing and just want to be “put on.” No. Just like if you want to sing lead in your church choir, you need to work for it and have what it takes.

      • Matthew Charlery-Smith November 12, 2012

        Maybe true, but if they are taking the Simon Cowell approach ask yourself if they are looking for a Pop star or the anointing. The Bible says only one of these 2 things will destroy the yoke of bondage and guess what, it’s not the former.

        Making Gospel into a gimmick. God help us.

      • ENOUGH ONIKA November 12, 2012

        Your right, the “anointing,” and not everyone who WANTS to sing professionally has it. 70% of those people don’t sing for the purpose of glorifying God, it’s about them and being in the spotlight so lets be honest here.

  11. Matthew Charlery-Smith November 11, 2012

    It isn’t a problem because they are Gospel artists; it is a problem because of WHAT they are showing on it!

    Jesus’ life was a reality show; He lived it out in front of ALL. But His ministry was to promote the Kingdom of God AND His righteousness and not a bunch of staged, hyped up nonsense to garner attention for Himself.

    Let me point to this fact; Mary Mary have beauty, talent (great ear for music, amazing voices, AND songwriting skills…the real kind), power and money. They are in a position that most artists hope to get to one day with Gold and Platinum discs, Grammys, American Music Awards etc.

    In year 14 of their careers they could be travelling to poor and destitute areas in the world bringing the message of Christ to many people in Latin America and Africa who listen to and really enjoy their music. Joyce Meyer Ministries does this. At times watching their daily broadcast they specifically point to how the financial support of people enables them to teach English, run shelters for s**/s**** trafficking, battered women, prison ministries, feed the poor, build housing, dig wells ALL OVER THE WORLD! This is reality, this is the message of the Gospel!

    Like Joyce Meyer I have supported Mary Mary financially by buying not downloading their music since their debut in 1999. Is this where my money has gone? To fund a programme where Goo-Goo (their sister) who is such a bad example gets to hype everything up?

    I want to make something clear. I SING Gospel, I’m a singer by profession and make my own music. I became a Christian (really committed) around 1998/9 and it was THEIR music which changed my heart and continued to add to my life with each album. I respect them and am thankful to them but THIS is why their new direction is so hurtful.

    Mitch, their manager, said it’s time to start making them international. Is he forgetting that that’s where they STARTED? Shackles was a Top 5, I repeat, Top 5 charting song in the UK and had major success all over Europe, not just on the RnB chart which didn’t exist here then. They have since regressed…MAJORLY!

    They haven’t had a certified record since 2005’s “Mary Mary” album which went Gold. Sure they’ve won Grammys but the label aren’t really making money, hence a range of new gimmicks set to titillate the senses, get gossip going and ensure SOME attention.

    Let’s get spiritual now. It is my belief that they are out of tune with what the Holy Spirit desires of them. Compromise has entered their camp (since the beginning) and has weakened the wall with everything able to breach.

    First of all, WHAT is Erica’s husband Warryn Campbell doing producing for Kanye West? A man who is FULL of pride, blasphemes and condescends people in his songs. Doesn’t the Bible say NOT to cast pearls before swine? Are we not instructed to not prostitute our gifts for the highest bidder? You have a holy, unique gift? You consecrate that and give it back to the Lord, not do a Darkchild and offer it to whoever will pay and give exposure. For those of you who don’t know Warryn Campbell is no ordinary producer, he is without doubt one of the most talented and versatile producers out there and he is the kind of person I believe Quincy Jones would say he believes the future lies with.

    Secondly, the sin of Jeroboam. Jeroboam is a king we read about in 1 Kings 12. He committed in simple terms unauthorised innovation. He wanted to keep people in his kingdom and influenced by him so he came up with new gods and ways/days/festivals of worship to stop the people from worshipping God correctly. In short, he came up with gimmicks and God was mightily displeased. Obviously, MM want people to worship the Lord but they way they are promoting themselves in it makes for carnality, not true worship; I’ve learned nothing spiritually watching their show. It hasn’t edified me…at all…that’s a problem. They are ministers, called to edify in ALL they do!

    Another thing Jeroboam did was appoint people as priests who were not anointed to be. Every time MM has worked with a secular artists they’ve failed to explain their reasons for doing so. They are ministers, their actions teach. What is Kanye doing in their video? Did he get all his success because “God was in him” or did he get it through ungodly means? (I think it’s the latter) David Banner? LL Cool J? These people ARE NOT living as Christians and should therefore NOT be allowed to stand on a stage and “minister” over the saints with unconsecrated hearts, minds and lifestyles.

    I had this discussion on Twitter and obviously the stans and trolls fired back at me saying how I was judging and that they are just ordinary people (like I don’t know that). I asked the, to show me from Scripture WHERE it’s ok to work with secular artists and put them next to you as if you’re both on the same road. None could answer. I had one “Do not be unequally yoked as Christ has no fellowship with Satan, nor light with dark.” 2 Corinthians 6:14. If you’re working for a company (McDonalds) that is different, but as a minister of the Gospel righteousness and holiness MUST come first and these artists (secular) do not represent that.

    Before anyone talks about how Tina was somewhat against her sister Goo-Goos stripper-sponsorship ask yourself this. If it’s NOT OK for her 7 year-old daughter to see these men pulling their trousers down to their bladders then WHY is it ok for her to have it filmed and put on TV so that all children worldwide can see it? Hypocrisy, gimmicky, fruitless.

    My actions have already cost me; upon reading my tweets to another fan about how disappointed I was with the show and what I was confused about in their message (the other fan added their @ address in) they decided to join the conversation telling me that I needed to calm down or I’d be blocked. I used no swear words, no anger, no Illuminati accusation, nor criticised their music. I had questions regarding SOME of their choices and they thought it would be best to block me rather than do the truly humble thing (as a minister should) and to explain themselves t. I have nothing negative to say about their music, it’s good. Nor their fashion, they dress respectfully and are beautiful women (except the “Go Get It” video where Goo-Goo must have been planning her next attention-seeking festival and been too tired to dress them properly).

    We’ll see how this pans out but until someone proves from Scripture that I’m wrong I will stay here. After seeing the strippers and that awful altercation between Mitch and the full-of-pride fiancee of Goo Goo I WON’T be watching.

  12. ENOUGH ONIKA November 11, 2012

    I was excited when I saw Mary Mary being welcomed into the mainstream market ad still keeping their message gospel. I think they’ve done ground breaking work in the gospel market and have always remained true to their beliefs. However, I am getting a little concerned with other artists who feel the need to show their lives in hopes of breaking into the mainstream market. There are some artists who I feel should keep their private lives private. Showing a bunch of drama and stress you go through isn’t necessary to prove to everyone “you just like them.” We get it, your not perfect. Traditional gospel artists like Karen and Kim Burrell doing reality shows, I’m not here for it. I feel it’s not even about God anymore, it’s about themselves and becoming popular and that’s not what I listen to gospel music for. There’s nothing positive being taught and nothing about God, just a bunch of drama like the Braxton’s or the Kardashian’s just without the cursing. For some artists that already have mainstream appeal like Mary Mary ok reality tv is whatever, but Karen and them, I’m not here for that.

  13. Matthew Charlery-Smith November 11, 2012

    Another problem is that in America there’s too much “Get Yo Blessin'” and no talk about holiness. Do you see the type of Scriptures artists like Kelly Rowland, Rihanna and Le Toya Luckett tweet? Stuff about blessings, not righteousness. Let’s see them tweet about profanity and fornication, up until then “I wanna see the receipts!”.

    Mary Mary need to get out of that family bubble where they aren’t really challenged by someone who can stand and watch from the outside, giving an objective opinion. Their show goes to show the state of Hollywood Christianity and the state of the Church at large. We have become apathetic to truth, blaze about righteousness and indifferent towards heretical teaching. Who knows, maybe we”ll wake up when we open our eyes one morning and find the Islamic crescent and star on top of the Stars and Stripes and Union Jack.

    I believe they are genuine women, (ingenuine people don’t talk about REPENTANCE remember that word, everyone in Heaven can spell it!) but they are misguided and until humility returns to their hearts and ears we’ll watch them strain to regain chart relevance without resorting to more gimmicks. Their lyrics are less Scripture-centered now too. “Go Get It”? Hype, not Scripture. See Matthew 6:33

  14. eric November 11, 2012

    I’m reading some really great points here! It’s making me think a little more.

  15. ENOUGH ONIKA November 11, 2012

    Great post Sam. I like posts that actually require thinking and conversing about an interesting topic. What so and so wore or said on tweeter just starts stupid stan wars with the same people posting hate on either Beyonce or Rihanna. Who cares.

  16. IDK November 12, 2012

    I dont know what to think but I really like the 1st comment on this post. SHout out to @J.V.

    • Matthew Charlery-Smith November 12, 2012

      Follow your senses; J.V. is RIGHT!

  17. MUSICHEAD November 12, 2012

    I’ve been back and forth with myself on this topic. I understand that gospel artists have to make their money too but I did not like some of what I saw on Mary Mary’s show. I know that everyone has their shortcomings and flaws but some of their behavior was just ratchet to me. I still love them but I will admit that their msg has been somewhat tarnished due to what I saw. Some things just don’t need to be shown to the general public.

    • Matthew Charlery-Smith November 12, 2012

      Ratchetness, a tarnished message. I’m glad it’s not only me who saw all this with all the average SHALLOW Christians talking about it’s ok and not judging others!

      The general public are seeing this because MM have had years of this kind of behaviour obviously and now it’s being shown publically, embarrassing Christians and damaging the name of Christ.

      Superstar Christianity, weakening the world one soul at a time!

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