Triumph Church-East Campus was host to a double gospel celebration last year. The facility that used to be the old Second Ebenezer church became party central for fans and supporters of DETROIT homegrown favorites Dr. Deborah Smith Pollard and Byron Cage. By Detroit Gospel.com | Published 10/28/2009 | Event Coverage |
Dr. Deborah Smith Pollard with Byron Cage and FM98 contest winner
Dr. Deb, as she is affectionately called, has a long and varied resume of accomplishments and achievements, but she is most widely known as the melodious voice that blesses the airwaves on Sunday mornings from 6AM to 10AM on FM98 WJLB. The rest of the week, WJLB kicks out the R&B and Hip Hop jams, but come Sunday morning, Dr. Deb kicks out her own "Strong Inspirations" that appeal to both young and old. A packed house welcomed Dr. Deb and joined her in celebrating 15 years as host of Detroit's #1-rated gospel show.
Winners from Dr. Deb's Sunday morning show were also invited to a special VIP reception prior to the show. Dr. Deb's mom and husband were also on hand to share her special night.
Dr. Deborah Smith Pollard with Byron Cage and FM98 contest winners at VIP reception
Dr. Deborah Smith Pollard with her mother and husband at VIP reception
Detroiters love to claim their own, and Byron Cage loves to lay claim to his Detroit roots and musical foundation from his years as choir director at Greater Grace Temple under the late Pastor David Ellis. Byron came home to Detroit to record his new CD and DVD "Faithful to Believe" on March 13, 2009, at the new facilities of Second Ebenezer church where Bishop Edgar Vann and First Lady Sheila Vann and a capacity crowd were in attendance. He came back to the "old Second Ebenezer" and new Triumph Church-East Campus to celebrate the release of his new CD and DVD on Verity Records (Release date Oct. 27, 2009)
In keeping with Dr. Deb's spirit of excellence, the evening's celebrations began on time with Stellar-Award nominated, God's Little Soldiers, International, under the directions of Motor City Praise Records founder, James Render. The young men got the party started by ministering in song and scripture and the audience was on their feet.
God's Little Soldiers International
One of the things that Dr. Deb is known for is meeting her audience where they are and ministering to them in a language that they can relate to. She has embraced Gospel rap and FM98 WJLB listeners have responded in kind. Dr. Deb shared the ministry of gospel rap and hip hop throughout the evening as God's Army, Kiwi, Mahogony Jones, and DJ Fingers rocked the house and kept the party going strong.
DetroitGospel.com writer, TaQuinda Johnson (T. Marie) and Gospel artist, Kiwi
Dr. Deb, who also teaches at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, had 39 of her 40 "Introduction to Gospel Music" students in attendance. The "Field Trip" was a sure 'nuf education in gospel, as Byron Cage took us to school and provided a crash course in "Advanced Sing Your Behind-Off" Gospel music.
Byron showed clips from the DVD of his new release. The energy from the live recording was evident in the energy that was generated in just watching the video clips. It was almost as if we were back at the live recording as those in attendance sang, clapped, praised and danced. A person in the audience was overheard saying, "there's not a bad track on that project!" and most rushed out to purchase their copy and get it signed at the evening's end.
Byron made a special point of encouraging Detroiters and letting them know that God is "Faithful to Believe." He went on to say that he had written that song for Detroiters and closed out the evening by singing the title cut live with several back-up singers from the original live recording, including Detroiters Ron Kelly, Peggy James, Suzanne Young and Charles Curry.
Others gospel industry personnel present, to show their support for Dr. Deborah Smith Pollard and Byron Cage, were Darius Twyman, LaShell Griffin, Larry Calahan, Upper Room owners Pam and Alonzo Dover and Triumph Church's Pastor Solomon Kinloch, Jr.
DetroitGospel.com owner, Mary Crosby; producer, Renee'; and writers, Brenda Underwood, and TaQuinda Johnson were also present, and wouldn't have missed celebrating with two of their favorite Detroiters for the world.
If you haven't already picked up Byron's latest project (his 6th), run, don't walk to get it. Every song on it is a home run, and with guest artists Karen Clark Sheard, Marvin Winans, and Tye Tribbett, Byron has pulled out all of the stops. The song writing, the production, the energy, and the singing are "off the chain!" Byron's voice is a gift from God and to have it showcased on a project like this one is a gift to anyone who loves good gospel music.
But don't take our word for it, watch the video and/or listen to snippet below...
DetroitGospel.com joins in celebrating two phenomenal Detroiters and their accomplishments. We pray many more years for Dr. Deborah Smith Pollard on the airwaves of Detroit, and many more successful projects from "The Prince of Praise," Minister Byron Cage. We love you both! For more information on Dr. Deborah Smith Pollardvisit www.fm98wjlb.com.
A friend who is the music director (MD) of a secular station said to me recently, "Your gospel artists act worse than my secular artists."
After my stunned silence, she explained that of course, performers and label reps from both "sides" of the music world always ask to be placed in rotation. But lately, she had seen what I call "gospel artists gone wild."
She spoke of gospel music folks sending multiple, snarky emails. "Obviously you don't know who I am" is what one person wrote when their artist's song was not placed in the line up. If this MD really knew what she was doing, the writer continued, she would have this award winning gospel singer in rotation. (Never mind that the MD had never heard of the performer or the award in question...)
There were threats of retaliation of various kinds from other artists and reps if the MD failed to give them a slot on the regular play list, and some even tried to pressure the MD's colleagues at other stations into making the case for their inclusion.
Another MD told me that artists tried various intimidation tactics which, while they were to no avail, did nothing to reflect individuals who were representing Christ. Hence my friend's comment.
Most of us would love to have the kind of success that gives us exposure to the mainstream. Generally, that means more opportunities to witness on a grander scale and, if the truth be told, access to more revenues. But HOW we seek to gain that exposure says everything about who we are and who we represent.
So, by all means, ask to be considered for secular airplay. There is nothing wrong with great aspirations. But ask without threatening, insulting, or resorting to any form of intimidation. (And please don't offer money or drugs. That is not only immoral; it's illegal!)
Remember WHOSE you are and that every time you fire off an email, leave a voice mail laced with borderline profanity, or act as if you are entitled to airplay on the secular stations, you are witnessing, but not in a way that honors Christ.
Please resist the urge to do anything that would make a music director say, "Your gospel artists act worse than my secular artists."
Deborah Smith Pollard, Ph.D., is the host and producer of "Strong Inspirations", a weekly Gospel radio show airing Sundays, 8 to 10 AM on FM 98 WJLB in Detroit, Michigan, won the prestigious Stellar Award for "Announcer Of The Year" in 2005, and authored the book "When The Church Becomes Your Party". Smith Pollard writes "Static Free" for GOSPELflava.com, a regularly-appearing column in which she addresses all and any matters relating to Gospel radio.
I am mad. I am fed up with a media and its negative influence on our thought life. Kids (and those who don’t know any better) and especially susceptible. Media has created monsters that kill, steal and destroy. We are hit by millions of messages daily and most of those messages deteriorating our morals, our family life, our society overall.
Media messages surround us daily- all day. We wake up to clock radios, flick on the TV and grab the newspaper. On the way to work, as we listen to subliminal negative messages in music or depressing, sensationalized news. We see billboards reminding us of the latest alcohol drink. Once at work, the bulletin boards are filled with more foolishness, or our e-mail has some outrageous filth from anonymous sources. When we get home, more junk mail to sort through. Our TV entertainment is not motivating. Even our tape/CD or book clubs have fewer and fewer selections of inspiring, nourishing messages.
I am tired of Harry Potter casting “spells” on our children. Why would I want my daughter to be fascinated by witches, sorcerers and other creatures of darkness? I am sick of the rap music that promotes hatred and violence. I am stunned by movies and music videos that pump visions of illicit sex and soft pornography into the minds of babes.
Then there’s the internet with a new form of perversion all together. A friend of mine told me that her son was almost kicked out of college for spending too much time surfing websites created for “adult entertainment”. He got caught up and spent more time with that stuff instead of the books.
Wonder why the world is so messed up? Garbage in—garbage out. What you think about, you become. When you run around with a head full of junk, you do stupid stuff. The media prods with every step. Somebody is always promoting something. We are in the Information Age with tons of messages tossed around daily. What are you promoting? But more importantly, what are you taking in?
The Information Age is good because the information that God wants to get out will get out quicker, faster and more profound than ever. Media is not our master. Jesus is Lord and Master. He has given us a better message and the bible has all the answers.
My career in public relations has really enhanced my awareness of the power of the media. Its impact could make or break a career or make someone an instant “millionaire.” Ad agencies spend millions of dollars to create images. For many, media is the compass of their life. Whatever the media spews out people take in and shape their opinions around it or buy whatever it’s selling. Some people believe the voice of Oprah rather than their own “still, small voice” within. Who or what do you believe?
That’s why it is so important that Believers take back the media. The world needs the message of the gospel and is waiting for it. We must inject messages of faith to counter the messages of fear. It’s time to reverse the demonic assaults that have plagued airwaves and our thought-waves. The time is now to market the message to the masses! The violent take it by force (Matthew 11:12).
I yelled “Look at God!” in the middle of Walgreen’s on September 12 when I saw Bishop T.D. Jakes on the cover of Time magazine. Do you think that was a coincidence or does God have a plan? As the nation prays, God is enlarging our territory according to the prayer of Jabez (1 Chronicles 4:10).
When we spend hours and hours soaking in junk TV, reading garbage magazines instead of feeding our mind with life—the Word of God, we are destroying ourselves. We have a choice of life or death; prosperity or disaster. The Bible instructs us in the way to live to have success, “Study this Book of the Law continually. Meditate on it day and night so you may be sure to obey all that is written in it (the Bible). Only then will you succeed” (Joshua 1:8 NLT). James 1:27 say, “refuse to let the world corrupt us” (NLT).
Don’t get sucked in by the media mess, guard your heart with all diligence. If the devil wanted to enter your mind, would you let him in if he knocked on the door? No. He knows he has to come very deceptively. He comes center-stage disguised as a message you have been enticed to receive. Don’t be deceived by Satan’s devices. Reject his junk!
Our world has changed dramatically since we’ve witnessed terrorism first hand, up close on our U.S. shores. We’re not as comfortable as we used to be. A lot of sleepy Christians are now awake and see that the time is now to “be a witness” (Acts 1:8). it’s time to fight the good fight of faith! The media is that last frontier and the devil is trying to pull out all his junk and spew out fear, hate and corruption. But read the end of the Book; we win! Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that “Jesus is Lord.”
The media has power, but God has ALL power. Who are you going to follow?
Pam Perry is 20-year PR professional and the chief visionary of Ministry Marketing Solutions Inc., a public relations and marketing consulting firm in Farmington, Michigan. Visit www.MinistryMarketingSolutions.com. She has weekly podcasts and free daily eblasts on media and ministry. Also see her myspace at www.myspace.com/pamperryprcoach
Author, motivational speaker and university professor Deborah Smith Pollard, Ph.D., first attracted national attention when she was named Gospel Announcer of the Year during the 20th annual Stellar Awards, called The Grammys of Gospel Music.
Pollard is a recognized expert on contemporary gospel music with a knowledge base that is the result of her dual career: Associate Professor of English Literature and Humanities at University of Michigan-Dearborn and award-winning gospel radio announcer Sunday mornings, 6-10 AM, on FM 98 WJLB, Detroit's top rated station for young adults.
She has published both academic and popular articles on various aspects of gospel music.
Her book, When the Church Becomes Your Party: Contemporary Gospel Music (Wayne State University Press 2008, includes chapters on praise and worship in the urban church, gospel musical stage plays, the changing dress code in gospel music and the Black church, women gospel announcers and holy hip hop/Christian rap.