Music, poetry, singing, spoken word, the art of expressing oneself has been perhaps among the most powerful ways for African Americans to thrive for a better life, to resist and survive injustice, and to register their stories and their plight, their journey to their freedom, their survival, their success.
It is because of music and all forms of arts that Black Americans have overcame abuse and exploitation, and they have raised to be one of the most progressive and influential communities in the United States. African Americans have thus contribute to the shaping of American culture, as most of the musical genres of this country, were created by Black artists.
Gospel music is for Blacks in the U.S. -and through them many African communities in the world- not only a way to express their faith and love for God but also to celebrate, to reinvigorate the values that come along with their faith. Because a religious service in a Black church is more than just praying, it’s singing, preaching, celebrating, an out loud conversation with the one that is listening.
Photos and video by Carlos A. Quiroz
This is what I saw at the Gospel Extravaganza program, organized by the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation as part of its 40th Annual Legislative Conference, and held at the United House of Prayer for All People church in Washington, DC, on September 16, 2010. I recorded four videos that you can see here. In this post I decided to included these two videos that touched me deeply.
This first video is an incredible performance by the Benedict College Gospel Choir (South Carolina), and the extra talented and young violinist David D:
The last song of the program: the four participating Gospel choirs from Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Mississippi singing together.
This is African American Gospel: a musical religion, a religious music. A faith that was imposed to their ancestors, but which was converted into a new form of religion, that mixes old and new beliefs with Christianity, that carry on the same beliefs of yesterday but reaches out to the new Black, the new America, the new world. Many can say religions are tools for domination, for control of masses. I won't go there. When I saw these choirs, I heard the beauty of Gospel, because if there is a God, this was the proof.
To find out more about the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation 2010 ALC visit its website.