BET’s hit show Sunday Best is now down to the final two contestants, Jessica Reedy and Y’Anna Crawley. They each have a 50/50 shot at being crowned Sunday Best. Jessica Reedy may win, but there is a very good chance that she may not be embraced by gospel music fans.
I believe that there is a double standard when it comes to female gospel artists. For some reason the gospel music community expects female artists to be amazing singers with powerful voices. It doesn’t seem like they have that same expectation when it comes to male artists.
Quick, think of all of the most popular female gospel artists. What do they all have in common? They have outstanding voices. If you don’t believe me, let’s go through the short list: Yolanda Adams, Cece Winans, Shirley Caesar, Kierra Sheard, Karen Clark-Sheard, Dorinda Clark-Cole, and Kim Burrell. I’m sure there are a couple of others I could add.
I love Jessica Reedy as an artist, but she doesn’t have the stereotypical powerful, high range voice. As a result, many gospel music fans won’t embrace her. When her album comes out, it probably won’t have the powerful ballad that people will try to copy and sing as the sermonic selection during Sunday morning service.
In a previous post, I talked about the next female gospel headliner. Even though she is in her 20s, I don’t think Jessica will be a contender. Song writers and producers will line-up to arm her with some great material, but the public demand probably will not be there.
I hope I am wrong. I want to believe that gospel music consumers are ready to embrace a new female sound. However, I remember how we turned away Michelle Williams because she didn’t fit the mold of most female gospel artists. Do we really want to turn away another gifted female who has a heart for the Lord?
I hope we as consumers get our act together. We could be potentially stopping the progress of an entire genre. Just think, where would gospel be now without Kirk Franklin? People definitley tried to turn him away when he started. Look how he has blessed and elevated an entire industry. I pray we have learned our lesson.