Luther King's Hands

Source: William H. Alden / Getty

Monday, (Jan 20) the MLK Jr. national holiday, the U.S. Navy is expected to announce that a new aircraft carrier will be named after Mess Attendant 2nd Class Doris Miller. If you by chance the name Doris Miller doesn’t ring a bell in your head, he was the first African American to receive the Navy Cross for valor for his actions on Dec. 7, 1941, when he manned a machine gun on the USS West Virginia to fire back at attacking Japanese planes. On top of that, he was not a trained gunman, he was a cook! “I think that Doris Miller is an American hero simply because of what he represents as a young man going beyond the call of what’s expected,” said Doreen Ravenscroft, president of Cultural Arts of Waco (Texas), and team leader for the Doris Miller Memorial. Back in 1941, an African American was not allowed to man a gun in the Navy, and as far as rank was concerned, “he could not really get above a messman level,” Ravenscroft said.

The Rev. Maceo L. Woods, a longtime pastor on Chicago’s South Side and an influential gospel musician, has died at age 87. A musical celebration, viewing, and funeral are being held this weekend for Woods, the recipient of a Legends awards from gospel music’s Stellar Awards and a Lifetime Achievement award from the Chicago Gospel Music Awards. Upon hearing news of Woods’ death, colleagues, congregants, and listeners have been reflecting on the spiritual and cultural impact of the pastor-musician’s lengthy, multifaceted career.

Richard Valitutto offered an impressive Piano Spheres program at the Colburn School’s Zipper Hall this week. The recital Tuesday, however, began surprisingly with George Walker’s Piano Sonata No. 5. It also was around six minutes, but it was in a declamatory style that might have seemed to have nothing to do with anything else on the program. Walker, who died in 2018 at age 96, was one of America’s most distinguished composers. He won the Pulitzer Prize for music in 1996. He was a superb pianist and an esteemed academic. His shelves and walls were overloaded with the awards and honorary degrees that go with a legendary career. He wrote around 100 pieces, and many of them have been recorded. Walker’s music is uncompromising. Like Bach, Stravinsky and Webern, he made music with a jeweler’s precision, and he didn’t wear his emotions on his sleeve. Like their music, his work demands — and magnificently rewards — deep listening.

Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos told the Guardian Sunday, January 19, that the streaming giant is open to working with the royal couple in the future. “Who wouldn’t be interested? Yes, sure,” the television executive said when asked if Netflix would consider a possible deal with Harry, 35, and Meghan, 38. The couple’s potential Netflix opportunity follows their successful bid for voiceover work with Disney. The duchess landed a voiceover contract with the media conglomerate for an unspecified project after her husband vouched for her at the premiere of The Lion King in July 2019.

Actor, director and producer Tyler Perry says his latest film, Netflix’s “A Fall from Grace,” was birthed out of his own experience clinging to his faith and prayer in times of pain and uncertainty. “I just want people to know that no matter how dark, no matter how bad, no matter how dismal the scene or situation you’re in, there’s still hope,” Perry told The Christian Post in sit-down interview in New York City. “I say that even from my own life, realizing that I was in some of the darkest times in my life and didn’t even know if I was going to make it. But as long as it held my faith and held on to hope and prayer and God and believing, it all came together.”

Gospel pioneer Kirk Franklin shared some advice he received for the new year while battling depression and anxiety amid a string of deaths among his friends. “[In] 2019, I experienced a high amount of loss in my life. I went to more funerals in 2019 than I’ve ever been to in my life. I went to the funerals of friends, the funerals of people’s parents and the funeral of people’s kids and it was a lot,” the performer shared on Instagram Friday. Franklin was a support to his pastor, Tony Evans, in the recent loss of his wife, Christian artist TobyMac, who buried his 21-year-old son, and others. The magnitude of loss surrounding Franklin took a toll on him and brought on anxiety. The gospel music trailblazer decided to jump on a call with his “godly” therapist while in the Dominican Republic, where he currently went to decompress. “I was just talking to him about being very anxious and very consumed with fear and worry and just the struggle with it all. He said, ‘When I begin to live a life of gratitude, more gratitude then I will begin to be more selfless because fear is rooted in self,” Franklin said.

The Kansas City Chiefs are heading to the Super Bowl after winning the AFC Championship Sunday against the Tennessee Titans, 35-24. At the trophy presentation, Chiefs Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt said, “I want to thank the Lord for blessing us, the Glory belongs to Him.” The star at the helm of the team is quarterback Patrick Mahomes who showed amazing poise last week to lead the Chiefs in an incredible comeback January 12 to defeat the Houston Texans, 51-31 and advance to the AFC Championship. Mahomes has been described as a man of humble faith in God, and his faith comes out from time to time in his tweets.

A misdemeanor simple battery warrant for Cleveland Browns wide receiver and former LSU star Odell Beckham Jr. has been rescinded, the New Orleans Police Department confirmed Saturday. The warrant was issued Thursday as video posted on social media appeared to show Beckham swatting a security officer’s buttocks during LSU’s locker room victory celebration after Monday night’s college national championship game in the Superdome. “The security officer in the incident involving Odell Beckham Jr. has decided to drop the charge,” the department’s public information office said in an email. Beckham has also come under scrutiny over his apparent cash payments to Tigers players on the field after the game.

The first trailer for Issa Rae and Kumail Nanjiani’s murder mystery romcom “The Lovebirds” has dropped, offering a glimpse of the onscreen couple’s wild journey after a date gone horribly wrong.


Yael Hilton is a powerful vocalist whose voice has caused videos of her singing to go viral and has aided her in amassing close to 50K followers on Instagram. A recent signee to eOne, Hilton is on track to become a recognized voice in the Gospel community. Her new single “He Loves Me” showcases her passion and powerful vocals that pierce through the ears and hearts of listeners. It’s a feel good uptempo song with a retro vibe

As America gets ready to commemorate the 91st birthday of the late great Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., his daughter, Dr. Bernice King, is positioned to answer the call of her late father while simultaneously making it clear that our country could learn a lot from the highly revered leader.

Rising singer and songwriter Darnell Moore is making his imprint on Gospel music. He is a young astute musician who has an easy-going spirit and worships with an authentic heart. Over the years, Darnell has toured internationally in a supporting role to other artists as a musician, music director, or vocal director. He recently returned from his first solo international tour of Italy in December to pre-promote his HOSANNA EP. HOSANNA is now available on all digital music and streaming outlets and marks the singer’s first album/EP release.

Adrienne Houghton takes girl time to the next level when she sits down with her best friend Julissa Bermudez to chat about their fabulous friendship on ALL THINGS ADRIENNE WITH ADRIENNE HOUGHTON on The pair, who became fast friends while shooting a film early in their career, discuss their common background as New York natives, managing their on-screen careers, championing their Latin culture, and even their cellulite woes.

Fifty years after Woody Woodriffe’s family suffered great tragedy, there is now a lasting tribute in New York City. The corner of Jefferson Avenue and Claver Place in Brooklyn is now known as FBI Special Agent Edwin R. Woodriffe Way. This high honor was bestowed upon Woody’s father, who was the first black FBI agent to be killed in the line of duty. Edwin and his partner Anthony Palmisano were gunned down in pursuit of a robbery suspect in 1969. At the time of his death, he was just 27 years old. Woody was six and his sister, Lee, was five.

Two-time Academy Award® winner Denzel Washington will lend his talents and expertise to T.D. Jakes’ International Leadership Summit this spring, a conference for visionaries, entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs, pastors and leaders from all over the world, looking to expand their personal sphere of influence and sharpen their skills. Washington is expected to deliver a keynote address focused on Hollywood, faith and handling the spotlight. As an actor, producer and director, Washington is considered one of the greatest actors of this generation, receiving critical acclaim for films including Glory, Training Day, Malcolm X, The Hurricane, Remember the Titans and American Gangster. He received the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2016 Golden Globe Awards, which is bestowed by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for “outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment.” Most recently, Washington was honored with the AFI Life Achievement award, one of the highest honors for a career in film. Washington made his directorial debut in 2002 with the film Antwone Fisher, and directed The Great Debaters and Fences, which he starred in and received a nomination for Best Picture at the 2017 Academy Awards

Grammy® Award nominated singer-songwriter and producer, VaShawn Mitchell, has assembled a dynamic new generation of worship leaders under the banner of the Gospel Heritage Conference. “Jehovah God (I Will Trust You)” is a powerful worship song led by the writer of the song, Madelyn Berry, who passionately takes the listener higher and higher in worship.

Before 1,000 people at the National Baptist Convention’s winter board meeting in Arlington, Joe Biden accused President Donald Trump of fanning the flames of hate. “I hear voices of intolerance singing the chorus of hate, exclusion and denial,” Biden said. The National Baptist Convention is the nation’s largest black Baptist Convention and dates to the 1880s. Biden said as President, he would work to bring the nation together. “Donald Trump’s poisonous and divisive politics we now have a tremendous opportunity because Americans have been awakened to how bad things are.”

In November 2019, Liberation Station’s Black Lit Library finally settled into its new host location at the Sarah P. Duke Gardens. Located in the Doris Duke Center Classroom inside the Gardens visitor center, this library intends to provide a safe reading space for children of color. Liberation Station is a mobile children’s pop-up bookstore, offering over 500 thoughtfully curated titles centered on the representation of African American children with access to over 10,000 titles for distribution. Inspired by co-founder Victoria Scott-Miller’s difficult experience finding books that her own children of color could relate to, Liberation Station was created to glorify the black narrative and increase black representation in literature so that all children of color can find stories that accurately and positively reflect their own experiences.

Lauren Daigle delighted a stadium full of fans when she sang the national anthem at the 2020 National Championship game between Clemson and Louisiana State University (LSU)

The Rock Hall Class of 2020 was unveiled Wednesday (Jan. 15) morning, with six artists and one behind-the-scenes player joining the storied ranks of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. And for many, the list – which includes four first-time nominees – will be fairly surprising. Depeche Mode, the Doobie Brothers, Whitney Houston, Nine Inch Nails, The Notorious B.I.G. and T. Rex will join the Rock Hall at the 35th annual induction ceremony, with Jon Landau (longtime industry manager who guided Bruce Springsteen’s career) and Irving Azoff (personal manager of the Eagles since 1974) earning the Ahmet Ertegun Award.

Jonathan McReynolds enjoys his second #1 radio single from his groundbreaking album “Make Room”. McReynolds is set to embark on a 3 show event in Los Angeles at The legendary Troubadour on 2.9, 3.15. If you’re in LA you can still catch him on the last two dates!

Sunday Best Starlet Latice Crawford’s new single “Amazing”!!

Internationally celebrated, multiple award-winning Gospel recording artist Marvin Sapp has a new music project slated for later this year that he will record live at his new church, The Chosen Vessel Cathedral in Fort Worth, Texas. The recording is set for Friday, February 21st and will reunite Sapp with his musical masterminds – producer Aaron Lindsey and vocal director Myron Butler. Tentatively titled The Chosen Vessel, this album will be the follow up to Sapp’s 2017 release, Close. This will be Sapp’s first live recording since I Win, which was recorded live in 2011.

Today, the NFL announced two-time Grammy award-winning emcee LECRAE as the third artist to be featured in its “Songs of the Season” series. Lecrae’s “Get Back Right,” which is off his album, Let the Trap Say Amen, will be heard throughout the NFL playoffs across several telecasts. Lecrae Shares His Reaction To His Song Being Named As One Of NFL’s Songs Of The Season. LIVE interview on NFL Networks’ “Good Morning Football.”

Top Singles For The Week:

BMI Trailblazers of Gospel Music - Show

Source: Erika Goldring / Getty

1. Zarcardi Cortez…You Don’t Know

2. Pastor Mike Jr….Big

27th Annual Stellar Awards Nomination Announcement & Concert

Source: Rick Diamond / Getty

3. James Fortune…I Am

John P. Kee At The 11th Annual Spirit Of Praise

Source: Billy Hart / Billy Hart Photography

4. John P Kee….I Made It Out

Stone Soul 2019 -- Jekalyn Carr

Source: The Jones Photography & Media Company / The Jones Photography & Media Company

5. Jekalyn Carr..I See Mircles

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