Blessertainment: A new word in the Gospel music lexicon?

There is no such word as Blessertainment in much the same way as there is no such word as Grabbilicious. The latter is a term created by my late Jamaican father to describe a child that is never content (look out for my forthcoming book; A Jamaican in Huddersfield).

Blessertainment is a word I coined in an attempt to describe a Gospel artist that seeks to entertain and minister at the same time. There are some who believe that the two words should never be found within the same sentence, that they are like oil and water or for traditionalists, spark and gunpowder.

For the record, even the great Queen of Gospel, Mahalia Jackson was reprimanded by her church elders for incorporating elements of blues and Jazz into her set back in the 1940’s…..entertainment.

The Gospel shows in America 1950’s were pure entertainment, lending its showmanship to the RnB industry. From Little Richard standing on piano to the legendary James Brown‘s shoulders covered by a subservient band member with regal like robes and face fanning after an energy sapping performance, all trademarks straight out of the Gospel entertainment arena.

I’m not advocating a shift of British Gospel to pyrotechnics, lasers or acrobatic backing dance groups, but elements of entertainment must be factored into a Gospel performance. In fact, back to where it belongs.

The Brexit pound is pretty hard to come by these days and so the Yorkshire man in me says that if I attend a Gospel event, I’m expecting to walk away with an experience.

Past concerts I have attended featuring Gospel MOBO winners Lurine Cato and Volney Morgan & New Ye come close to epitomising my Blessertainment ethos.

British Gospel outfits with commercial ambitions in the 21st century must embrace the skill and art of entertainment whilst keeping the gospel message intact. Watch out for the rise of a man called Chris da Ambassada.

It’s easier said than done, but if Blessertainment forms the underlying foundation of your music business plan, then perhaps an increasing number of people will leave your gigs feeling that it represented for them an experience, not an expense.