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5th Anniversary Edition! Issue 17

ANITA WILSON

Oct/Nov 2014

MS.

Went Diggin’ in the Crates on Sophomore LP

GLADYS KNIGHT #LegendThatisAll

THE WARDLAW BROTHERS MY BROTHER’S KEEPER

Call Me MRS.

CHANDLER The Former Mrs. Damita Haddon Breaks Her Silence

UNCLE REESE

GOES HARD

PAINT

IN THE


In this issue

editor's Note

Call me Mrs. Chandler ....................6

–ǯ• Šƒ”† –‘ „‡Ž‹‡˜‡ –Šƒ– Ď?‹˜‡ ›‡ƒ”• Šƒ˜‡ ƒŽ”‡ƒ†› ’ƒ••‡† •‹Â?…‡ –Š‡ Ď?‹”•– ‹••—‡ ‘ˆ ‘‘– ƒ‰ƒœ‹Â?‡Ǥ —” ˜‡”› Ď?‹”•– cover was graced by musical genius, Donald Lawrence. I remember interviewing him in the hallway of the Philadelphia Convention Center during the Praise 103.9 Music and Inspiration Conference. I was so excited and †‡Ď?‹Â?‹–‡Ž›‹Â?Â?›‡Ž‡Â?‡Â?–Ǥ Â?Â?‡™–Š‡Â?–Šƒ––Š‹•™Šƒ– ™ƒ• born to do.

From purgatory to glory: Holy Hip-Hop .................................‌..8 My brother’s Keeper .‌‌...............10 Anita Wilson .‌...........................‌‌11

Ricky Dillard...................................18

Welcome to Issue #17 of Root. This issue is very special because it is a double cover issue with two of my favorite artist, Ricky Dillard and Anita Wilson. Another reason this issue is near and dear to my heart is because it will make it’s debut at Root Magazine’s 5th Anniversary concert featuring an array of Indie and Mainstream artists like Pastor Marlon Lock, Andre Byrd, Myron Butler, Thomas TC Clay, Joshua Rogers, Anita Wilson, Kierra Sheard and more!!

The Benediction...............................22

The legendary Gladys Knight also took time out of her busy schedule to let us know what’s going on with her.

Uncle ReeCe .....................................14 Glady’s Knight ‌‌‌‌‌‌............‌..16

Editor-In-Chief: Hasan James

Love, Live, Life!

Senior Art Director Fatima Williams-Burke Contributors Gene Burke Torin Derek Carlton Spence Thomas Warren J.S. Williams Martin Williams Photography Derek Blanks Jay Harris LumarĂŠ Grubbs

There is so much more, so I am gonna stop talking so you can dive right in! Enjoy!

Management Shawn Gibbs for The Firm Artist Management E-mail: Shawn. TheFirmManagement@ Gmail.com Sales ƒ•Šƒ™Â?†ƒ ‘ˆĎ?‹Â? Sales@RootMagazineonline.com

Larif Hamm Sales2@RootMagazineonline.com

Printing Shweiki Media

Visit Us On The Web at: www.rootmagazineonline.com

Hasan E-mail: Hasan@RootMagazineonline.com Instagram & Twitter: @ROOTMAGAZINE Facebook: ROOT MAGAZINE


CALL ME MRS. CHANDLER FOR OVER 15 YEARS, DEITRICK AND DAMITA HADDON WERE CONSIDERED TO BE ONE OF THE PREMIER COUPLES IN GOSPEL MUSIC. THEY SANG TOGETHER, MINISTERED TOGETHER AND EVEN ACTED IN MOVIES TOGETHER. IN JANUARY 2012, ACCUSATIONS OF INFEDELITY SWARMED THE INTERNET AND IT WAS ANNOUNCED THAT DEITRICK FATHERED A CHILD WITH ANOTHER WOMAN WHO WAS NOT HIS WIFE. NOW THE FORMER MRS. HADDON WOULD LIKE TO SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT AND PUT THE PAST BEHIND HER ONCE AND FOR ALL. BY HASAN JAMES | PHOTOGRAPHY BY DALE MARSHALL AND MELODY GAMBRELL

R

oot: Congratulations on your recent nuptials. How did you and your husband Rueben meet?

Damita Chandler: We met about 13 years ago in Tampa, Florida where we both worked in ministry together. We were both on staff at a church that we were going to at that time. We were both married and life was great. He was still doing photography and I was still singing as a worship leader at the church. We never hung out and only worked together during church functions. After being in Tampa for five years, I decided to move to Atlanta and I lost contact with a lot of people from Tampa. Reuben and I hadn’t spoken for years until 2013. We started speaking on social media and from there it was history. It’s been amazing. Root: You were married to Detrick Haddon for 15 years and you went through a very

6 | ROOT

public divorce. What do you think caused a breakdown in the marriage? Damita Chandler: Normally when I talk about my past with Detrick, it’s normally for testimonial purposes only. The things that I say is never to bash, indict or place blame. Oftentimes we try to look back and find the one main thing that may have caused the breakdown, arguments, infidelity or strife. I think it is a build-up of unresolved or uncommunicated issues. Sometimes it’s not major, but because it wasn’t addressed, it causes a breakdown. I am not going to say that it was ONE thing that caused a breakdown in our marriage. Couples need to be aware of that and really be careful. If you’re feeling some type of way about the way a person acts in public or the way they responded to a supporter on social media, you never know what someone is going through. Just because you are married to someone, does not mean that you can read their mind or know the changes that

they go through as time goes by. Every year we change and our thought process and tolerance change as well. There are insecurities and things that you deal with and if they are not addressed, they become bigger issues later on. Sometimes, it’ll end up like my past. It blows up in your face because it wasn’t addressed. Marriage is a team effort. If I mess up or if my husband messes up, you cannot blame anyone because it is a team effort. The ball was dropped! As a team, we failed and couldn’t get things together. No one will know what happened in the marriage truthfully except for Deitrick and I. He can tell his side and I can tell my side, but there’s a God side. It was multiple things that caused the breakdown. There was selfishness, pride, arrogance; which totally destroys a marriage when two people don’t come together, listen and represent the kingdom that they sing and preach about. We were both ministers of the gospel, so there was


really no excuse, because we had been to counseling. I feel like we dropped the ball. Here we are leaders and we can’t come together to resolve some issues that we were having. At the end of the day, I prayed, cried and did everything I was taught to do concerning my marriage. You have to let go and let God. Since we chose not to do it God’s way, divorce is what happened. Root: I want to give you a chance to tell your side of the story because you have been relatively quiet throughout all of the “mudslinging. ” Is there any truth to Detrick’s public letter claiming that you cheating on him with another well-known gospel artist? Damita Chandler: I want to be careful, because it’ll open a can of worms and cause “mudslinging”. I don’t want to sling mud and try to prove my innocence because it causes you to throw someone under the bus. Detrick felt that was what he had to do to move on in his life and to validate his actions. I don’t believe in that at all. Sometimes when you tell your side of the story and mislead people, it is still a lie. There is nothing good about divorce. When you have to come out and say things, it can get ugly. What I want to do is try to prevent rehashing the cause of why the marriage ended. Could the marriage have been saved? Absolutely!! At the end of the day it takes two people coming together as people of the Kingdom. The Bible speaks about getting out here and speaking slander against one another. When you add stuff to something, it becomes a lie. There are families involved and we have all moved on. I am very careful what I say. If we were going to divorce, it should have been amicable, without tearing down one another ’s character. At the end of the day, we both still have a ministry. That’s why Damita has never gone through the task of showing everybody the bad things about Detrick because he still has a ministry. As a woman of God, I owe it to the people and to God to say “You handle it.” I want to keep my hands clean and my heart pure. I refuse to unleash certain things, not because I am hiding, but because I fear God, I owe it not just to myself, but also to the legacy of my mother that went on to be with the Lord during that time. I failed and I dropped the ball. Detrick failed, he dropped the ball. Things happened. Not only were we married for 15 years; he had been my friend since I was 15 years old. At the end of the day, no matter what happened in our marriage, is nobody’s business. It doesn’t bring any good and it does more damage than good. There are families involved. I don’t want to speak on it, because m o r e f a m i l i e s get hurt. Detrick has children. I have a husband now as well as children with my husband Rueben. It’s water under the bridge. I wish him and his family the best. However, there are things that I will address because I have a ministry. There’s no whole truth to that situation and I will leave it at that.

If we were going to divorce, it should have been amicable, without tearing down one another’s character.

Root: What is your relationship with Tyscot Records now and will you be releasing new music soon? Damita Chandler: I am looking for another label home. Going through everything I’ve gone through, I didn’t want to do Gospel anymore. I felt it was hypocritical. I felt like I have given my life, my gift, my time and my talent time to an industry and got nothing in return. At the time when you’re hurting, you feel like the whole world is against you. I felt like my integrity and record speaks for itself. When people in the industry saw me, all they ever saw me do was support my ex and help build his career. I felt like why should I invest in people who will crucify me? I had to realize that there’s a ministry inside of me and that I must move on. There is a world that has to hear what I have to say. Brandon Avery Smith (Songwriter/ Producer) and I went back in the studio and we have a song that we are trying to push as single called “Clarity.” I was debating whether or not I wanted to do the Independent thing, but I want to be with a label. I’ve been with Tyscot since 1996, when Detrick and I formed the Voices of Unity. I’ve chose not to re-sign with Tyscot Records because my last record, “Anticipation,” was not promoted right. I think the whole divorce thing over-shadowed and killed it. I loved that project not because it’s me, but I poured my heart into it. When I listen back to some of those songs, it was prophetic. I started that project before I was separated and “I’m still here, you couldn’t break me, you couldn’t shake me down. I’m standing my ground. I’m still here.” It was scary to listen back to the music because it was so on target. I had no clue of the hurricane that was to come. I thought about re-releasing that record but there is some new music on the way. My singers are pushing me to do a LIVE record. Root: Many people got to know you and your husband Reuben on a more intimate level due to social media. The both of you are very transparent. Will there be a reality show with you guys in the future? Damita Chandler: We have put it out in the atmosphere. We record ourselves and play around all the time on social media. We get so many inboxes from people regarding some of the issues that we address. We want to get a YouTube Channel so we can minister to people raw and uncut. We are both divorcees so we talk about that and share our experiences with everyone. When you find that person you’re supposed to be with for the rest of your life, fight for it, talk to them and allow them to be human. The label, “Christian,” does not mean that you’re perfect. Root: Do you ever watch “Preachers of LA”? Damita Chandler: We can only tell someone’s motives from what they show us. If this is what they want to portray, then more power to them. If you’re going to represent, then represent. If not, everybody will see right through it. Many people supported the show and I’m sure they made some descent money from it. To be totally honest, I was not trying to keep up with what he was doing. I’m living my life and I am in love again. I wish Deitrick nothing but the best. I have forgiven and I have forgotten. I am in a good place in my life.


From Purgatory to Glory: THE STATE OF CHRISTIAN RAP/ HOLY HIP-HOP By Juan Baxter

In the Catholic denomination, Purgatory is described as the place between Heaven and Hell. Currently, Christian Rap is stuck in a state of purgatory. In my opinion most of the seasoned saints look at Hip Hop in a negative light and although the message is about Christ, the world still treats Christian rap like Gospel music’s step- child. We may not think that we need radio to validate this art form, but if we want to reach the masses in an effort to ’‘–‡Â?–‹ƒŽŽ›•ƒ˜‡•‘—Ž•ǥ”ƒ†‹‘‹•Â?‡‡†‡†ǤŠ‡“—‡•–‹‘Â?”‡Â?ƒ‹Â?•ǥ™Š‡”‡•Š‘—Ž†‹–„‡Â’ÂŽÂƒÂ…Â‡Â†ÇŤ‘‡•Š”‹•–‹ƒÂ?”ƒ’Šƒ˜‡™Šƒ–‹––ƒÂ?‡•–‘Ď?‹–‹Â?ƒ‰‘•’‡Žˆ‘”Â?ÂƒÂ–ÇŤ

–ǯ•„‡…‘Â?‡••‘Â?‡™Šƒ–‘ˆƒDzƒ–…ŠÍ´Í´Çł„‡…ƒ—•‡Â?‘•–‰‘•’‡Ž•–ƒ–‹‘Â?••ƒ›–Šƒ–‹–†‘‡•Â?ǯ–Ď?‹––Š‡‹”ˆ‘”Â?ÂƒÂ–ÇĄ™Š‹Ž‡Â?ƒ‹Â?•–”‡ƒÂ?—”„ƒÂ?”ƒ†‹‘™‘Â?ǯ–’Žƒ›‹– because it’s Holy ‹’ ‘’ǤÂ‘Â™ÂƒÂ†ÂƒÂ›Â•ÇĄ–Š‡‘Â?Ž›”‡ƒŽ™ƒ›–‘Ž‹•–‡Â?–‘Š”‹•–‹ƒÂ?”ƒ’‹•–‘Ď?‹Â?†ƒÂ? Â?–‡”Â?‡–”ƒ†‹‘•–ƒ–‹‘Â?–Šƒ–•’‡…‹ƒŽ‹œ‡•‹Â?–Šƒ–’ƒ”–‹…—Žƒ” genre, like “Jam the Hypeâ€? and HOT 3:16. Hip-Hop started out in The Bronx, New York in the 1970’s and has gone on to become a multi-billion dollar industry. In the early 80’s when Hip-Hop was formerly introduced to the City of Brotherly Love, it was due in part to one radio personality by the name of Lady B. Through her Street Beat show, she introduced every major rapper of the golden age of Hip-Hop. Because she was given a chance to play the music young people wanted to hear, it changed the culture of the city in a positive way. With the violent state of many cities across America, the time to present some positive and thought provoking music is now! I believe that mainstream, and gospel radio for that matter, is in a position to effect change with the music that they decide to put in rotation. Faith comes by hearing, so can you imagine the effect Christian Hip-Hop could have on the next generation who only get fed negativity in their ears? ‹Â?’Ž›’—–ǥ ‘Ž› ‹’nj ‘’Dz ÇĄÇł‡•’‡…‹ƒŽŽ›™‹–Šƒ”–‹•–•Ž‹Â?‡Â‡Â…Â”ÂƒÂ‡ÇĄÂ?†›‹Â?‡‘ƒÂ?†‹œœŽ‡•‡ŽŽ‹Â?‰Œ—•–ĥÂ?ƒÂ?›”‡…‘”†•ĥ–Š‡‹”Â?ƒ‹Â?•–”‡ƒÂ? counterparts. 2014 started off with a bang for Christian rap with artists out selling mainstream gospel acts on the charts and taking the number one spot on the Billboard Gospel album chart, without little to any airplay. Most recently, Christian rapper, Swoope’s album “Sinemaâ€? debuted at #1 on Billboard, beating out new releases from Smokie Norful and Sunday’s Best winner, Tasha Page- Lockhart. The album was also #4 on the Rap Album chart. Lecrae’s “All I Need Is You,â€? recently surpassed Nicki Minaj’s “Anacondaâ€? for the #1 spot on the iTunes music chart. With new albums from both Lecrae and fellow Reach Records artist Andy Mineo scheduled to drop over the next few weeks, the charts better watch ‘—–Ǩ‘Š‡”‡™‡…‘Â?‡‘—–‘ˆ—”‰ƒ–‘”›–‘ Ž‘”›ƒÂ?†™ƒ–…Š ԠĎ?‹Â?‹•Š–Š‡–‘”›Ǩƒ‹––Šƒ–”Š›Â?‡†Ǽ

LECRAE

BIZZLE

ANDY MINEO

DA TRUTH

ESHON BURGUNDY

THIS’L

RECONCILE

—ƒÂ?Dz”—–ŠƒÂ”ÂƒÂœÂ‡Çłƒš–‡”‹•–Š‡…—””‡Â?–Š‘•–‘ˆDzŠƒÂƒÂŽÂ–Çł ‘Ž› ‹’nj ‘’Š‘™‘Â?–‡ŽŽƒ”™ƒ”†™‹Â?Â?‹Â?‰•–ƒ–‹‘Â?  ‹Â?”‡Â?–‘Â?ÇĄ‡™ ‡”•‡›Ǥ

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The Wardlaw Brothers (Tony): Our mother started us out by singing in church. We were going to a church and singing in the youth choir. We started in the state of Washington; then we moved to Georgia. That’s when our mother turned into “Joe Jackson�. She wouldn’t let us stop singing. We kept singing as a family, which eventually evolved into what you see today. Root: Is singing something you all YCPVGFVQFQ!

By J. S. Williams Root: What was your experience like performing at the Stellar Awards for VJGĆ’TUVVKOGVJKU[GCT! The Wardlaw Brothers (Luther): The experience was so surreal being on the stage with The Canton Spirituals, along with some other greats. Last year, we were sitting in the back cheering all of the other artists on and as God would have it, we found ourselves on the same stage one year later. This proves that God has been there. That is the title track to our album “God Has Been There.â€? Root: Being a quartet group, how do [QWĆ’VKPVJGEWTTGPVNCPFUECRGQHVJG OWUKEKPFWUVT[! The Wardlaw Brothers (Carl): We are not strictly a quartet group. We mix it up with some Quartet, Traditional, a little bit of Contemporary and Praise & Worship. However, the Traditional side has not gone anywhere. As long as we are on the scene, we’re always going

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to do Traditional music. That’s what we grew up listening to and that’s what’s embedded in us. That’s the kind of music you feel in your bones. We love Contemporary and the Praise & Worship, but Quartet and Traditional music is just in us. Root: What was the inspiration behind the song you recorded for Cancer CYCTGPGUU! The Wardlaw Brothers (Luther): There were so many people we knew that was contracting cancer and we also experienced it within our own family. In particular, there was a 4 year- old child that we knew who died from liver cancer, in addition to two of our uncles. Our Uncle Clyde, who passed away from the disease, was one of our Ć’TUV KPXGUVQTU YJGP YG IQV UVCTVGF + wrote the song “We Will Survive,â€? in his memory. Root: Have you guys been singing all QH[QWTNKXGU!

The Wardlaw Brothers (Luther): We grew up in it and were young. We were in the children’s choir and our mom just wouldn’t stop. Because we grew up in it, it became a part of us and we liked to do it. I particularly liked the response that we got when we sang. I found out if you can sing a little bit, the girls started to pay more attention to you. Root: How do you balance family life YKVJDGKPIQPVJGTQCF! The Wardlaw Brothers (Jamie): Three of us, Tony, Jamie and Carl, are married with children. We all married our elementary school sweet hearts. Our wives understand and support the ministry. Naturally being on the road sometimes it gets hard, but God is faithful and His Word is true. The hardest part is being away from the kids. But once we get back home, we make up for it all. It’s all good. Root:9JQYTKVGUOQUVQH[QWTUQPIU! The Wardlaw Brothers (Luther): I have been blessed to write all of the songs on the last album. It’s basically a collaborative effort. It’s time for The Wardlaw Brothers to get in there and get back at it again. I am back in the studio writing, getting my hands wet again and I am excited. The brothers are looking to go back in the studio at the end of this year.

Root: Talk to us a bit about the prison ministry you all are involved with. The Wardlaw Brothers (Tony): One of the things about The Wardlaw Brothers is we try to really be true to what God has called us to be in VGTOU QH VJG OKPKUVT[ÇĄ  5Q YG JCXG C PQPRTQĆ’V UKFG QH QWT JQWUG ECNNGF “Hand to Hand, Heart to Heart,â€? and with that as we travel and tour, we try to stop by various prisons and minister to our brothers who are incarcerated. We actually go from city VQ EKV[ CPF YG CTG FGĆ’PKVGN[ NQQMKPI for people to contribute to this cause and help us minister to those who are in prison. That’s one of those six things that Jesus talks about in the book of Matthew, when he says: “For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.â€? Root: What is next for The Wardlaw $TQVJGTU! The Wardlaw Brothers (Rodney): Right now we are continuing to tour and promote our single “Thank You.â€? It’s an acapella piece and a tribute to what we do. We grew up in the back woods of Georgia and we didn’t always have music. Over time, we developed an acapella style by listening to groups who we stand on the shoulders of like Take 6, Commissioned and The Winans. We’re also doing some things that are out of the box like going on Family Feud with Steve Harvey. We just did a movie entitled “On Angels Wingsâ€? as well so stay tuned for The Wardlaw Brothers. Go on our website to see what’s next. Visit us at www.twb5.com Text Club: “TWBâ€? to 2727 Download Free App Twitter & Instagram @WardlawBros


MS. ANITA WILSON GOES BACK INTO TIME AS TOLD TO HASAN JAMES NO SOPHOMORE JINX HERE. ANITA WILSON’S SECOND ALBUM IS A MIXTURE OF SOUL, R&B AND GOSPEL AND SHE’S UNAPLOGETIC ABOUT IT. WHAT MAKES HER SO DIFFERENT FROM THE REST OF HER COUNTERPARTS? ROOT MAGAZINE CAUGHT UP WITH MS. ANITA WISON AT “PRAISE IN THE PARK” IN PHILLY AND SHE OPENED UP ABOUT LIFE, LOVE AND MUSIC.

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Root: You switched up your style a little bit on “Vintage Worship�; were [QWPGTXQWUCDQWVVCMKPIUWEJCTKUMQP[QWTUQRJQOQTGCNDWO!

QWVYJGTG+Ć’VOWUKECNN[1XGTCNN[QWJCXGVQJCXGEQPĆ’FGPEGKPYJCV God has you doing.

Anita Wilson: Honestly, I was not nervous. I had the natural pressure, however, I didn’t let myself feel any pressure to stay in any box. Sometimes artists feel they need to stay where they were and that just isn’t me. I know it’s different from “Worship Soul�, but I’ve evolved as an artist. Sometimes the crowd would say “This don’t sound like what we’re used to�. But if it sounded exactly like “Worship Soul� people would say, “This is exactly like ‘Worship Soul.� Therefore, I didn’t allow myself to be chained; I just did what came natural. From that came “Vintage Worship�, which I am very proud of.

Root: Your sense of style is amazing and you represent well for the ĹŤEWTX[IKTNUĹŹ*CXG[QWCNYC[UDGGPKPVQHCUJKQP!

Root: 9JCVKPURKTGF[QWVQFQUWEJCPGENGEVKEDQF[QHYQTM!

Anita Wilson: +VJKPMO[UV[NGJCUFGĆ’PKVGN[GXQNXGF+ŨXGCNYC[UDGGP one to be mindful of my appearance. I’m a girly-girl and I have that dainty side, but I also have the laid back, Tomboy side. I appreciate the fact VJCV RGQRNG PQVKEG O[ UV[NG $GKPI C HWNNĆ’IWTGF YQOCP KVŨU FGĆ’PKVGN[ possible to be fashion-forward, stylish, sexy without taking it over the top. I always say, “Balance is everythingâ€?. I’m always mindful of my appearance and always make sure that I represent who I am as well as the God in me. Root: #TG[QWYQTMKPIQPCP[XGPVWTGUQWVUKFGQHOWUKE!

Anita Wilson: I always called “Vintage Worshipâ€? an “audio portrait of my musical influenceâ€? of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. From that, it was Anita Wilson: I actually have an interest in TV and radio. I’m not much of Contemporary Gospel. I grew up listening to The Hawkins, The Winans, an actress, but I think I would make a good host. I would like to use my The Clark Sisters, as well as Classic Soul artists like Aretha Franklin, voice in other ways outside of just doing music. I would also love to be a Chaka Khan, Evelyn Champagne King and Eddie Kendricks. I appreciate mentor of sorts because I have a heart for young girls. It’s so much going my dad; who is a Pastor, musician and a singer who allowed us to listen on in the world today. My team and I are trying to put a plan together to to everything! So everything just came RTGUGPVCRQUKVKXGKPHNWGPEG+FGĆ’PKVGN[ natural when Rick Robinson (producer want to expand the brand. and writing partner) and I began creating this record. We gave ourselves a year to Root: You are a Midwest girl. What write the material and went with what RTQORVGFVJGOQXGVQ#VNCPVC! we felt was natural. We took our time and did not rush because I never want I didn’t let myself feel any Anita Wilson: I just wanted to try to do anything predictable. I am unique, pressure to stay in any box. UQOGVJKPI FKHHGTGPV &WTKPI VJG Ć’TUV I don’t have to turn into “Anita Wilsonâ€? or year of my solo project, I began to Sometimes artists feel they travel quite a bit and I fell in love with become someone I am not. city, the energy, and it still had that need to stay where they were the Root: What is your favorite song on the country feel to it. I love being able to go CNDWO! there and spend time, as well as spend and that just isn’t me. time with my family in Chicago. It’s fun Anita Wilson: It’s hard, but I would have and God has blessed me to reside in to say “Keep Doing What You’re Doingâ€?. two cities. It’s such a unique song because it goes from “Slow Jamâ€? to “Sunday Morningâ€?. I love songs that tell stories. If Root: &Q[QWRNCPQPUVCTVKPICHCOKN[CP[VKOGUQQP! you sit and let yourself listen to that six- minute song, it takes you on a journey. In the latter part of the song is where I feel it the most. “The Anita Wilson: I don’t know if I’m going to have any children. I am 38 years Real Meâ€? is also very special, intimate and transparent. Whether you’re old and I am very busy with my career. Sometimes I think about it and at work, home or church, we keep our mask on because we want people other times I’m thinking, “Maybe that’s not what God has for meâ€?. I am to think we have it all together. Sometimes when I post on social media, I not dead set against it, but I don’t know if I’m naturally maternal. I think may be having a super bad day, but I won’t post that because I don’t want I’m a good Auntie but I must say that I enjoy being busy with my career. RGQRNGVQVJKPM+ŨOFGRTGUUGF9GCNNJCXGVJQUGVKOGUDWVYGECPVRWV I know it won’t be forever and at some point I’m going to have to settle on a façade in front of God. That’s why “The Real Meâ€? is also one of my down but until then, I’ll give myself totally to my music career. Being 38 favorites. years old, I am aware that the clock is ticking. We’ll just see what the Lord says. I am a divorcee. I got married in 2006 and it was short-lived Root: Coming from singing in a group with Donald Lawrence & Company, and it was just too soon. That’s why I am not in a rush to get married CTG[QWĆ’PCNN[EQOHQTVCDNGDGKPICUQNQCTVKUV! again. God is working on me in the area of relationship and family.

�

Anita Wilson: I am! It took awhile for me to get to this place. On the other hand, singing always came natural to me so it doesn’t feel foreign, but CVĆ’TUVKVYCUCNKVVNGYGKTF+YCUWUGFVQEQOKPIQWVYKVJCITQWRQH people, but now it’s just me all by myself. I don’t normally go out with a band, so it’s just me, Rick and a track. Truthfully, the biggest transition for me being a solo artist is the fact that my style is different. It’s not super-duper “churchyâ€? and more “Middle of the road,â€? so that everyone can identify with it. Sometimes if it’s too much worship some people may not know how to connect with that. I have friends who have gone to church, experienced worship, and was afraid because they didn’t know what it was. Sometimes it can also be too “worldlyâ€?, so I try to keep a DCNCPEG+VYCUEJCNNGPIKPIVT[KPIVQĆ’PFVJCVDCNCPEGGURGEKCNN[YJGP KVECOGVQRGTHQTOKPIQPFKHHGTGPVOWUKECNRNCVHQTOUCPFVT[KPIVQĆ’IWTG

12 | ROOT

Root: When it’s all said and done, what do you want God to say to you and YJCVFQ[QWYCPVVQUC[VQ)QF! Anita Wilson: I just really want to make God proud. This may sound clichĂŠ but I want God to say, “You did good. You did what I wanted you to do and you did not compromise.â€? In this industry, it’s a lot of ways you can compromise. I have to be genuine with my heart because I have to lie down with myself at night. I want to say to God, that “My heart is for YOUâ€?. Sometimes we can be misinterpreted a lot and that hurts my feelings more than anything. I just want God to know that I’m glad that you know my heart and everything I do is to point people back to you.


ROOT | 13


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NOT SINCE DA TRUTH, LECRAE AND CANTON JONES, HAS THERE BEEN SUCH EXCITEMENT SURROUNDING A HOLY HIP HOP ARTIST IF YOU WILL. BUT UNCLE REECE IS NOT YOUR NORMAL TYPE OF NEW ARTIST. THE JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA NATIVE IS ALREADY TAKING THE WORLD BY STORM WITH AN IMPRESSIVE BUSINESS MODEL, POSITIONING HIMSELF FOR WHEN THE MUSIC STOPS... By Hasan James | Photography By Jay Harris and Lumaré Grubbs


GLADYS KNIGHT

IS AN AMERICAN TREASURE! AFTER SEVEN GRAMMY AWARDS (TWO IN THE GOSPEL CATEGORY) AND SIX DECADES IN THE BUSINESS, SHE’S BUSIER NOW MORE THAN EVER. WITH CENTRIC’S “APOLLO LIVE” AND A BRAND NEW ALBUM, GLADYS KNIGHT IS AS RELEVANT TODAY AS SHE WAS DURING HER MOTOWN DAYS WITH THE PIPS. KNIGHT TOOK TIME OUT OF HER BUSY SCHEDULE TO TALK TO US ABOUT HER START IN THE MUSIC BUSINESS, HER LOVE FOR GOD AND GOSPEL MUSIC. THERE ARE ARTIST, AND THERE ARE ICONS. GLADYS KNIGHT IS BOTH THE CONSUMMATE ARTIST, AN ICON AND A #LEGENDTHATISALL

IN THE BEGINNING… You know what, I’ve been doing this all my life. Truthfully, I started singing when I was four years old and had no idea what it was about. I just know people kept calling for me to sing. My parents cultivated my gift, but they still allowed me to be a child. I really didn’t realize the importance of my gift until I was a teenager. I basically sang out of obedience to my parents because they really believed in all of their children. They believed that whatever gifts God gave you, you should use them accordingly. I got married and started a family when I was fairly young, and my husband was an exceptional struggling musician. I woke up one day and I said, “You know, you’re a selfish old fool.” Here I have a way to help my family and I was sitting at home being a housekeeper. Right then it occurred to me that I should respect the God given gift that was given to me.

ON SUCCESS… When it comes to success I don’t look at it from the perspective that the average person may look at it. Even after all of this time, I’m still in awe of all of the love. We did the Hollywood Bowl a few nights ago and the place was packed! I am just so blessed to have a long-standing career and I don’t take it for granted at all. In this business you could be here today and gone tomorrow. Success to me is the people that I am surrounded by, awesome family, awesome friends and awesome fans.

LOVE FOR GOSPEL MUSIC… My love for Gospel music is something I’ve always had. The first time I ever sang a solo was in church. Our pastor, Rev. Smith, thought it would be a good idea to have a recital featuring ”Little Gladys” and they put it together and I had a photo taken for the recital program.

I remember being in the Sunbeam Choir and Ms. Williams being our piano player. We had to polish our shoes on Saturday night, and lay our clothes out because we had to go to church the next morning. Gospel music was another way to touch people’s lives and be touched by God’s spirit. Every day that we wake up and take a breath, there’s something more that we need to know about this life on earth through His gospel and I love conveying the message through music because it uplifts me. Some people like to hear a sermon and others like reading the Bible, but God’s word becomes clear for me through music.

WHERE MY HEART BELONGS… I really love this album. I love this album because it’s a project I wanted to do for a while. With this album there is a sound that the new generation will be familiar with. I have a wonderful protégé that’s inside of my organization by the name of Brandon Avery Smith and he’s young and he wrote some songs that will inspire the younger generation to listen. I also went back and did some of the classics. My husband and Lionel Richie got together and re-wrote the song “Zoom.” I also recorded a song called “Life,” that my brother Bubba and I wrote many years ago. My good friend BeBe Winans also wrote a song called “In the Midst of the Rain” that is a favorite of my husband and me.

THE MESSAGE… Everything that I do is a gift from God, so whether it’s Apollo Live or singing, I feel like I am carrying a message that he wants everyone to have. With the way that the world is today, it is a must that we do our part. Anything that has to do with his gospel comes first in my life. No mater what else I’m doing, God is at the top of my list.


#LEGENDTHATISALL

AS TOLD TO ANDREA R. WILLIAMS PHOTOGRAPHY BY DEREK BLANKS


Root: After 26 years in the industry, what are your fondest memories, as it pertains to your music OKPKUVT[!ÇĄ

energy that I have on stage. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve always had a lot of energy, but as I get older, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m grateful to still do what I love, the way I want to do it.

Ricky: Every year, the choir and I would do an extensive tour of Europe. When my mother was alive, it was something that she always looked forward to doing. Gospel music has taken me all over the world and for me to be able to share that with my mom, who gave so much to my siblings and I, is one of the most cherished memories I have.

Root: Being from Chicago, what are your thoughts QPCNNQHVJGETKOGVJCVKURNCIWKPIVJGEKV[!+UVJKU VJGUCOGEKV[VJCV[QWITGYWRKP!

Root: When you debuted â&#x20AC;&#x153;Amazingâ&#x20AC;? at this yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Stellar Awards, there were some mixed reviews. Many people were not used to seeing Ricky Dillard and New G in that worship vain. Six months later, the song became the #1 gospel song in America for over VYQOQPVJU9JCVFQ[QWCVVTKDWVGVJCVVQ!ÇĄ Ricky: My team and I were very nervous. You never know how people will receive something new. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve done several worship ballads, but I know we are known for that hard-hitting choir sound and presence. â&#x20AC;&#x153;AMAZINGâ&#x20AC;? is a universal song for believers. It sends a message as to why we are so happy and honored to serve our God. With all of the EJCNNGPIGU YG HCEG FCKN[ HTQO Ć&#x2019;PCPEKCN UVTWIINGU family, health, employment, housing and just life in general, sometimes the only thing we can celebrate is having an AMAZING God. Root: Last summer another Brat Pack Reunion took place at GMWA in Atlanta. It has been rumored that there might be a Brat Pack Tour in the works. Is this VTWG!+HUQYJCVECPYGGZRGEV!ÇĄ Ricky: Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been talking about doing an album and a tour for a few years. It seems that the timing is almost right. Each of us, (Bishop Hez, Donald & I) have been busy working in ministry. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m just grateful that after all of these years we are still closely connected, great friends & genuine supporters of each other. Everyone has done so many great things. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m so proud of them! Generally, our performances together are just extensions of our relationships. We have fun & enjoy the opportunity to minister collectively. Donald is great at formulating unique ways for us to perform. Hopefully, sooner than later the album and tour will materialize. There are some legal issues that we have to take care of because we are all signed artists. That is probably the only hurdle we have to get past. Root: There is no choir director on the planet quite like you. Even after all these years, you still have so much energy on stage. How did your style of FKTGEVKPIEQOGCDQWV!ÇĄ Ricky: Thank you. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m passionate about the things I love. I love the Lord. I love gospel music. I love ministry. I love encouraging Godâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s people. I love watching Godâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s children enjoy themselves, so I guess my energy stems from all of those things. Sometimes Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m surprised that I have the amount of

Ricky: Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s terrible everywhere, not just in Chicago. Just about every major urban city has an influx of crime, but Chicago just has a spotlight on it. I am very disturbed by all of the killings. When I was a kid, we had trouble, but with every generation, come different means and greater opportunity to get weapons. The world has changed since I was a child for sure. I often pray for the safety of our children, families and loved ones. My mother taught me the value of prayer.

Root: Your name is synonymous with choir music. When you think of choir music, what names come to OKPFCPFYJ[! 4KEM[ÇĄ Mattie Moss Clark, Rev. Milton Brunson, and Pastor Charles G. Hayes are three names that immediately come to mind when I think of the history of the choir. These three (and so many others) have greatly impacted my life and my work. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s because of them, that people of this era associate me as the choirmaster. In truth, I was a student of all of them. They taught me discipline, structure, how to teach, harmonies, arrangements and how to maintain a large choir. These are lessons that no school on earth couldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve taught me.

â&#x20AC;?

Root: How is this â&#x20AC;&#x153;Amazingâ&#x20AC;? album (pun intended) FKHHGTGPVHTQO[QWTRTGXKQWUYQTMU! Ricky: Thank you again. â&#x20AC;&#x153;AMAZINGâ&#x20AC;? isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t very different from my previous works. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m very proud of this album because it is full of songs for the choir, praise team, dance ministry and soloist. These are songs that you can enjoy at the gym or while driving in your car. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a very balanced album. I was depressed before recording it and I was really contemplating whether or not if this should be my Ć&#x2019;PCNG+YCUPŨVUWTGKH+YCPVGFVQEQPVKPWGTGEQTFKPI because the industry is very challenging at times. The fans, in particular, are very hard on the artist at times. Fortunately, God has shown Himself mighty with this album and He has restored my strength and FGUKTGVQEQPVKPWGÇĄ Root:9JCVFQ[QWYCPV[QWTNGICE[VQDG! Ricky: Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll let the historians determine if Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m worth mentioning. However, I just want to be recognized as an equal to my musical forefathers. That would be a great honor. If I was able to inspire someone from giving up or encouraged someone to be an effective representation of Christ, then that is a great legacy.

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BY TOR O IN DER EREK EK K PH HOT O OG O RAPH HY BY DER REK BLA LANK ANK NKS S ST TYL YLIN IIN NG BY CAR A LT TON SPENC PE ENC NCE E

OVER THE LAST DECADE, RICKY DILLARD AND NEW G HAVE PROBABLY CLOSED OUT THE STELLAR AWARDS AT LEAST FOUR TIMES, YET AFTER 25 YEARS, THEY WERE STILL CONSIDERED THE “UNDERDOGS” OF THE INDUSTRY. YEAR 26, HOWEVER, HAS BEEN “AMAZING,” AS DILLARD WATCHED HIS ALBUM AND SINGLE OF THE SAME NAME SOAR TO THE TOP OF THE BILLBOARD CHARTS. RICKY DILLARD IS NOT NEW TO THIS; HE’S TRUE TO THIS AND SHOWS NO SIGNS OF SLOWING DOWN.

19 | ROOT


THE BENEDICTION THE PAYPHONE By Gene Burke

22 | ROOT

I know this may be hard to do, but can you remember a time when there were no cell phones? A time when the only way you can get in touch with someone was to hit them on their sky pager. Well in order for that person to contact you back quickly, they would have to dig deep in their pocket, pull out a shiny quarter CPF Ć&#x2019;PFŲ [QW IWGUUGF KV C pay phone! In 1995, there were reportedly over 2.5 million payphones in the United States. As of 2013, there were less than 500,000 (where are they?). Just like the kids of this present generation cannot imagine the thought of developing pictures at a drug store, the same can be said for a phone that you had to pay 25 cents to use for only a few minutes on a street corner. If you are thinking that life is so much easier now, letâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not be so quick to dump the nostalgia of the payphone for the luxury of a pint- sized computer that you can talk on. The payphone did not consume every waking moment of your day. The payphone didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t talk back to you or get interrupted for non-payment (although it did threaten to terminate your call if you didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t put an extra nickel in the slot). Furthermore, the payphone had a time limit. There was no time for awkward silence or silly text messages with acronyms that you need a dictionary to understand. Sure, modern technology is great and we love our iPhones and Galaxyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s, but the fact remains that life was much simpler when we werenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t held captive to technologically savvy gadgets. Lest we forget, The Payphone.


5th Anniversary Edition! Issue 17

Oct/Nov 2014

Call Me MRS.

CHANDLER The Former Mrs.

Damita Haddon Breaks Her Silence

RICKY DILLARD From Underdog to Top Dog GLADYS KNIGHT #LegendThatisAll

THE WARDLAW BROTHERS MY BROTHER’S KEEPER

UNCLE REESE

GOES HARD

PAINT

IN THE

Root Magazine  

Issue 17 • Oct/Nov 2014

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