Page 1

Issue 19

HUSTLE, GRACE STYLE, BEAUTY, AND ANOINTING =

DORINDA CLARKCOLE

Apr/May 2015

SAE YA LATER! PG14

PLUS+

#USC #JONATHANNELSON #BRITTNEYWRIGHT

AND MORE!

DON JACKSON’S STELLAR CAREER

WHOSE WORLD ISDAVID THIS? & TAMELA

MANN PROVES THAT IT’S A MANN’S WORLD


In This Issue Dorinda Clark-Cole .........................5 Brittney Wright ...........................…..7 Don Jackson .……................................9 David & Tamela Mann .….............……11 Kingdom Couples ............................20 Flip Cover L. Spencer Smith..............................18 Tasha Page-Lockhart......................21 Dewayne Woods ..............................22 Stories From Selma........................24 The Walls Group .............................26 The benediction...............................30

Editor-In-Chief: Hasan James Senior Art Director Fatima Williams-Burke www.LURmarketing.com Contributors Chandra Deal Jeanelle Drysdale Elaine Tina Frazier Meta Washington Torin Derek Carlos Hale Michael Gordon Donald Lawrence Samantha Sims Ebony Holland Karima Kibble Heather Martin

Photography Raymond Alston Derek Blanks Joe Henderson Management Shawn Gibbs for The Firm Artist Management Shawn.TheFirmManagement@Gmail.com

Sales Larif Hamm Sales2@RootMagazineOnline.com

Printing Shweiki Media

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

Editor's Note Believe it or not, every now and again I have to pinch myself when I think about all of the people I have interviewed and crossed paths with over the last six years. I literally remember meeting Erica and Tina Atkins at the Essence Awards in 1999 when they were background singers for Yolanda Adams. The following year, they were known to the world as Mary Mary, and had one of the biggest Gospel hits in recent history with their debut single, “Shackles.” In 1995 as I toured the world with Hezekiah Walker and The Love Fellowship Crusade Choir, David and Tamela Mann was traveling the world with Kirk Franklin and our paths crossed numerous times throughout that summer on the Six Flags theme park tour. And how could I forget the “Is My Living In Vain” and “You Brought The Sunshine” albums that adorned my grandfather’s record player. Talk about nostalgia! As I reflect on those moments, I realize that all of our steps were ordered and that this is what full circle moments are made of. This issue of Root Magazine is yet another great issue that celebrates the greatest genre of music in the world- Gospel! This issue is special because it bridges the gap between our younger demographic and our older demographic, as The Walls Group and Dorinda Clark- Cole appear on dual covers. The Walls Group have exploded over the past six months and have attained notoriety that other artist and groups spend a lifetime trying to attain. While Dorinda Clark- Cole shows and proves why she is considered one of the hardest working women in the industry. Speaking of hard work, David and Tamela Mann are no slouches when it comes to hard work either. This “Kingdom Couple” juggles a reality show, network television show, touring and family with ease and they even found time to appear in two segments of our publication- one on marriage and the other simply discussing “The Mann Clan.” The beautiful ladies of girl group, VIRTUE, take us on a journey to Selma, Alabama on the 50th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday, in a riveting story entitled, “Stories from Selma.” My notes to you are always bittersweet because although I love showing my gratitude and take pride in making you aware of what you have in store, I’m excited for you to read another labor of love from me and the Root crew to you. Love, Live, Life!

Hasan

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


Showroom | 212.273.9770


DorindaClark C The dynamics of a singing group is usually pretty one sided because everyone usually favors the lead singer. With the Jackson 5, Michael was the clear cut favorite for most. Diana Ross was the breakout star of The Supremes, and when you mention Destiny’s Child, BeyoncĂŠ was undeniably the lead singer without question. However, when you mention The Clark Sisters and who everyone’s favorite is, you will get a different answer from each person that you ask. Most musicians favor Twinkie for her writing ability and the way she handles a Hammond B3. Karen Clark- Sheard is well‌.Karen Clark- Sheard! Jackie’s subtle approach to a song is unmatched and Dorinda’s raspy alto, along with her sisters’ perfect harmonies, is what makes The Clark Sisters one of the most adorned groups in music history. Growing up, The Clark Sisters were a mainstay in my house and my mom was apart of that group of people who danced to “You Brought The Sunshine at Studio 54 in New York City. Ironically on a brisk winter evening in the same city where that song made history, I had the privilege of doing an indepth interview with my “Gospel Crush,â€? The RoseDorinda Clark- Cole! -AS TOLD TO HASAN JAMES On her latest project “Living Itâ€? Joe “Flipâ€? Wilson put his foot in this record! I had

God is going to allow people to really see where they are. The Bible says, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.�

+XÄ?OH

On Social Media Being a member of The Clark Sisters, there is a certain fan base that comes with that. However, being a solo artist allows you to build your own individual fan base. As a preacher, it is our goal to reach as many people as possible. This is why I have been very active on social media lately; the young people have embraced me and I am so thankful for that. Typically when you get a little older, the young people tend to gravitate more towards Kierra or J. Moss, but I am glad that I am able to stay relevant and innovative, so that I can continue to do ministry on another level.

Grace

On Preachers of Detroit I’m really glad to be a part of Preachers of Detroit. When I was asked to be a part, they were seeking two females this time because they had all males in Preachers of LA. When they chose me, I thought to myself, “This is going to be interesting.� I have a lot

Anointing the pleasure of working with him and some other phenomenal writers this time around and I got to YKVPGUUVJGKTGZRGTVKUG6JKUYCUVJGƒTUVVKOGVJCV+ was actually apart of a writing session. I had always JGCTFCDQWVYTKVKPIUGUUKQPUDWVVJKUYCUO[ƒTUV experience doing one. Flip put me in a room with all of these writers and they listened to my testimony and came up with this record. This time around I wanted to do something a little different and change up the producers, so that I can appeal to everybody. I COTGCNN[RTQWFQHO[ƒTUVUKPINGō$NGUU6JKU*QWUGŏ because I think that everyone can relate to it. There is something going on in everyone’s house, from sickness to disease to bills. I just believe that

Style

On Expanding her brand It’s important that every artist expand their brand because you don’t know how long you’re going to be

to offer being a woman in ministry for more than 30 years. I am also one of the highest- ranking women in The Church of God in Christ, as the Assistant Elect Lady in the Evangelism Department and at my local EJWTEJ)TGCVGT'OOCPWGN%1)+%6JGƒTUVUGCUQP of Preachers of Detroit is really good and naturally there is some drama because you can’t have a reality show without a little bit of drama. With me, VJG[ŨTGVT[KPIVQƒIWTGQWVJQY+COLWIINKPIOKPKUVT[ and balancing my family life with my husband and daughter. The cameras come into my house and we discuss family and the trials and triumphs of our city of Detroit. Motown is on the verge of making a major come back and as the spiritual gate-keepers, we’re FGƒPKVGN[VT[KPIVQDTKPICTGXKXCNKPVQVJGEKV[

KPVJGURGEKĆ’ECTGCUVJCV[QWCTGYQTMKPIKPYJGPKV EQOGUVQOKPKUVT[5KPIKPIKUO[Ć’TUVRCUUKQPDWV+ was always one who wanted to try new things. I’ve always loved fashion and as a kid, my mother would tell me that I had a “shopping demonâ€? because I always stayed in the mall. I currently have a fashion line that is doing very well and I’m actually working on another one. I also have my own radio show and I host two television shows so it’s quite a bit to juggle. We’re also embarking on a children’s line and putting some young kids into the fashion world. “Darling DoDoâ€?, is the girls’ line and “Adinrodâ€? which is my name spelled backwards; is the boy’s line. Expanding your brand is really important and I keep it going because you never know when you will have to shut it down for good. On a Clark Sisters Reunion 9GTGEGKXGFQWTĆ’TUVVJTGG)TCOO[CYCTFUYJGP we did “Live, One Last Time.â€? We were making it our last time but after talking with Bishop J. Drew Sheard, who is the President of Karew Records, he thinks we should do “Live, One Last Time‌ Again.â€? Hopefully in the near future we’ll all be able to come together CICKPCHVGTYGHWNĆ’NNQWTUQNQECTGGTQDNKICVKQPU On her mom, Dr. Mattie Moss Clark I miss her fussing and throwing shoes! I miss my mother so much, but I can see myself walking in her footsteps. I am the only one of her daughters that’s carrying her mantle. When I’m in my zone, I’m always thinking of her and I can hear her talking to me and telling me how I should do certain things. I miss mom’s her inspiration and how she would always encourage us. Sometimes when I feel like I need to talk to someone and I want to know what mom would say, +Ć’PFO[UGNHRKEMKPIWRVJGRJQPGCPFFKCNKPI 7919, but no one is on the other end.

Beauty


Cole

Sometimes when I feel like I need to talk to someone… ,ċQGP\VHOI picking up the phone and dialing 864-7919…

7 | ROOT


SHINE -Hasan James

Brittneyy Wright has been on the come up for quite some time, but with her sophomore project “Fight 4 U” shockingg the gospel world, it’s now w her time to SHINE! Root: Your second album “Fight 4 U” was a shocker for many people (I mean that in a good way) because it was so well produced, veryy versatile and the songs were well written. You don’t typically have that type off synergyy from an independent artist. What is the difference between “Fight 4 U” and your debut album, “The Beginning?” BW: Wow, well thankk you so much for the love on this new w album. I must admit I am veryy excited about ”Fight 4 U”. Honestly, I thinkk the difference is life, growth and relationship. “The Beginning,” I believe was just that. It was myy beginning, my introduction to the industryy as an artist. I needed that experience to get to the place that I am today. I tookk some time off ff to grow w and to groom my relationship with God. I needed him more than I needed notoriety, more than friends or even a dating thatt time. d ti relationship l ti hi att th ti I needed d d tto ffocus and listen to him clearly. God had so much that he needed to say to and through me. I am just so grateful that he chose me. I am not saying that it was an easy process but if it is worth getting, it’s worth fighting for. However, the sacrifice, the tears and the lessons learned were well worth it in the

8 | ROOT

end and “Fight 4 U” was birthed in the process. Root: Most beheaded in Jesus. Does meaning to

recently, Libya for that type your title

21 Christians were taking a stand for of stand bring new track “Fight 4 U?”

BW: Absolutely!!! Seeing unfortunate situations like what occurred in Libya makes me fight even harder for God, so that people could know w who he is and to delight in the abilityy to worship my God freely! It’s amazing to see that people, even after seeing situations like what occurred in Libya, take advantage off the opportunityy off free worship. It’s crazyy that people still have to be coaxed into a worship experience, rather than freely giving him all just because of who he is. I love where in 2 Corinthians 12:10 says: “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.” Then in the previous verse it says: “Myy grace is sufficient or adequate or enough for you and his power is made perfect in myy weakness”. It’s because off this grace off thi grace, the th sufficient, ffi i t amazing i God that I will fight until the end of the earth to prove his love for me and the love that he has even on the least of us. That’s just where I am with my relationship with God at this point in my life. I want all of him!! I’m fighting for him!

Root: You are one off the best singers on the scene today. Whyy is Brittneyy Wright still an indie artist? BW: Wow, now w that is huge off you to say, thank you so much for thinking so highlyy off me. I am completelyy humbled byy that, thankk you. Honestly, I can’t tell you whyy Brittneyy Wright is still an indie artist, lol. I must admit I love the grind that comes with this part off the territory. It gives you a certain push; hunger and drive that makes you want to be a better artist and the stamina to want to win because people don’t expect much from the “underdog”. I would love the opportunityy to change that, but until then I love the indie lane that I am in. Root: Jesus Christ is a given, but who else influences you to want to sing? BW: Off course myy relationship with God is a given, but truthfullyy I love meeting people, whether it is in person or via social media and theyy tell me their testimonies from listening to myy music. It’s trulyy humbling and you never know how w much something that you say, sing or do, can affect life or th their ff t someone’s’ lif i walk lkk with ith God. G d It really helps me keep going despite any setbacks or roadblocks that I might face in this “music industry”. That makes it human and makes it connect for me. I love God and his people, so to be able to serve him and encourage people through his music is amazing!


Pastor Marlon Lock is coming to a city near you in 2015 with “The Deliverance Tour.” We would love to include your event on our tour! For more information on booking, go to: www.oghbyrg.com For radio and PR contact: Tammy Taylor, One EnTiTy www.oneentity. com or call 615-876-9886


THE

DON how it all began‌

AS TOLD TO META WASHINGTON

#VŨKPEJGUVCNNKVŨUFKHƒEWNVVQOKUUVJKUFKUVKPIWKUJGFIGPVNGOCPYJGPJGGPVGTU CTQQO[GVXGT[HGYRGQRNGQWVUKFGQHVJGIQURGNOWUKEEQOOWPKV[TGEQIPK\GVJG OCPCUUQEKCVGFYKVJVJGDTCPFJGETGCVGFCPFTGRTGUGPVGFHQTVJGRCUV[GCTU %'1CPF(QWPFGTQHVJG5VGNNCT#YCTFU&QP,CEMUQPURGCMUECPFKFN[YKVJ5KTKWU :/ŨU/GVC9CUJKPIVQPCDQWVCNNVJKPIU)QURGNCPFVJGEGNGDTCVKQPVJCVYKNNOCTMKVU thCPPKXGTUCT[QHVJGƒTUVCPFQPN[OWUKECYCTFUJQYKPVJGEQWPVT[VJCVJQPQTU OWUKECTVKUVUYTKVGTUCPFKPFWUVT[RTQHGUUKQPCNUHQTVJGKTEQPVTKDWVKQPUVQVJGIQURGN OWUKEKPFWUVT[

MW: This year marks the 30th anniversary of in terms of the artists, as well as the record the Stellar Awards. Take us back those 30 companies and the fans. The growth of the show is really a testament to our community, [GCTUCIQ*QYFKFVJKUXKUKQPĆ’TUVDGIKP! not just the African-American community, but DJ: I was a neophyte when I was introduced our broad faith based community and how VQIQURGNOWUKECVVJG)/9#KPVJGGCTN[ŨU they’ve accepted the music and the brand. Dr. Johnnie Coleman, who was immediately WUJGTGFFQYPHTQPVQPVJGĆ’TUVHNQQTYJKNGO[ MW: You attended Northwestern University ticket was for the balcony, invited me to the on a basketball scholarship. How did you show. The show started late and just as I got make the transition from athlete to a national ready to leave, the show began and knocked VGNGXKUKQPRTQFWEGT! me back in my seat! I said to myself, why isn’t this kind of music showcased on television? DJ: + YCU VJG ECRVCKP QH O[  DCUMGVDCNN Two hours into the show, I said, “I’m going VGCOCV0QTVJYGUVGTP#VQPN[Ũ+YCUPQVVJG to make sure this show gets on television.â€? top scorer but I was however, the top rebounder. Afterwards, I contacted the GMWA as they I had an internship in my senior year at CBSwere getting ready for their convention, so TV in Chicago and that is where I really got a it was up to me to make sure I followed up feeling that I wanted to be in the entertainment and when I did, all of the doors just opened. industry. After I graduated from Northwestern, It was like God opening up the Red Sea for I was a sales manager at a radio station, but me to walk through it. The television stations VJGP + NGHV KP  VQ UVCTV O[ Ć’TUV EQORCP[ I approached loved it and said we’ll put it on Don Jackson & Associates. We were doing in primetime and the advertisers said “Oh we marketing and promotions at the time, and I love the ideaâ€? and decided to put their money had all of my marketing clients in a local parade DGJKPF KV 1PEG VJCV YCU UQNKFKĆ’GF + YGPV VQ called the Bud Billikin Back-to-School Parade. the gospel music artists and told them that +UCYVJGOCIPKĆ’EGPEGQHVJGRCTCFGVJGHCPU this was something that they needed to be part and crowd with no violence and thought this of and they immediately said yes. It was that is the type of images that needed to seen on kind of support that we’ve continued to receive television. The parade was on Saturday, so on over the past 30 years. God has delivered the that following Monday, I immediately called advertisers and the gospel music community WGN radio station in Chicago. They kept

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TGHGTTKPIOGVQFKHHGTGPVFGRCTVOGPVUUQĆ’PCNN[ they transferred me to the sales department and this guy gets on the phone and says “Can I help you?â€? and I said “First of all, don’t refer me to any more departments. I have been referred VQ Ć’XG FKHHGTGPV FGRCTVOGPVUĹŹ + UCKF ĹŤ+ŨO &QP Jacksonâ€? and before I could say why I wanted to talk to him, this guy says “I know who you areâ€? and I said “Wait a minute‌what do you mean you know who I am?â€? then he said, “You are a Wildcatter you played for Northwestern, I’m a fellow Wildcatter myself. What can I do for you my friend?â€? That’s God working for you when you step out and don’t know what He has laid out for you. He set me up for a lunch meeting with the general manager. The general manager said we know this is the largest African American parade in Chicago and the reason we don’t televise this parade is because it’s the only parade that takes place outside of downtown in our community. He said, I apologize but our crew is mostly white and I would be ashamed and I don’t know what kind of response my crew would get in that area so I said, “I’ll tell you what, I’ll get my crew and we will produce it.â€? He stood up; put his hand out, and said “Great, you got a dealâ€?. That is what got me started in television production.


MW: &Q[QWTGECNNYJQVJGĆ’TUV5VGNNCT#YCTF VQUVTGCONKPGVJGRTQEGUU1WTCEEQWPVKPIĆ’TO MW: Over the past 30 years, many changes TGEKRKGPVUYGTG!9JCVYCUVJCVĆ’TUVVGNGXKUGF QHĆ’EKCNN[VCDWNCVGUCNNQHVJGXQVGUCPFDGECWUG have taken place with the gospel music genre UJQYNKMG! it is online, it’s done rather quickly. From there as a whole. Have any categories been added or it’s pretty much done instantly and they verify TGOQXGFHTQOVJGPQOKPGGDCNNQV! DJ: +FQ&WTKPIVJGĆ’TUVVGNGECUVVJGTGEKRKGPVU it and that’s how we come up with our four DJ: No categories have been removed and we were Mahalia Jackson, Mattie Moss-Clark, nominees in each category. still have the traditional and quartet categories Thomas Dorsey and James Cleveland. 6TCOCKPG*CYMKPUYCUQWTĆ’TUVJQUVCPFUJG MW: Among this year’s honorees, President in place. What we have added is categories was just beautiful. We had no teleprompter so Barack Obama was selected to receive the like Urban Inspiration, Praise & Worship and she read from cue cards. The performers were prestigious Thomas A. Dorsey Most Notable Hip-Hop & Rap, but we still have traditional the Winans, Shirley Caesar, The Mighty Clouds Achievement Award. Why was he selected and and contemporary choirs to really keep with of Joy and The Thompson Community Singers, YKNNJGDGCVVJG5VGNNCTUVQTGEGKXGVJGCYCTF! the change in terms of the genre of gospel music. We are delighted to see the growth and each of them performed two or three times because it was a two-hour show. At that time, DJ: In our contact with the White House we of contemporary gospel with acts like Kirk there were no cordless mics so we had wires all were informed that he could not receive an Franklin, Mary, Mary, Tye Tribbett, Canton over the stage. We had lit the performance of award so we have changed it to a Stellar Jones and Da’ T.R.U.T.H. The energy they bring Shirley Caesar for her on stage but Shirley got Honor of Distinction for service. The Stellar to gospel music is just phenomenal. We are into the song and went into the audience and Achievement Award is going to the late Andrae also pleased to see the collaborations that are we didn’t know how to follow that so we just Crouch. The White House cannot give out his taking place with the younger artists singing followed her throughout the audience and we schedule in advance for these kinds of events with some of the traditional artists. had to extend the mic cords all over the place HQTUGEWTKV[RWTRQUGUUQYGECPPQVEQPĆ’TOKV and the people were just shoutin’ and praising until the week of, then they would have to come MW: There’s been a lot of industry discussion God. At that time, our set was not the best and into the venue to make sure of certain security about the state of gospel music. Concert we did not have the budgets that the Soul Train options. However, we do know that at the very attendance is down and the expenses involved Music Awards, American Music Awards and least we are going to receive a special video with traveling with a full choir have now made Grammys had, but the spirit and the music message from the President for the Stellar it less desirable to have more traditional took over and has kept us in the forefront Awards telecast. church groups. How do you think this will for 30 years. Another person who helped us ultimately affect the future of gospel music QWV VTGOGPFQWUN[ QP VJCV Ć’TUV UJQY YCU VJG MW: For countless years the Stellar Awards CPFVJG5VGNNCT#YCTFUCUYGMPQYKVVQFC[! legendary “Queen of Gospel,â€? Albertina Walker. have been held in Nashville. Why the change She had so much energy and she helped us get VQ.CU8GICU! DJ: Change is evident in terms of the future artists when nobody knew about The Stellars. of gospel music. It is bright and it is growing She was our front person who everyone knew DJ: The change occurred because we wanted because of the infusion of the younger artists and she’d say, “Ya’ll need to be hereâ€?. She was to air the Stellar Awards on one of the largest bringing different forms of music and style to our Pied Piper, that’s why we named our Female faith based holidays in the country and that is this genre that has been known to be strictly Vocalist of the Year Award after her. Easter Sunday. The only way we could do that traditional. In my opinion, I don’t think that was to move the taping back to late March. quartets and choirs will ever go away. We make MW: *QYCTGPQOKPGGUUGNGEVGF! In the city of Nashville, there were no venues it a point at the Stellar Awards to always include that could accommodate us at that time. All choir performances. Ricky Dillard and New G DJ: We’ve come a long way. First, we have a of the venues schedules were booked, the will be coming back again this year and we are Nominee Committee of representatives from hockey season started and it just became opening up with choirs and we’ve even added the gospel music industry and all of their names FKHĆ’EWNVVQNQEMFQYPCHWNNYGGMCP[YJGTGKP praise dancers to a lot of the performances. CTG EQPĆ’FGPVKCN 6JG[ EQOG VQIGVJGT PQV VQ Nashville. The Orleans Arena, who produces I think that the artists, the industry and the vote, but to review all of the entries submitted the Soul Train Music Awards, approached us record companies are going to rise to the by artists based upon meeting some very clear and their venue is twice the size of anything occasion and make the necessary changes criteria that we put in place. Each year, they go we had in the city of Nashville, and they were to bring more innovation to gospel music, as through all of the various projects, and if there pleased to accommodate us for that full week. it pertains to music, lighting and audio. As I are some they are not clear on, they screen and This permitted us to have the show produced stated earlier, choirs are going to be around, listen to them. It’s a two- day process that’s and turned around so that we could have the I just think the format and the presentation very detailed and after that period we release RTGOKGTGCKTQP'CUVGT5WPFC[6JGĆ’TUVCKTKPI may be different. I also believe that there will VJG PQOKPGGU KP GCEJ QH VJG  ECVGIQTKGU will be on the TV One network in prime time be a revival in the praise and worship arena, Initially there may be as many as 15 or 20 YKVJ DCEMVQDCEM CKTKPI CPF CHVGT VJCV Ć’TUV in terms of the direction it is going in and the CTVKUVQPVJGĆ’TUVDCNNQVYJKEJQRGPUWRXQVKPI week it will air in another 125 markets around Stellar Awards being one of the forerunners DGVYGGPQWT5#)/#OGODGTU#HVGTVJCVĆ’TUV the country in national broadcast syndication. that will assist in bringing it to the masses. round of voting, it goes from 20 entries in That is why the move came about and it just certain categories to 10. Our 2nd round of voting happened to occur on our 30th Anniversary. We /GVC9CUJKPIVQPC[GCTTCFKQXGVGTCPJQUV QHVJGOKFFC[UQP-KTM(TCPMNKPŨU2TCKUGQP5KTKWU is where the fans can cast their vote one time. think that it’s going to be sensational. :/5CVGNNKVG4CFKQ/GVCKUCNUQCĹŤ)QURGN We have utilized some of the voting tactics #PPQWPEGTQHVJG;GCTĹŹ5VGNNCT#YCTFPQOKPGG of other award shows such as The Grammys and the American Music Awards, in an effort

ROOT | 11


WHOSE WORLD IS THIS?

It’s a Mann’s World.

The names David and Tamela have become synonymous with one another, as the husband and wife team have created a multi-million dollar empire by being themselves. Stage plays, movies, #1 albums and television and they do it all together. How do The Mann’s do it all side by side and keep it all TOGETHER?

Root: What makes your show, Root: How does this character “It’s a Mann’s World,” different FKHHGTHTQOū/T$TQYPŬ! VJCPCP[QVJGTTGCNKV[UJQY! David: They are two totally David: We just started off different characters. Daniel with our natural family issues. is a suit and tie type of guy You get to see us in our true versus Mr. Brown- you know element at home. It’s not a how he looked. Although my lot of craziness, drama, and style of dress is not quite foolishness going on. Mr. Brown, people do get see me be in different costumes. Tamela: We’re regular There’s one episode where I homebodies. We just don’t deal am undercover as a biker dude with certain things. Our family and I play a priest in another. doesn’t handle things the way Whatever you can dream, I can other families handle things. be that character. We deal with it in a different type of way. If there’s an issue, Root: Are you both producers we handle it and move on. QPVJKUUJQY! Our family is all about joy and happiness. David: Yes! We are executive producers and co-creators of David: We resolve an issue the show. Basically, many of head on, rather than allowing it the stories are right form our to build up. home and the things we have gone through being a blended Root: Tell us about your show family. We bring all of those “Mann and Wife” premiering in experiences to the show. #RTKNQP$QWPEG68! Root: How have the two of you Tamela: “Mann and Wife” is managed to go from singing about a blended family. David’s with Kirk Franklin to becoming character’s name is Daniel actors to Tamela having a gold Mann and my character’s name TGEQTFHQTCUQNQRTQLGEV! is Toni Mann. My daughters and I are from Texas and we move Tamela: David made me! to Atlanta with my husband Initially we were just doing the Daniel and his two sons. plays and by me singing so much in the plays, David said David: My mother lives with us that I should do a solo project. I told him that I really didn’t want and she doesn’t like my wife. to do that and he looked at me and said, “You’re too good to Tamela: She thinks I’m trying to just be a background singer.” take her spot. David: As a newlywed couple, YG CTG VT[KPI VQ ƒPF C YC[ to blend these two families together. In the meantime, I’m a detective. Tamela: And I’m a teacher VT[KPIVQƒPFYQTM David: People really get to see me in a different light than what they’re used to.

ROOT | 12

David: I just knew that there was more in her than just doing background. We did that one project and I saw that she can act to. I didn’t want her to just be a “one trick pony.” That’s why this year we’re going after more movie roles and television shows. I think it’s important that you don’t get stuck in a box, but expand yourself. In doing so, you don’t always have to be in the forefront. We plan to produce

The Cast of Mann and Wife

other artists and other shows in the future. Tamela: These days you can’t put all of your eggs in one basket because you just never know. One thing I learned from promoters’ years ago was that if you don’t believe in yourself and invest in yourself, no one else will. Root: You both are a part of the American Diabetes Association. What is the importance of being a part of VJKUITGCVKPKVKCVKXG! David: For me, I am a spokesman for the American Diabetes Association. I decided to become a spokesperson because I was diagnosed with diabetes years ago. I didn’t set out to be a spokesperson, it just happened that way. I did so much research that they decided that I should tell everybody else. I just want to get the word out there and tell people to get tested. Knowledge is power and there are so many people who don’t even know they have diabetes. It has become an epidemic, but there are still small things that we can do to prevent it, from reducing your sugar intake to walking.

The Cast of It’s a Mann’s World

Tamela Mann singing Take Me to the King

Root: Will there be a David Mann album coming anytime UQQP! David: I will probably do a song with Tamela on one of her RTQLGEVUKHUJGECPƒPFCUQPI VJCVƒVUOG+ŨOPQVIQKPIVQ be doing all of that screaming, that’s her thing. She would JCXGVQƒPFOGCPKEGCPF easy song to collaborate on. Tamela: He says that now, but he backs out every time.

David and Tamela Mann


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SAE Ya Later! Sigma Alpha Epsilon Scandal By Chandra Deal

Just when you feel like the world is becoming one, there is always something to remind us that equality will forever be a UVTWIINKPIĆ’IJV1PN[JQWTUCHVGTEGNGDTCVKPI the 50th anniversary of the civil rights demonstration in Selma, Ala., a nine-second video surfaced with student members of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity chapter at the University of Oklahoma boisterously clapping and chanting racist lyrics to the tune of “If you’re happy and you know it.â€? “6JGTG YKNN PGXGT DG C PK

 5#' ;QW ECP JCPIJKOHTQOCVTGGDWVJGECPPGXGTUKIP YKVJOG,â€? the group cheered.. The following FC[-CVGN[P)TKHĆ’VJ RTKPV'FKVQT QH 7 QH 1 student newspaper received an email of the disturbing clip and from there, a widespread action combating racism ignited. Since the video emerged, SAE national headquarters immediately closed the university chapter and revoked membership on the campus. University of Oklahoma President, David Boren, took it a step further by implementing a “Zero Toleranceâ€? campus campaign.

It’s unfortunate that in a time of much needed compassion and encouragement, the cry for societal unity is once again disrupted. “The only way you put a stop to it is have zero tolerance when it is found out,â€? he told a CNN reporter. Boren called the actions disgraceful and has severed all ties with the fraternity and called for immediate expulsion of the members. College campuses around the world are uniting to take a stance against racism; GNKVG QHĆ’EKCNU CTG URGCMKPI QWV YKVJ intolerance. The video was disturbing on all NGXGNUCPFKVŨUPQVVJGĆ’TUVQPGVQGOGTIGQH this nature. It is much easier to perpetuate injustice and retaliation; however, it serves a greater good to continue to move forward in the peaceful revolution that Dr. King and other great civil rights pioneers initiated. We can’t change ignorant behaviors or discriminatory practices, but love is the greatest power that transforms the heart.

ROOT | 14

Nothing to Fear By Michael Gordon

Jonathan Nelson’s Fearless LIVE Recording Faith Center- Sunrise, Florida February 20, 2015 Over 3,000 people waited in anticipation for the latest installment from Baltimore, Maryland native, Jonathan Nelson. As the band starts to play, Nelson and his background vocalists take the stage. From the onset, Jonathan opened our hearts and mind to what the future of worship and gospel music will sound like. From the old school 90’s feel, all the way across the globe to South Africa, you won’t have any reason to skip any songs on this, Jonathan’s ‡Â?‡†‡„—–ƒÂ?†Ď?‹”•–•‘Ž‘’”‘Œ‡…–Ǥ The featured artist on this album was nothing to laugh at either. Kim Burrell brought the house down with a song entitled “Brand New,â€? while the energetic Tye Tribbett, made us dance and shout to “I’ve Got Victory.â€? South African singer, Sonnie Badu, offered up that South African worship feel to a song entitled “Ba Ba Oh,â€? that is sure to bring the listener straight into worship. I’ve never experienced a LIVE recording where they stopped to pray ˆ‘”–Š‡Â?‡š–‰‡Â?‡”ƒ–‹‘Â?ÇĄ„—–Â–ÂŠÂƒÂ–ÇŻÂ•Œ—•–™Šƒ– happened when Jonathan and his father, Bishop Nelson prayed for the youth of the future. Grammy winners Donald Lawrence, Jacky Clark- Chisolm, and Tasha Cobbs are Œ—•– ƒ ˆ‡™ ‘ˆ –Š‡ ƒ”–‹•–• ™Š‘ …ƒÂ?‡ ‘—– –‘ support their fellow worshipper.

Urban Soul Cafe Indie Pick By Carlos Hale TJ Pompeo is sure to be the break out artist of 2015. Signed to Da’ T.R.U.T.H. Mixed Bag Entertainment, the rapper/singer released his FREE EP, “I’m Perfect,� on March 10th. During last year’s Post Stellar Awards Party at B.B. King’s in Nashville, TN, this young man commanded the stage with a high- energy performance and up-tempo grooves. Soon after, his name was flying across social media as one of the artist to watch. TJ’s music is a mixture of Pop, Hip-Hop, Soul and so much more. Don’t sleep on TJ Pompeo. Follow @TJPompeo


KINGDOM COUPLES Is it possible to have an effective marriage when you work with your spouse? The answer is a resounding YES! However, those vows that you both took will at some point be tested. “To have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, from this day forward until death do us part�. You don’t understand the magnitude of those vows until you have to live them out. Successful marriage is built on effective communication with the ability to work together. A few key elements that are essential to marriage are honor, respect, preparation, prioritization, commitment, joint decision- making, sex, and fun. The divorce rate in America is at an astounding 50% and believe or not, divorce among Christian couples are at an all time high. Statistics aside, there are still many couples in the gospel music industry and in Christendom, who have a mission and a vision for their marriage. Through the good and the bad, they continue to walk together as one. Let’s meet them. –Elaine Tina Frazier, MBA, MCC, BA, BBC

and living a balanced life. You have to make a decision every single day that you’re going to walk in love; I’m not waiting for a feeling or a goose bump. I decided that I am going to love Creflo and be right by his side no matter what�. 2CUVQT %TGHNQ 6CHƒ &QNNCT 2CUVQTU  'PVTGRTGPGWTU Atlanta, GA

What is the key to making marriage work in this day and CIG! “With the television show and all of the stuff that we are doing, our marriage is the number one thing in our lives. marriage requires work, but it is so worth it! We not only LOVE each other, We LIKE each other. Bishop George and Pastor Mary Searight- Abundant Life Family Worship Church, New Brunswick, NJ ÇĄ *QY FQ [QW GHHGEVKXGN[ QXGTEQOG KPĆ’FGNKV[ KP [QWT OCTTKCIG!

It is priority over our kids, our work and everything else. At the end of the day, when the kids and everybody is gone, it’s going to be just us. It’s a must that you make your marriage priority over everything�. “For us, our marriage working is priority. Divorce is not an option. We just genuinely love each other and love being around each other. I don’t just like him. I love him�. David and Tamela Mann- TillyMann Ent., Cedar Hill, TX How do you deal with challenges like sickness and disease KP[QWTOCTTKCIG! “Marriage is two people becoming one, so you’re tested

There are not too many married couples that can work together on a consistent basis. How do the two of you work VQIGVJGTQPCDWUKPGUUNGXGNCPFUVKNNMGGRVJGOCTTKCIGHTGUJ!ÇĄ “The way we keep our marriage fresh is by always putting QWT OCTTKCIG Ć’TUV 9G NQXG VJG HCEV VJCV YG ECP YQTM together, but when we see that it causes friction, we know when to walk away. Gerald and Tammi Haddon the production and songwriting team, will always be secondary to Gerald and Tammi Haddon the High School sweethearts from the Midwest, who are just in love with each otherâ€?. Gerald and Tammi Haddon- Producers, Los Angeles, CA What is the key to keeping a successful marriage in the URQVNKIJV! “Walk in forgiveness and surround yourself with people who are doing it right. You have to prioritize ministry, family

daily. Men and women deal with certain issues differently, so when you add a crisis like being diagnosed with Stage 3B %CPEGTKVECPFGƒPKVGN[VGUV[QWTOCTTKCIG1WTTGNCVKQPUJKR was not tested, but we were tested in areas of our mind and in our faith. We decided to change our eating habits and only shared what we were going through with certain people. Praise God that WE celebrated being cancer free KP1EVQDGTБ)QFECNNGFWUVQFQITGCVVJKPIUHQTVJG Kingdom so we knew this was not a death sentence�. Mike and Tina Gamble- CLI Media and Radio, Atlanta, GA

9J[KUVJGFKXQTEGTCVGUQJKIJKPVJKUFC[CPFCIG! 6JG FKXQTEG TCVG KU JKIJ DGECWUG RGQRNG CTG UGNĆ’UJ CPF the level of commitment is no longer in marriage. Couples GPVGTÇĄOCTTKCIGYKVJUQOCP[QRVKQPUKPUVGCFQHJQPQTKPI VJGEQXGPCPVVJG[OCFGQPVJGKTYGFFKPIFC[ÇĄ 9GCTGJWODNGFCPFÇĄJQPQTGFVQDGCPKPURKTCVKQPVQUKPING & married couples. It is never as easy as it looks but what [QWUGGKUVJGGPFTGUWNVQHJCTFYQTM9GDQVJÇĄTGCNK\GVJCV

ō;QW ECP QXGTEQOG KPƒFGNKV[ GHHGEVKXGN[ YKVJ VJG JGNR QH God almighty. With man some things seem impossible but with God all things are possible. I worked out my own strategy for an entire year and I failed at it miserably, so UKPEG+EQWNFPŨVƒIWTGKVQWVQPO[QYP+VJQWIJVō9GNN)QF I guess I can try you wholeheartedly since I am failing on my own.� I then ran to God and I began to read the bible, study his word, pray, fast and do every single thing that ultimately I knew to do and it worked out for us. The bottom line is if I’m calling myself a Christian but this is hard and some things are unforgiveable, so if you forgave Judas, how could I not forgive my husband? I really pleaded with God to show me how I could be more like him. I was willing to do everything that it took to move past that situation. At one point I literally wanted to die, so if I was going to keep living, I didn’t want to just survive, I wanted to thrive. If you say that you can do exceeding, abundantly above all that I can ask or think, here’s my stuff, here’s my dreams, here’s my questions, so what are you going to do

with this? And God made an amazing miracle out of my mess. It is possible to heal, it is possible to recover, it is possible to not live your life n fear, anxiety, discontentment and insecurity, and I dealt with all of that! Honestly, I felt schizophrenic at times but through all of this, God gave me my mind, my joy and my peace back and I had to come to terms with what transpired. I accepted the fact that I can’t change what happened, so I accepted it. I’m grateful that I had an experience that taught me how to trust God. I forgave, I let it go and I am enjoying a relationship with the potential that I thought I would never see realized. I stuck my marriage out for better and for worse and now it’s better than it’s ever been�. Teddy & Tina Campbell- Artists & Reality TV Stars, Los Angeles, CA

17 | ROOT


supportive and two are in college now. The twins are in college and one is about to be a senior in High School. My son is at Morehouse and my daughter is at Spelman. I have an incredible staff with the two churches and for the last 17 years I have been molding them for this season. I believe that where God’s grace sends you, His grace can keep you. For me, having all of these particular hats, praying, and knowing when to rest is key and I am still working on that. I realize that every opportunity is not a “yesâ€? opportunity and every door is not a door that God has opened. ROOT: The title of your current album is Unstoppable. What does ĹŤ7PUVQRRCDNGĹŹOGCPVQ[QW! L. Spenser Smith: “Unstoppableâ€? was birthed out of the redundancy that we hear on the radio. When I was growing up, radio was there to break an artist and not to be repetitive. If you’re not the top 30, that’s all you’ll hear. Everybody is trying to crack the Top 30, but in order to do that you have to have a certain sound and you may have VQUCETKĆ’EG[QWTQTKIKPCNKV[/[FGUKTGYCURWVQWVC.+8'TGEQTFVJCV VQQM WU DCEM VQ YJCV IQURGN OWUKE HGNV NKMG KP VJG ŨU YJGP VJG[ actually did LIVE records. Gospel music is not about the music, but it’s about the moment. Sometimes in gospel music, we tend to over produce the moment. “Unstoppableâ€? was my life’s journey and the HWNĆ’NNOGPVQHC[GCTRTQOKUG)QFOCFGOG I can remember standing on stage next to Karen Clark-Sheard singing “I Won’t Complainâ€? back in college. I wasn’t supposed to do it, but Karen said “I will not do it unless you do it as a duet.â€? I said to Karen, “I can’t sing with youâ€? and she said, “Well, I’m not singing the song.â€? Donald Lawrence said “You have one choice, either you sing the song or sing the song with herâ€? Twinkie Clark and Donald pulled me to the side and said “You have longevity in this industry, let me take you under my wing.â€? I started writing for Men of Standard and Marvin Sapp, at the same time being mentored by Twinkie and Donald. I can remember standing on the side of the stage and the Lord said, “Can you give this up for me?â€? I said to God, “I’m 23 years old, are you serious? I’m about to take offâ€? Donald Lawrence was on the rise then with “Bible Stories,â€? Twinkie never faded and I was apart of The Clark

Sisters’ reunion, because they hadn’t sang together in years. God said, “If you give it up for me, I’ll give it back to you.â€? I said “Whatever.â€? #HGYOQPVJUNCVGTO[HCVJGTKPNCYFKGUCVVJGCIGQH6JGEJWTEJ I pastored in Tuscaloosa was my father-in-law’s church. The Lord said to me “Can you give it up for me?â€? I remember calling Donald and I told him that they were looking for a Pastor. He said, “Spencer, if you do this, I know you, you’re going to leave gospel music because you’re going to give it your all.â€? Needless to say, I did it. I always wanted to do solo records but I didn’t think I was good enough to do solo TGEQTFUDWVVJCVYCUVJGRTQOKUG*GOCFGOGCPF1EVQDGT YCUC[GCTHWNĆ’NNOGPVĹŤ7PUVQRRCDNGĹŹVQOGKUPQVLWUVCDQWVVJG moment in that concert, it’s the moment I recognized that God is truly faithful to His Word. 41169JCVŨUQPGQH[QWTRTQWFGUVOQOGPVUCUCPCTVKUV! L. Spenser Smith: The day we found out that “Unstoppableâ€? reached QPVJG$KNNDQCTFEJCTVUO[OGPVQT&QPCNF.CYTGPEGECNNGFOG I was getting off the airplane waiting at baggage claim and he told me that from beginning to end, this is some of the best songwriting, singing and production he has heard. Donald Lawrence is very particular when it comes to music, so that was an honor. He told me not to look at the charts because I’m trying to build a career. He said, “If you look at the charts, then you’ll think you don’t have a career.â€? He went on to say, “I’m not on the charts, but I’m selling records. It’s smoking mirrors. Be true to who you are and be true to what God has given you. If God has given you “Unstoppableâ€?, then work that.â€? 41169JQCTG[QWTHCXQTKVGRTGCEJGTU! L. Spenser Smith: I have many but my all time favorite preacher would have to be Bishop T.D. Jakes. He has learned how to constantly be TGNGXCPVUKPEGVJGŨU*GKUCNYC[UTGNGXCPVVQVJGVKOGCPFTGCNK\GU it’s more to it than just preaching. He is the perfect example to what Kingdom preaching is in terms of the global market place. Bishop 4CNRJ&GPPKUKUCPQVJGTQPG#V[GCTUQNFVJKUOCPKUKPETGFKDN[ relevant with an amazing mind. Those men are two of my favorites. 41169JCVCTVKUVUCTG[QWKORTGUUGFD[VJGUGFC[U! L. Spenser Smith: I’m really checking for is Mali Music. He is a major warning to Gospel, especially when you don’t embrace versatility. He’s fought through rejection from the industry and has become an icon in music for this generation. It’s a warning to me and Gospel to say “How many others will you lose before you all become fully encompassing?â€? Lecrae is another one who did it his way. Hip- Hop and Christian Contemporary has embraced him before anyone else would but now that he’s mainstream, everyone is trying to claim him. For me, I’m looking at the business savvy moves Lecrae and Mali are making. Even as a preacher, I’m looking to make some of those same moves. I’m not limited to church venues. That’s why there’s a song like “Teach Meâ€? on my record, because I can take a song like that to SOB’s and rock out! I think I am every genre of music. I’m Country, Rap and all of that kind of stuff. 41169JCVKU[QWTHCXQTKVG68UJQY! L. Spenser Smith: ĹŤ#&KHHGTGPV9QTNFĹŹHQTOGUKIPKĆ’GUGXGT[VJKPIVJCV is positive about our next generation. I think it is very smart that TV One is still playing “A Different Worldâ€? in heavy rotation. The greatest season of a young person’s is when they go to college and get an education. Even though you know what’s going to happen in every episode, I just love what the show stood for and what it stands for in terms of showing African American youth what we should look like in the context of our future.


Pastors who happen to sing come a dime a dozen. There’s Donnie, Hez, William, Both Marvin’s and many others. All of these men have had major success, acquiring gold and platinum plaques, Grammy nominations and awards and a steady fan base. As a Pastor, L. Spenser Smith is pastor of two churches. As a songwriter, he has written songs for the likes of Marvin Sapp and Men of Standard. As an artist, he has had moderate success but the quality of his music simply does not match his popularity as an artist. His latest offering “Unstoppable” is just that, a collective of songs that are top notch from beginning to end and can stand toe to toe with any other gospel album out today. 5QYJ[KU.5RGPUGT5OKVJ70570)! 41169JCVFQGUVJGQHƒEGQHC$KUJQROGCPVQ[QW! L. Spenser Smith: I was consecrated as a Bishop at 29 years old. In our reformation at that particular time, I was the youngest person ever consecrated. For me, it’s an apostolic assignment for my region in Alabama. I and my “spiritual father” saw early on that in order for me to do apostolic work that I was assigned to do; he had to credentialize me in such a way that the atmosphere would respond to me. Secondly, I had the desire as a young man. My grandfather is a Bishop, so I understood the polity, the title and the gravity very young because I grew up with it. From an assignment context, for whatever reason, God gave me sons and daughters in the gospel very early. I can remember telling my Bishop “Oh my God, I am just too young for

By Hasan James

this.” He said, “Didn’t the Lord send Joseph into Egypt before his children got there? Normally I wouldn’t do this, but I see Joseph in you. I have to do this so you can preserve a region.” Here it is 13 years later of being a prelate, I’ve seen His word come to pass and I understand the gravity of that day in July of 2001 when I became a Bishop. I’ve always carried myself as an old soul, so I see now why I had to be as young as I was then. I needed to be strong for the assignment and possess youthful dexterity and endurance for this assignment. These cats that’s coming up today, I don’t mean to throw shade, but they need the title because they have no other influence in the world so a “Bishop” is all they are. They’re just throwing on red and purple shirts that you can get from Wal-Mart. There has to be a level of understanding because people’s lives are at stake. ROOT: How do you balance ministry, music with being a JWUDCPFCPFHCVJGTVQVJTGGMKFU! L. Spenser Smith: It’s been a journey. My wife and I are college sweethearts. We’ve been talking about this journey for quite some time. She met me during her freshmen year at Florida A&M University. I’m the only boyfriend she’s ever known since her freshman year of college. She had that the ability to help me foster my dreams at a young age and I could not do what I do without her. She organizes our life in such a way that I’m able to navigate and change hats without losing my mind or her love for that matter. My children are very


ROOT

SPOTTINGS

Anniversary 5thCelebration

On Friday, September 19, 2014, Root Magazine celebrated their 5th Anniversary in grand fashion. Check out some highlights of the special evening!

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Photography: Raymond Alston and Joseph Henderson

1: Bishop Hezekiah Walker accepting his Lifetime Achievement Award. 2: Brother Ron hosing Root Magazine’s 5th Anniversary Celebration. 3: Khare of Baltimore, MD in his element at Root Magazine’s 5th Anniversary Celebration 4: Root Editor-In-Chief and his Family 5: New singing sensation Pastor Marlon Lock (pictured in the center) with Root Contributors Jeanelle Drysdale and Desmond Morrison 6: eOne Recording artist Anaysha Figueroa- Cooper performs her hit single “Holy One” at Root Magazine’s 5th Anniversary Celebration 7: Season 2 Sunday Best Finalist Latice Crawford sins her heart out at Root Magazine’s 5th Anniversary Celebration 8: 2-time Grammy nominee Anita Wilson performs her hit “Jesus Will” at Root Magazine’s 5th Anniversary concert. 9: Sunday Best ıUVWPDOHZLQQHU-RVKXD5RJHUVLQIXOOZRUVKLSPRGHDW5RRW0DJD]LQHŖVWK$QQLYHUVDU\&HOHEUDWLRQ 10: Guests enjoyed specialty Root Magazine cupcakes by Delicate Creations 11: Root First Family 12: Myron Butler closes the show with power and might! 13: La Familia! 14: Kierra Sheard worshipping at Root Magazine’s 5th Anniversary Celebration 15: Root Correspondent Jasmine Sacarello interviewing Ms. Kala from Praise 103.9 16: Kierra Sheard going IN as she sings “Second Win” at Root Magazine’s 5th Anniversary 17: Firm Artist Management CEO, Shawn Gibbs, awarded the Editor’s Award 18: Philadelphia Rappers We Are The Saints raise the roof at Root Magazine’s 5th Anniversary Celebration 19: Root Magazine’s Sr. Art Director, Fatima Burke, presented with the Editor’s Award 20: +DVDQDQG.HıD5ROOHUVRQSRVHIRUDSLFDIWHUKHUSHUIRUPDQFH


TASHA Page-Lockhart

Is different

Over the past two years, Tasha Page Lockhart has gone from singing in plays to international gospel star. It doesn’t hurt that she was the winner of Sunday Best Season 6 and the protĂŠgĂŠ of one, Kirk Franklin. The Detroit native also has a Top  $KNNDQCTF JKV HQT JGT XGT[ Ć’TUV UKPING entitled “Differentâ€? and her second single “Faith Come Aliveâ€? is soon to be her next big hit. What makes Tasha Page Lockhart UQ&KHHGTGPV! Root: What made you audition for Sunday $GUV! TPL: A family friend called me and said that the Lord placed it on his heart to send me VQCWFKVKQPHQT5WPFC[ŨU$GUVÇĄ+TGCNN[FKFPŨV take it seriously because I didn’t want to do KVÇĄ#FC[NCVGTO[EQWUKPUGPVOGVJGNKUV QHUQPIUVQCWFKVKQPÇĄ+TQPKECNN[VJGHCOKN[ friend and my cousin didn’t even know each other and were both encouraging me VQCWFKVKQPÇĄÇĄ5Q+VQQMVJCVCUCUKIPHTQO )QFVJCV+PGGFGFVQFQKVÇĄ6JGPGZVVJKPI+ know I was on a flight to Houston. Root: Is the music industry all that you VJQWIJVKVYQWNFDG!9JCVCTGUQOGQHVJG EJCNNGPIGUQHDGKPIKPVJGOWUKEKPFWUVT[! TPL: YES!!! Because I grew up in the business watching my parents, therefore I felt equipped and knowledgeable about the industry; the good, the bad and the WIN[/[DKIIGUVEJCNNGPIGKUÇĄDGKPICPGY

CTVKUVÇĄ  +V KU C RTQEGUU QH RTQXKPI [QWTUGNH CPFĆ’PFKPI[QWTRNCEGYJGTG[QWJCXG[QWT own identity, all while sharing the stage YKVJ IQURGN ITGCVUÇĄ ;QW FGĆ’PKVGN[ JCXG VQ pay your dues to reach certain platforms CPFUVCIGUÇĄ Root: Your debut album “Here Right Nowâ€? is very diverse and showcased your range as an artist and a songwriter. Were you completely happy with the reception of [QWTFGDWVCNDWO! TPL: I’m very happy with the reception QH VJG CNDWOÇĄ  + ECPŨV TGCNN[ CPUYGT VJG question because there is still so much life KP VJKU CNDWOÇĄ  /[ Ć’TUV UKPING ĹŤ&KHHGTGPVĹŹ YCULWUVCVCUVGQHYJQ+COCUCPCTVKUVÇĄ I am still blown away with how the nation JCU GODTCEGF VJCV UQPIÇĄ  9G CTG PQY in the process of setting up my second single “Faith Come Alive,â€? so the journey continues... Root: You are nominated for multiple Stellar Awards this year and you are also performing. How exciting is this journey HQTC[QWPIYQOCPHTQO&GVTQKV! TPL: I’m excited and nervous at the same VKOGÇĄ1XGTVJG[GCTU+JCXGDGGPKPXQNXGF in the Stellars singing background for QVJGT CTVKUVU DWV VJKU VKOG KU URGEKCNÇĄ  6Q be nominated in four different categories and to be performing my music is a dream come true.

BY J.S. WILLIAMS

TPL: We had so many great teachers from Motown, Berry Gordy, Stevie Wonder, #TGVJC (TCPMNKP CPF UQ OCP[ QVJGTUǥ /[ Grandfather’s group, The Monitors; were actually signed to Motown, so at an early age it was nothing to see my home ƒNNGF YKVJ VJG NKMGU QH 6JG 6GORVCVKQPU Commissioned, The Winans, The Clark Sisters and countless others.

TPL: At a young age, while I was in grade school, a family member and a friend of the HCOKN[OQNGUVGFOGǥ#VVJCVVKOG+VJQWIJV this was happening to all my peers too, so I PGXGTMPGYVJKUYCUF[UHWPEVKQPCNǥǥ6JGUG YGTG ENQUG HTKGPFU QH VJG HCOKN[ CPFǥ CP actual family member abusing me, so + PGXGT VJQWIJV VJKU YCU YTQPIǥ  #NN QH the hurt from my past as a result of the molestation resurfaced when I really got UGTKQWU CDQWV O[ YCNM YKVJ )QFǥ  + JCF to learn to forgive the abusers as well as myself because I refuse to be a victim of my past. God used my husband, Clifton Lockhart, to show me what real love is. That’s how I was able to overcome.

Root: You are an incredible and anointed singer. What is it about the city of Detroit that it birthed so many amazing singers, DQVJKPVJGIQURGNCPFUGEWNCTYQTNF!

Root: You are very transparent about abuse you suffered in the past. Can you expound on some of the things you went VJTQWIJCPFJQY[QWQXGTECOGVJGO!

Root: Your mother is the legendary Lisa Page- Brooks. Do you ever feel like you are NKXKPIKP[QWTOQOŨUUJCFQY!ǥ TPL: I feel the pressure to be great because O[OQOKUITGCVCPFCOC\KPIǥ+EQWNFPŨV have a better teacher than her. Sometimes I feel like I don’t have the tools to live up to such a great legacy, but it’s amazing to be able to watch her and still learn from her. The fact that I get to perform with her is like the icing on the cake. There is nothing like it in the world!

4QQV+H[QWEQWNFQPN[NKUVGPVQĆ’XGCNDWOU HQTVJGPGZVĆ’XGOQPVJUYJCVYQWNFVJG[ DG!

TPL: 1. R.A. Vernon & The Word Church Praise Team - We’re Amazed, Vol 2 2. Oleta Adams - Evolution ǥ/CTXKP9KPCPU#NQPG$WV0QV Alone ,CUQP0GNUQP,GUWU4GXGCNGF 5. Freddie Washington - The Jesus Record

21 | ROOT


WE HAVEN’T HEARD FROM MULTIPLE STELLAR AWARD WINNER DEWAYNE WOODS FOR QUITE SOME TIME. HIS HIT SONG “LET GO”, WAS A GIFT AND A CURSE IN INDUSTRY STANDARDS BECAUSE THE SONG WAS SO HUGE THAT IT MADE IT HARD FOR FANS TO FULLY EMBRACE HIS SOPHOMORE PROJECT. THE PAST IS NOW BEHIND HIM AND HIS LATEST ALBUM, “LIFE LESSONS” GAVE HIM HIS HIGHEST DEBUT EVER, COMING IN AT #2 ON THE BILLBOARD GOSPEL CHARTS. WHAT “LIFE LESSONS” HAS MR. WOODS ENDURED IN THE LAST FOUR YEARS? LISTEN UP! CLASS IS IN SESSION.

BY TORIN DEREK ROOT: Why did you decide a four-year break between

to take albums?

DeWayne Woods: There are multiple reasons why I took so long. I felt like I didn’t have a voice in the industry. I struggled a lot with self-esteem issues after the second record and I felt like I didn’t measure up. I felt as if my voice didn’t match anyone else’s because I couldn’t do all of the riffs and runs. I began to measure myself up to others that I admire in the industry and I kind of went low and was beating myself up a little bit. I am the type of person that believes before I produce a record; there are some things that I have to live out. Everything in “Life Lessons” are the things that I had to live out over the past four years. Since then, I’ve been dealing with that, trying to make sure my daughter got through High School and trying to make sure things were taken care of at home. I was just dealing with life. I believe that if I had put out an album any time before now, it would not have sounded authentic. I just believe that this is the message that God has given me for right now. ROOT: What is the key purpose behind the development of this album? DeWayne Woods: I’ve built this record from people I’ve listened to over the last four years. I am a lover of music and I never feel like I should stick to one particular sound. If you love music, your sound varies in certain instances. Of course, this record is a lot different than “Let Go” and “My Life’s Lyric.” There was really a theme behind this record. It’s a matter of teaching people what I had to go through. We wanted this record to speak to life and there are things I had to learn and certain messages on there that speak life.

Everything that I’ve been able to compound or claim the victory over, there’s a song that’s written about that particular situation. ROOT: What is the story behind “Can I Lay in Your Arms” and “Friend of Mine”?

we postured ourselves on stage and even the way we handled ourselves in business. He always made sure we were prepared for the industry and I think that is so important. His teachings have made this journey easy. To stand in the footsteps of Donald Lawrence; he’s Donald Lawrence, he’s like Babyface. It’s hard, but I love it. Your gift will make room for you and bring you before great men. It’s a great thing to be connected to Donald Lawrence.

DeWayne Woods: One of the most valuable lessons that I’ve learned is that I must be a businessman in addition to being an artist. You’ll hear some things and it’ll mean one thing when you hear it. Once you experience life, it’ll mean another thing. I experienced some business issues with the people that I’ve worked with. Coming out of that, I’m still able to maintain some sense of integrity. I can really travel by myself while still being able to maintain and control everything. I have always been taught to do artistry and music but to also handle my business.

DeWayne Woods: All of these people are people I have admired over the years, such as Larry Waddell & Stokley Williams of Mint Condition. Mint Condition is one of my most favorite bands in the entire world and this was VJGXGT[ƒTUVVKOGVJCVYGŨXGYQTMGFYKVJVJGO I already had some kind of relationship with everyone else involved with the project. We’ve been friends with each other for years. Avery Sunshine and I are great friends and we live in the same city. I’ve also known Dave Hollister for quite some time and I go back 20 plus years with Gerald and Tammie Haddon. PJ Morton developed a sound for me. He wrote, “Let )QŬQPVJGXGT[ƒTUVTGEQTFCPF+ŨNNPGXGTFQC record without him. I feel like it’s so important when you have that type of chemistry, the sound, passion and heart is different.

ROOT: With your years in the industry, what are some valuable lessons you’ve learned?

ROOT: How did you go about choosing the vocalists and producers to use on this album?

DeWayne Woods: There’s a speech Debbie Allen would give at the beginning of the show “Fame”, which talked about your passion. Whatever you dream about, whatever you think about or whatever your passion is; that’s what you’re supposed to do. My mother sang the day she had me, so I don’t think I TGCNN[ JCF C EJQKEG + ICXG O[ ƒTUV EQPEGTV at six years old. I wouldn’t trade doing music for anything in the world. I’ve done it for so long and it never gets old. Every time you encounter people, you’re in front of a different audience so it never gets old. I really know VJCV+CONKXKPIQWVO[RCUUKQPVJTQWIJOWUKEǡ

DeWayne Woods: At the time of recording “Can I Lay in Your Arms,” I could not stop listening to Donny Hathaway. Although they are mp3 versions, I would play every Donny Hathaway album that I had. There’s one particular “Live” record that he has when he did an interview that I kept playing. He also said that he loved music and loved mixing different genres together. He was actually studying to be a classical musician when he was recording that particular record. When we started to record “Can I Lay in Your Arms,” I always felt that it had a Donny Hathaway feel to it. “Friend of Mine” was written and produced by Estee Bullock and it just had that grit to it! I automatically heard Anthony Hamilton and Dave Hollister’s voices on it. When I initially heard the track, it was just so funky and we were looking for something edgy. It was urban, choir and kind of quartet rolled into one.

ROOT: How do you live up to the title of being Donald Lawrence protégé? DeWayne Woods: It’s so hard. Donald has been the most incredible mentor. He’s wasn’t just my lead with Tri- City and The Company, but he was also a mentor who always made sure that he empowered us. He would talk to us and make sure we would learn and study. He would teach us different techniques in the studio with the way that we sing, the way that

ROOT: Why did you choose to be an artist?

ROOT: When the awards stop coming, the music stops and you’re ready to retire, how would you like to be remembered? DeWayne Woods: I want to be remembered as a person that was always hopeful. It is important to me that whenever someone encounters my music or ministry, they experience hope. It took a long time for me to get it; now that I have it, I want it for everyone. One thing I’m proud of is that I will always be Tatianna Naje` Woods’ father and that’s the most important thing in the world to me.


Class is Back in Session with DEWAYNE WOODS


Stories from Selma The ladies of the Grammy nominated group VIRTUE, reect on their experience in Selma, to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday. Karima Kibble Experiencing Selma is something I will not soon forget. I have an extreme amount of respect and gratitude for my courageous brothers and sisters, who were beaten, spit on, put in prison, and lost their lives. Commemorating this auspicious occasion with so many people made it even more special. It was truly an honor to be in the midst of such great talent and history. As many QHWUFKUEWUUGFYJGVJGTQTPQVYGYQWNFJCXGVCMGPCUVCPFDCEMKP+ would say that I would have rose to the occasion. Actually, I would not have thought twice about it. Fearful? Absolutely, but I was taught if you don’t stand HQTUQOGVJKPI[QWYKNNHCNNHQTCP[VJKPIÇĄ/[GOQVKQPUYGTGCNNQXGTVJGRNCEG as I crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge. At one point, the heaviness I felt was KPFGUETKDCDNG9CNMKPICETQUUVJCVDTKFIGOGCPVVJCVQWTĆ’IJVYCUPQVKPXCKP and our lives were forever changed. In the words of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “ We shall overcome someday;â€? these words are as profound today as VJG[YGTGDCEMVJGP9GJCXGFGĆ’PKVGN[EQOGCNQPIYC[JQYGXGTCUOQFGTP as times are, the struggle still continues. 50 years is not that long ago and CNVJQWIJYGJCXGUQOGYJCVQXGTEQOGQWTĆ’IJVHQTLWUVKEGKPVJKUEQWPVT[UVKNN continues. Let’s not let the work of our ancestors be in vain. Let’s continue to build one another up and educate ourselves. We can achieve more by working VQIGVJGTUVCPFKPIVQIGVJGTOCTEJKPIVQIGVJGTÇĄ5GNOCTGRTGUGPVUUVTGPIVJCPF courage, and I count it a privilege to have been included in the 50th Anniversary of such a profound moment in history.

Ebony Holland

As I boarded my plane to Birmingham, there were so many older black people on my flight. I immediately began to feel a sense of pride as we gave each other the eye and a slight smirk because we already knew we were all going to the same place. As we got closer to Selma, I didn’t know how I would feel. I kept telling myself not to get emotional but of course that was a lost cause. There were people everywhere; happy, smiling, giving away free water, selling T-shirts and food. When my sisters and I began singing as we walked across that bridge, I got so choked up. I thought about the movie Selma and how the people were slain, beaten, and killed on that horrible day. I thought about how they stood up for what they believed in and wondered to myself if I would have marched CPFUCETKƒEGFHQTQVJGTU+UVCTVGFIGVVKPIIQQUGDWORUCU+VJQWIJVCDQWV all the people who lost their lives on that bridge so that I could have the right VQXQVG+YCUHWTVJGTTGOKPFGFQHJQY,GUWUYCUVJGƒTUVVQUCETKƒEGJKUNKHG HQTWUVQJCXGCDGVVGTNKHG+COOQTGVJCPCRRTGEKCVKXGHQTVJGǥQRRQTVWPKV[VQ have graced the stage with so many others who shared my same sentiments. It was a blessing to be in Selma, Alabama and I am extremely glad that I had the chance to make history again 50 years later. *GCVJGT/CTVKPǥ My experience in Selma was eye opening, life changing, and humbling, to say VJGNGCUVǥ9GVTCXGNGFFQYPVJGTGQPEJCTVGTGFDWUGU(TQOVJGOQOGPV I stepped on that bus, I was transported into the past and all the stories of DTCXGT[CPFEQWTCIGDGICPVQHNQQFO[OKPFǥ+YQPFGTGFYJCV+YQWNFŨXGFQPG when faced with such injustices. I kept asking myself, had I been around at that VKOGYQWNF+JCXGOCTEJGF!ǥ9JCVYQWNF+JCXGFQPGVQEJCPIGVJGEQWTUGQH JKUVQT[!ǥ#UYGYCNMGFCETQUUVJG'FOWPF2GVVWU$TKFIG+HGNVCFGGRUCFPGUU for the lives that were lost there and the hurt and that took place on that very UCOGDTKFIG[GCTUCIQǥ+YCUCNUQQXGTEQOGYKVJCUGPUGQHITCVKVWFGHQT the people who cared enough about our future that they risked their lives for it. As I stood on stage next to my sisters and BeBe Winans, it was hard to sing, as I fought back tears looking at a sea of people standing, all in honor of freedom. I can honestly say that I will never be the same and I have made a few pledges HQTO[UGNH#NYC[UXQVGCPFƒPFQWVCDQWVNQECNKUUWGUKPO[EQOOWPKV[ 2. Always Love. 3. Never stop singing! The music that we sing is healing, PWTVWTKPICPFXGT[OWEJPGGFGFǥ/WUKEJCUCPFYKNNCNYC[UDGCXGJKENGHQTWU VQGZRTGUUQWTUVTWIINGUJQRGUCPFVTKWORJUǥ


THE STELLAR AWARD OF FASHION GOES TO... by Samantha Sims

Before the recognition and praise for your ministry Speaking of “Speechlessâ€?, I am preparing to be wow’d with QHOWUKE+YKNNDGVJGTGVQJCPFQWVVJGĆ’TUVCYCTFQH the various fashionable choices at the 30th Annual Stellar fashion. I will be sure to notice the extra effort that Awards myself. Of course there is excitement about the nominees and who will take home an award or two, but your beautician and barber put in to making your there is nothing like waiting to see who and what each style or cut perfect. I will remember to appreciate )QURGNCTVKUVYKNNYGCTQPVJGTGFECTRGV+FGĆ’PKVGN[JCXG the designer and stylist who decides if you should a long list of my favorite looks from the past Stellar Award wear that particular tie with the windsor knot, a bow shows, but one particular person comes to mind when it tie or no accessory at all with your tailored suit. The comes to true style. Her style is chic, classy, extremely designer and stylist that helped you choose between fashionable and trendy. She can wear a short cut with a a long or short gown with an occasional persuasion hint of color like very few can and she just so happens to to try a new look. I will admire the make-up artist that be nominated for two 2015 Stellar awards. Along with her amazing voice, anointed ministry and successful albums, enhanced your God-given beauty and facial features. dressed up or dressed down, there is nothing “vintageâ€? CDQWVJGTEQPĆ’FGPEGKPYJCVUJGYGCTU,WUVKPECUG[QW JCXGPQVĆ’IWTGFKVQWVD[PQY+COVCNMKPICDQWV/U#PKVC Wilson. Lastly, seeing as how I am closest to them, I will be amazed at your choice between a loafer, monk, double monk, oxford, chelsea boot or a different UJQG .CFKGU + YKNN FGĆ’PKVGN[ DG COC\GF D[ [QWT gorgeous show-stopping choice of a heel to complete your ensemble. Whether you put your look together yourself or if you were covered by a glam squad, I will help in the form of presenting you to the world! You will forget about the long hours, the waiting, headaches from making decisions, and the good and the bad parts of the process when you see OG(QT+YKNNDGVJGTGYCKVKPIVQIKXG [QWVJGĆ’TUV award of fashion. Prepare to leave me...speechless. Sincerely, The Red Carpet

When asked about her thoughts on being nominated for multiple 2015 Stellar awards and also trying to get a sneak peek at what she will wear, here is what she had to say: +ŨO ITCVGHWN VQ DG C  5VGNNCT #YCTF PQOKPGG + CO CRRTGEKCVKXG VQ /T &QP ,CEMUQP CPF 6JG 5VGNNCT #YCTFU HQTVJGTGEQIPKVKQPQHO[OKPKUVT[O[PFCNDWO8KPVCIG 9QTUJKR (CUJKQPYKUGJQYCTG[QWRTGRCTKPIHQT6JG5VGNNCTU! + CO EQPUKFGTKPI C HGY FGUKIPGTU KP VJG %JKECIQ CTGC + CNYC[URTGHGTVQIGVUQOGVJKPIVCKNQTOCFGUQ+ECPCEJKGXG VJGRGTHGEVƒV.QQMKPIHQTYCTFVQTQEMKPICEQNQT+ŨXGPGXGT YQTPDGHQTGCPFNQQMKPICPFHGGNKPIDGCWVKHWNCUYGEGNGDTCVG QPGQHVJGDKIIGUVGXGPVUKP)QURGN/WUKE

Describe your sound.

New artist Casey J may have the most played gospel song but she YKNNPQVNGVVJGKPFWUVT[FGĆ’PGJGT

My heart has always been for God’s people to JCXGCUQWPFǥ+COLWUVJGTGVQJGNRHCEKNKVCVG JKU RGQRNG KPVQ TGURQPFKPI VQ )QFǥ  +V KU PQV something that I own personally; I just stand in the gap for others to hear God’s voice through song.

BY HASAN JAMES

What can we expect from your upcoming CNDWO+JGCTF[QWTĆ’TUV.+8'TGEQTFKPIYCUCP amazing worship experience.

You currently have the number one gospel song in America and you don’t even have an album out yet. How was VJGUQPIō(KNN/G7RŏDKTVJGF!

On The Truth album you will hear a combination of Casey J singing, God’s people singing, and )QF UKPIKPI DCEM VQ WUǥ  6JG KPVGPV YCU VJCV KV YQWNF DG CP CWVJGPVKE YQTUJKR GZRGTKGPEGǥ  The album will be an accessible worship album VJCVCP[QPGECPUKPIǥ1XGTCNNVJKUKUCPCNDWO that sings of the truth of who God is, and then EQORGNUQVJGTUVQTGURQPFVQYJQ)QFKUǥ6JKU album is an introduction of me as a writer, as I share my personal worship with listeners.

My connection to “Fill Me Upâ€? was birthed out of a worship EQPHGTGPEG CV O[ JQOG EJWTEJÇĄ  + felt that God was calling me to pour KPVQ KPFKXKFWCNU URGEKĆ’ECNN[ YQTUJKR leaders that were pouring out in OKPKUVT[ÇĄ9GYGTGNQQMKPIHQTCUQPI that would capture the sentiment of that night and God brought the song ĹŤ(KNN/G7RĹŹDCEMVQQWTTGOGODTCPEGÇĄ This was a song that we heard a few months prior to the conference and we decided to release it that night FWTKPI VJG EQPHGTGPEGÇĄ  6JCV UQPI really captured my heart and little did I know that I would live that song out in my personal life for the next two years. When God was ready to release me out of my local church, I knew that was the song that I would use to start my new journey.

If you could name one artist that influenced you VJGOQUVYJQYQWNFVJCVDG! I would have to say Jason Nelson. He has KPHNWGPEGF OG VJG OQUV DGECWUG + Ć’TUV MPGY him as an artist and now I know him as a mentor and friend. He is able to write and minister UQPIU VJCV CTG CEEGUUKDNG HQT NKUVGPGTUÇĄ +V JCU been a great learning experience watching him balance artistry and ministry. That in itself has KPHNWGPEGFOGVQDGEQPĆ’FGPVKPYJQ)QFJCU called me to be and continue the assignment that He called me to do. I will not allow industry to be the gauge by which I measure my success.


Who are your musical influences? darrel Mama Walls rhea Tina Campbell, Kim Burrell, Le’Andria Johnson, Brandy and Bruno Mars paco Lecrae, Lee Williams and Frank Ocean ahjah I love Jazmine Sullivan, Brandy, Tasha Cobbs, Meaghan Williams, Kim Burrell, Usher, Tory Kelly and Rance Allen. You all are constantly on the road. What does The Walls Group do for fun? rhea We go to the movies, hang out, laugh and talk about each other, sing in the choir, play video games, shop. We do the same things other normal kids do. Oh and we like paintball. Is anyone in the group dating? darrel We’re focused on our music and career right now.

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rhea We have friends. ahjah I’m a nun (Laughter). What do you love most about this musical journey that you are on? paco I love traveling, meeting new people and visiting new places. I like putting myself aside and doing God’s work. darrel As time goes on, we grow creatively and passionately as a group and I love seeing our growth. ahjah I like the worship experience more than anything else. When I’m on stage I give God all of me, and I pray someone in the audience is changed by it. rhea I like meeting new people (celebs included). I love when people tell us how much our music has helped them. What’s next for The Walls Group? Will there be any solo aspirations? ahjah Solo? No, we’re just getting started (Laughter). We’re working on our writing skills and looking forward to touring more. We’re on our grind!

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Edit your profile The Walls Group Official This is The Walls Group’s official Instagram. We’re just an ordinary group of young people trying to impact the world 1 Song at a Time. http://www.thewallsgroup.org

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@elpacoooo

@musiqcity

@ahjaaaahhhhhh

For years, Fo Yo Soul Entertainment was the lone home to Gospel Superstar Kirk Franklin and then one day out of the clear blue sky we heard that Franklin had indeed signed his first act to his imprint. That group was a #young, #fresh sibling group from Houston, Texas known to the world as The Walls Group (Left to right: Rhea, Paco, Ahjah, and Darrel)... Their music is current, yet impactful, #inspirational yet #soulful.

@rheawalls

Are You Bouncing Off the Walls? You all are a part of the new generation of talent who became very popular on YouTube and Social Media. How did The Walls Group become such a social media sensation, and was it strategic? ahjah It wasn’t strategic at all, it kind of just happened. Our mother posted a video of us singing in the car on Facebook and her friends started sharing it. Someone took it off Facebook and placed it on YouTube and it went viral! We started receiving so many positive comments and decided to post more videos. We were singing from our kitchen and living room and I think people found us to be relatable and just enjoyed our family dynamic. Kirk Franklin is considered to be a genius in our field and he chose The Walls Group to be the first artist outside of himself to be signed to his Fo Yo Soul imprint. What does that mean to you as a new group?

paco That experience was amazing! The House of Blues Tour was our first tour and it never got old. We learned so much from Tye. He set us on fire! It was great watching him give God his best every single night. Within a five- month time span you released a #1 album, had a single in heavy rotation and got nominated for multiple Stellar Awards and even a Grammy. As young people, how do you handle all of these triumphs and stay balanced in the process? darrel I honestly feel like it hasn’t hit us yet. rhea It’s still so unreal. ahjah We’ve been on the road working so much. I don’t think we’ve had the chance to let it all sink in. It’s truly amazing that we’re here in this moment

darrel The fact that an artist like Kirk took a chance on four kids that no one knew just by seeing a videomeans the world to us! He imparted his knowledge and connections and we count that an honor. Before your first album was released you were afforded the opportunity to tour the nation with Tye Tribbett and Tasha Page- Lockhart on the House of Blues Tour. What was that experience like?

How was it having a star like Brandy featured on a gospel song with The Walls Group? rhea Kirk came to us and asked if we could have anyone featured on the album, who would it be? Hands down, we ALL said Brandy! She agreed and slaaaayed the track. I feel like we made history having her featured on a gospel album. We consider her family now. She’s like the fifth member of The Walls Group lol. We love her!

What are some of the challenges of being in a family group? ahjah How much time do you have (Laughter)? We all have very different personalities and are very opinionated. At times it can be difficult to deal with. Darrel is usually the fair one and as the group leader, we trust him to reel us back in. paco Sibling rivalry is a natural thing and we can’t avoid it because we live together. rhea There’s no filter with family, but it forces you to have thick skin. darrel Getting everyone to be “on” at the same time is sometimes challenging. Although it can be tough, we all agree that we wouldn’t want to do this with anyone else. paco Facts! There are not many artists your age singing gospel music. Do you feel like you have a responsibility to make music for the youth? paco I feel like we have a responsibility to make music for everyone but we’re glad that our music is relatable to young people. ahjah We want young people to know it’s ok to be cool, fresh, fly and love God.


THE

BENEDICTION

ANDRAÉ CROUCH 1942-2015

All good and perfect gifts come from God, our creator. However, every now and then, Heaven graces the Earth with a gift of unusual uniqueness that sets it apart from all other gifts.  Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley, Whitney Houston, Mahalia Jackson, Beethoven, Mozart, Stevie Wonder, and Mr. Andraé Crouch fall into this unique group.   Andraé Crouch, a gifted singer, songwriter, musician and vocal arranger. Andraé placed his own unique signature onto everything he touched. So much so that his work has transcended time and influenced each generation of music makers, those who shared the earth with him, and those who will hear his music in the future.  Born Andraé Edward Crouch, he was known as one of the co-creators of Contemporary Gospel music. Andraé infused Pop and R&B rhythms into his music, as well as multi-genre sounds combined with powerful lyrics of faith.  Not only did he create a fresh sound for Gospel enthusiasts, he also became the bridge between the black worship experience and the white worship experience as well as the bridge between the African worship experience and the Brazilian worship experience, reminding us all that music is truly a universal language.   If one were to fall asleep and dream that they had picked a rose, and then upon waking they still had the rose from the dream in hand, that person is called a “Waking Dreamer.” This best describes Andraé, as he was able to make his dreams a reality.  Andraé was a waking dreamer and his dreams came to fruition, from sold out concerts all around the world, to his collaborations with Quincy Jones, Michael Jackson and Madonna.  All of these dreams realized.  His work on the  Lion King,  The Color Purple, Dr. Seuss’s Yertle The Turtle, and his penning the theme song, “Shine On Me” for the hit sitcom Amen.  Not

only did all of these dreams become a reality for Andraé, many of his projects were recognized with prestigious awards, from Grammys to GMA awards, Stellars to an Oscar nomination. Not to mention Andraé has his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Andraé’s first song ended up being one of his biggest. Written at the age of 14 while he was in junior high school, “The Blood Will Never Lose It’s Power” is a timeless classic and will be around for years to come.  As a songwriter he had a unique way of delivering new material. Although musically Andraé’s sound was unprecedented, his music would tend to have a warm, comfort and familiarity to it as if it had been around for years, yet it didn’t remind you of anything you knew.   He once said he would hear songs in his sleep and once awake his right leg would be tapping to the rhythm of what he heard while sleeping. Once again a “Waking Dreamer,” able to hear it while sleeping and bring it back to a “Waking World.” I once heard Michael Jackson say that songs are spirit and we are vessels. God just chooses who will deliver the song to the world for them to sing. This idea would definitely explain Andraé. Everyone is born with a word inside of them.  This word is fertilizer to another’s potential. Once this word is released to them it places a demand on their potential. We are all sent to “Become” so that others can “Become.” Andraé placed a demand on the potential of many singers and songwriters around the world and watched them “Become.”  He has been an example, an inspiration, a guiding voice and a mentor to some of the biggest names in modern music. 

Andraé Crouch will be missed by many in so many different ways. As a person he will be missed.  As a family member and a friend he will be missed.  As an artist he will be missed.  As a voice of a generation and a man who broke down barriers, he will be missed.   His musical abilities will be missed as well.  From his skillfully soulful piano chops, to his creative approach to arranging background vocals, he will be missed.  From all aspects, Andraé will be sorely missed, but Andraé Crouch will never be forgotten.  During one of our many conversations, Andraé said to me:  “Artists sacrifice their entire life to do this. They travel around the world and miss out on monumental moments with their family.  They have to smile and encourage during times when they are sad and discouraged.   They do for others and sometimes they don’t get a thank you or a compliment, but because they have sacrificed to carry this Gospel,  God has blessed them with  Beautiful Feet.” Since that conversation many years ago, the following scripture has remained close to me; Romans10:15, as it was written: “How beautiful are the feet of The Messengers of peace and of The Messengers of good things!” Andraé, your steps were beautiful.  Thank you for allowing us to accompany you during some of the journey. You were and will always be an inspiration to me.  Let the church say Amen, Producer-Songwriter Donald Lawrence


Issue 19

DARREL | RHEA AHJAH | PACO

ARE YOU BOUNCING

THE OFF WALLS? PLUS+ #CASEYJ

#TASHAPAGELOCKHART

#DEWAYNEWOODS #LSPENCERSMITH

AND MORE!

Apr/May 2015

FIND OUT WHO THE

HOTTEST KINGDOM COUPLES ARE ON PG16

STORIES

FROMSELMA WITHVIRTUE

LET THE CHURCH SAY AMEN DONALD LAWRENCE REMEMBERS ANDRAÉ CROUCH

Root Magazine  

April/ May 2015, Issue 19

Root Magazine  

April/ May 2015, Issue 19