Compromising Positions: Erica Campbell
♫“LA told me, you’ll be a pop star, all you have to change is everything you are.”♫ –Pink (Don’t Let Me Get Me)
There have been many stories of artists feeling the same way Pink felt when she wrote those lyrics. They have felt the pressure to compromise to get to their desired level of success. This is when the decision has to be made to either stand your ground with the possibility that they may lose their deal or bend a little to please the people who are in positions of power.
The power players that hold a singers career in their hands will definitely want to mold your fashion style. Image can determine how sellable you are as an artist. Your look may be the first thing people see even before they hear the music. Every genre has a signature style; country has cowboy boots, male R&B singers have their open shirts with baby oiled chests and no matter what the genre it seems that the trend for female vocalists is to try blonde. Times are changing and lines are blurring. There are many examples now of square pegs fitting into round holes. No other style of music has been more reluctant to the change than Gospel. The word says that Christians are called to be separate, but the question is; how are you separating yourselves if you’re looking and acting the same way as everyone else?
♫“I don’t have a closet religion.”♫ –D. Peoples (Closet Religion)
Recently, gospel recording artist Erica Campbell of Mary Mary posted a picture of herself in a white figure hugging turtleneck dress that was the topic of conversation for the gospel community. Some said it was too worldly and she was compromising to crossover. While others thought the dress was classy and beautiful. Her response to Essence Magazine was:
“When we took the picture I felt beautiful, I felt confident, I felt sexy and I felt strong… I thought I looked cute. But it obviously offended some people, which was never the intention.” Campbell continues on to address sexuality in the Christian community, “This is about confidence and realizing that God made you and that you are beautiful just the way you are. I think that young girls shouldn’t only get sexy images from people who are not proclaiming Jesus. But I am. And I’m cute too.”
Dylanger Rose POV
I remember watching a gospel award show several years ago and with my animated mind I looked at the screen and thought, “I’m tired of seeing the women of gospel going on stage looking like Glenda the Good Witch.” So obviously, I think that a gospel artist like Erica Campbell is refreshing. She brings a youthful trendiness to the music. In exchange, she is more relatable to an audience who may not otherwise listen. Wearing ball gowns does not make you sanctified. All the fabric in the world can’t hide the hoe within nor can it magically make you holy. I understand the fear of her dress looking too sexual, but it didn’t bother me because it was just a picture. If she was running around on stage with all that booty bouncing, I may feel differently. It is not always about the clothing. It should be more about the content of your character. God judges the heart not the book by its cover. God is the creator of all things. He is the creator of creativity and made us all uniquely different. I say, be who He made you to be and express that through your clothing while keeping in mind who you represent.
When I came to my church in NYC, it was the first time I saw super fly people at the top of their industries who just happened to also have a passion for God. It changed my perspective and opened my mind on how a Christian should look.
For the most part, the only time your religion is in your closet is when you decide to hide the fact that you have one.
DR VID PICKS