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PBS ‘Gospel’ Documentary Explores Black Spirituality Through Song and Sermon

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PBS has a new documentary series called “Gospel” that takes viewers on a deep dive into the vibrant and multifaceted history of Black spirituality. The four-part program, hosted by renowned scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr., explores the music and sermons that emerged via Black religious life in the U.S.

“Gospel,” premiering in February, not only traces the evolution of gospel music from its roots in slavery to its modern-day influence on pop and R&B. It also explores the profound role of the Black church as a center of community, resistance, and resilience. Through interviews with prominent clergy, singers, and scholars, the series aims to shed light on the profound impact of gospel music on American culture, offering viewers a deeper understanding of its enduring significance.

Related: ‘When Sunday Comes’ Author Talks Gospel Music’s Impact on American Culture

Gospel music is “the beating heart and soul” of the African American experience, according to Gates, also writer, host, and executive producer of the program.

“From the Great Migration to today, the history of Black gospel music and preaching is one of constant movement, and it’s long been a dream of mine to bring it to public television,” he said in a press release. “We’re blessed to have such outstanding partners in delivering this series and concert at a time in our nation when the need for Gospel’s transcendent, healing powers is so great.”

Related: Professor Charrise Barron Talks Teaching Protest Music’s Evolution From Gospel to Hip-Hop

McGee Media, Inkwell Media, and public broadcaster WETA produced the “Gospel” four-part documentary. It is scheduled to premiere on February 12 and 13, 2024. A special companion concert is also scheduled to air on February 9. That one-hour concert special, to be recorded live, is a celebration of gospel music and “its extraordinary impact on culture and pop music,” according to a press release.

Related: How We Got Over: The Case for Hope in Protest Music

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Faithfully Magazine is a fresh, bold and exciting news and culture publication that covers issues, conversations and events impacting Christian communities of color.


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