Tamela Mann is a Grammy Award winning artist, an actress, and a co-author with her husband David Mann. UrbanFaith contributor Maina Mwaura sat down with Mrs. Mann to discuss her most recent album, her career, and how her faith has led her to be an overcomer through every trial she has faced. The full interview is above.
As we navigate change in our world caused by the pandemic, social, economic, and governmental transformation, wisdom of all types is necessary. Leaders are trying to find new ways to engage those they lead and everyone is working to communicate more effectively in our dynamic moment.
UrbanFaith sat down with one of the most influential leaders in the world, Bishop T.D. Jakes who has seized the opportunity to share his insight and experience on how to remain faithful to our purpose as we communicate in our dynamic context. In his new book Don’t Drop the Mic he shares his wisdom on how to faithfully communicate regardless of the audience. It has been called one of Bishop Jakes’ best books as he explores clear and effective communication in our everyday lives and on the world’s biggest platforms. Bishop Jakes has led a megachurch with tens of thousands of members, The Potter’s House for decades, become an entrepreneur, filmmaker, talk show host, producer, and raise his children without dropping the mic. Two of his children are now successful pastors in his ministry network, Sarah Jakes Roberts and Cora Jakes Coleman. This book explores how he stayed true to his message while adapting his method through the years. Full interview is linked above.
Sam Collier just started his tenure as the new lead pastor of Hillsong Church’s Atlanta location and it has come with tremendous interest. Pastor Sam is pursuing many firsts; he is the first African American pastor at a Hillsong Church, he is the first black pastor in the Hillsong global network, and this is his first time as a lead pastor after spending years serving at 20,000+ member North Point Community Church with Pastor Andy Stanley. Hillsong Church is one of the most popular church movements in the world with locations on every continent except Antarctica, music that has influenced a generation, conferences attended by hundreds of thousands, and ministries that reach around the globe. Yet in the midst of racial unrest, a global pandemic, and economic uncertainty, Hillsong church has not had an African American in pastoral leadership…until now. UrbanFaith contributor Maina Mwaura sat down to interview Pastor Sam Collier about his decision, the challenges, and his hopes in his role as the first black pastor in one of the largest most recognized church movements in the world. Full interview is above.
This month is National Foster Care Awareness Month, an opportunity for people across the nation to learn about and speak about the challenges and opportunities of the foster care system in the United States. In honor of this month we are glad to share this interview with Steve Pemberton. Steve Pemberton is a man with an incredible story of resilience, determination and vision. After spending years as an executive, philanthropist, and speaker he decided to tell his story in his new USA Today Best Selling Memoir: A Chance In The World. Our UrbanFaith Contributing Writer Maina Mwaura had the opportunity to sit down with Steve and discuss the book and how his faith was at the center of his incredible journey from Foster Care to Fortune 500 companies and philanthropy.
In the era of Covid-19, one thing has become certain to artists who have learned to perform in rooms with little to no people — engaging to the cameras is essential. And when Gospel music legends The Blind Boys of Alabama stepped onto the stage for their Special Christmas Show streamed live Wednesday night on Mandolin, the old familiar spark lit up the stage.
“Well, here we are. The Blind Boys of Alabama. It has been a while, but we’re still here,” said Jimmy Carter, one of the group’s founding members.
Decked in shiny gold and black jackets with sequin bowties, The Blind Boys walked onto the stage as they usually do with one arm on each other’s shoulder. The five-time Grammy-award winning group is still at it after the original members met back in the 1930s as kids at the Alabama School for the Deaf and Blind in Talladega, AL. Carter, the only founding member still alive, opened the set featuring a mix of modernized Christmas classics and traditional Gospel music. Despite their age and the circumstances, they boldly belted out familiar, upbeat favorites, such as “Walking to Jerusalem,” “People Get Ready,” “Silent Night,” and “Higher Ground.” Virtual fans chatting alongside the streaming video were dancing and singing right along with them.
“Blind Boys, you made us dance! The Stevie song there at the end was such a nice, upbeat surprise! We’ve always loved that song. Thank you and Blessings!” said Caroline in Pennsylvania.
And concertgoer Maia said, “Big ups from Colorado! Been coming to your concerts for 35 years!”
Covid-19 has slowed down the group, who have toured for decades through some turbulent times — the Jim Crow era of the ’30s and ’40s and into the Civil Rights Movement. In the ’80s, they endeared a new generation after starring in the Obie Award-winning musical “The Gospel at Colonus.” And over the years, they’ve worked with popular greats Peter Gabriel, Ben Harper, Robert Randolph, Aaron Neville, Mavis Staples, The Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Allen Toussaint, and Willie Nelson. But at its core, the group is moved by the people and the church. And even though the unexpected break from traveling has given them time to bond with family and friends, they miss the live audience. Eric “Ricky” McKinnie, who lost his sight to glaucoma as a 23-year-old young man and has been with the group for 32 years, shares how he and the group enjoy ministering to people.
“Without people to come out, we wouldn’t be doing what we’re doing,” said Ricky. “My favorite place to sing is the church. There is something spiritual that takes place there. We want our songs to make people think and reflect on God. A lot of people get Christmas mixed up. It’s about the birth of Christ, and the life that He brings, which is abundant life.”