The new PBS and WETA series, GOSPEL, from acclaimed scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr. explores Black spirituality through sermon and song. From the blues to hip-hop, African Americans have been the driving force of sonic innovation for over a century. But, while musical styles come and go, there is one sound that has been a constant source of strength, courage, and wisdom. It is a message that resounds from the pulpit to the choir lofts on any given Sunday — one of good news in bad times: gospel.
Over the course of four episodes, GOSPEL digs deep into the origin story of Black gospel music that blended the sacred spirituals with the blues tradition and soared to new heights during the Great Migration. Since the time of the sorrow songs, Black sacred music was a cathartic and confidential way to communicate the anger and frustration of living as a Black person in America. Even in the 21st century, gospel continues to evolve and remains a source of cultural affirmation and sustenance, bringing an enduring tradition into the future. The series also traces how preaching styles evolved from the musical “whoopers,” to the slick TV-ready lectures of megachurch pastors. In addition, the documentary explores how class, gender, cultural innovations and consumer technologies — such as records, radio, television and the internet — shaped the development of Black preaching and gospel over the centuries
To learn more about the series visit: GOSPEL
Watch the trailer for the documentary HERE
WWNO is proud to partner with WETA as a Radio Station Grantee.