The Open Letters: KEEP YOUR TRAP SHUT!!

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Dear Music Community At Large,

This will probably be the most sensitive entry I will make in this blog since it’s inception. That being said, I will not waste your time with photos of preludes. I also will no longer hold my proverbial tongue.

I am part of the Chicago Gospel music scene. Although I am rather eclectic in my personal style, I have garnered much success and reputation in the Gospel genre. Within this groups is a sub-section of musicians and singers that are well-known. It absolutely sickens me that, of these notable musicians, any name that I call is easily followed by a negative rebuttal.

For instance; I mentioned a very popular musician to another instrumentalist and the next thing that was said was that said person was a “flunky” for someone else – an even more successful musician. My problem is this; if he is a flunky for a guy who tours 188 days a year and is paid six figures, what business is that of yours? Sounds like jealousy to me. Are you angry that you have not attained enough in your life to be afforded the space to have a flunky? Are you angry that the flunky position has already been filled? Why would that comment even need to be made – especially if the musician mentioned is actually good? Refer to him based on his merits and keep the derogatory reflections to yourself.

I have never been one to allow negative experiences to be part of my report on a person. Should I allow my bad experience to mar the reputation of someone to people who may have never worked with them? Why should I continue to magnify my personal dislike for another musician, singer or minister or individual?

If someone is consistently late, has bad business practices or is detrimental on a gig, I should certainly steer clear of that individual and maybe even warn a potential client of what they are getting into. However, I am in no position to bad-mouth ANYONE. ALL have sinned and come short of the Glory of God. My mistakes are not any less perceptible than another’s. Making someone look bad does not make me look good.

If one says; “I play for Marlowe Cribbs…”, there will inevitably be a rumbling in the crowd filled with negative comments about me, my band, singers or an incident from the past. Perhaps someone’s opinion of me –  based on perception and not fact – is spewed like poison. This is especially disheartening since I do most of my performances out of town and have a small musical presence these days in my hometown. Yet, even with that small footprint, someone will aim a dart at my character and defame the name of my team in public or private. When does this foolishness stop!

Everyone in the Kingdom has a right to achieve a modicum of success in their chosen area. If the naysayers are not content to allow someone to do what they do without judgement. Perhaps the mirror should be pulled out to examine why they are so bitter. Is the person in judgement a reflection of what you could be but failed miserably? Does it stem from a bitter rivalry between regions – like East Coast vs. West Coast? (or in our case, South Side vs. West Side?). This is ridiculous. There is too much music out here and too many open opportunities to minister for us to waste time belittling anyone else’s reputation. Especially if your opinions are founded on jealously or misunderstanding. My mother would say of this, “Keep your trap shut!” and she wasn’t referring to a trap (drum) kit, either. My dear father would take a different approach as he would tell us: “Get   that  $%#@  together!”

There will most likely be people that think I am talking about someone in particular. I am not, I am talking in general about a practice that has become a plague among us – all of us – from the pulpit to the bandstand to the pews. Besides, most people who are guilty of this behavior never want to have their dirt exposed. It also disturbs me that much of this activity comes from….men. I was always raised to believe that the gossip corner was always filled with women. Things must have changed over the years. Perhaps through pillow talk or down time during marathon rehearsals or even a brief bite to eat. I hear more males spitting venomous sentiments about one another from the bowels of their supposed Christian hearts. It’s really unsettling for me as a Christian and as a man.

Like I said before, this piece will not be popular but It is also a resounding trumpet to the fact that the most brutal enemy to the efforts of the Kingdom are it’s alleged citizens.


Victim of the gossip plague


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