From Sistrunk, who went from Suitland High School to earn degrees in music from Michigan State and Syracuse universities, to gospel recording artist Byron Cage, who recently released his ninth project, the Washington area is filled with talented singers who all have a passion to sing and perform.
“Jesus commanded his disciples to be all things to all people,” Cage said. “Even though I am not pursuing a secular career, I have a fan that includes secular people who will come out to here my music as I sing about Jesus.
“The methods have changed but the message has stayed the same. It okay to make millions of dollars like Tyler Perry has done,” said the minister of music at Ebenezer African Methodist Episcopal Church in Fort Washington and at Saint Paul’s Baptist Church in Richmond. “Change is great and the movies are a medium that only will continue to grow.”
Sparkle, portrayed by Jordin Sparks, and her mother, Emma, portrayed by Whitney Houston.
The story is about a mother and church going woman who had been in the music industry but left it to raise three young girls on faith and integrity,” said megachurch pastor Bishop T.D. Jakes, a producer of the film, adding that Houston portrays a mother who tries to steer her children away from the mistakes she made in the secular music industry. The legendary entertainer was also executive producer of the film.
The movie appeals to anyone - Christians and non-Christians- who has had a dream and may wonder if they will ever achieve it, he said.
In the movie, Houston is a former professional singer whose career stalls and is now a church-going woman raising three girls. She tries to instill faith and integrity into them and steer them away from interest in singing secular music to avoid encountering bad elements in the industry.<iframe width=”454” height=”255” frameborder=”0” scrolling=”no” src=”http://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/music/whitney-houstons-daughter-sparkles-at-la-premiere/2012/08/17/2c230005-5fc4-41d0-8fde-85f9989bd13e_inline.html”></iframe>
“Whitney plays a mother who had a career who got away from it to become a mother of faith,” said Jakes, founding and senior pastor of the Potter’s House in Dallas. “The battle is typical of any family and it shows how love prevails. Whitney did an incredible job on screen. We never thought that it would be her last cinematic production.
Fans mourn at the funeral service for Whitney Houston on Feb. 18, 2012 in Newark
“Just like ministry has its audience and books have an audience, the movie world has a huge audience of people that may never go to church or ever read a novel but this is an opportunity to affect them as well with messages of inspiration and hope,” he said.
Andrea Williams, former project manager for the Washington, D.C. chapter of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, said she also plans to see “Sparkle” because it reminds her of her own desire to sing professionally.
“Sometimes our dreams get deferred, but I am taking my dreams off the shelf,” Williams said. “I have so many people who come to me and say, ‘When are you going to record an album?’ It is so important in life not give up your dreams.”
This Saturday, the Mighty Clouds of Joy, Sensational Nightingales, Canton Spirituals and other legendary gospel quartets will perform in concert in Mount Calvary Baptist Churchof Lanham and the person behind the concert is veteran gospel promoter Rosetta Thompson.
And while Thompson has been promoting concerts in the area for decades and running hair salons during the week, the 72-year-old still has a passion for singing on stage with her family group, the Thompson Family Singers.
“I always wanted to be a singer,” said Thompson, whose father was a preacher and singer. “I always loved to travel with my father. All my life I have been involved with music.”