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Gospel, with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. - Available to Stream Now with WCTE 

WCTE is excited to present GOSPEL, a new four-hour docuseries that explores the rich history of Black spirituality through sermon and song from executive producer, host, and writer Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr.. The program reunites acclaimed Harvard scholar and documentarian Gates with directors Stacey L. Holman and Shayla Harris after recently teaming up on MAKING BLACK AMERICA: THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE. 

Throughout the four hour docuseries, GOSPEL gives a look at the history of Black religious music and preaching, showcasing the symbiotic relationship of words and songs present in any Black church. The series examines the origin of Black gospel music, which blended the sacred spirituals with the blues tradition and soared to new heights during the Great Migration. This music served as an outlet for the anger and frustration of living as a Black person in America, which remains true today. The series also explores the evolution of preaching styles over time, and the impact of class, gender, cultural innovations, and consumer technologies that shaped the development of gospel since its conception.

Dr. Gates speaks with dozens of clergymen, singers, and scholars about their connection to the music that has transcended its origins and now spreads “the good word” all around the world. The series features interviews with notable names including Dionne Warwick, U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock, Rev. Otis Moss III, professor Michael Eric Dyson, and awe-inspiring musical performances of Gospel favorites “Can’t Nobody Do Me Like Jesus,” “Total Praise,” and others from talents including The Belle Singers, Cory Henry, Celisse, and more.

Gospel is more than the soundtrack of the African American experience, “it’s the beating heart and soul,” said Gates. “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. 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.”

About the Show

From the blues to hip-hop, African Americans have been the driving force of sonic innovation for over a century. Musical styles come and go, but there is one sound that has been a constant source of strength, courage, and wisdom from the pulpit to the choir lofts on any given Sunday: the gospel.

Throughout the four hour docuseries, GOSPEL gives a look at the history of Black religious music and preaching, showcasing the symbiotic relationship of words and songs present in any Black church.

GOSPEL Trailer explores Black spirituality in sermon and song.