Erica Campbell of Grammy-winning gospel group Mary Mary is gearing up for the release of her new album and celebrating her first Grammy nomination as a solo artist. But instead of enjoying this exciting time in her career, the songstress is under attack by many of her fans for being too sexy in a new promo shot.
Although 41-year-old Campbell is covered from neck to calf in a white body-conscious dress, some critics say she doesn’t look holy enough.
“THIS IS NOT OKAY. Yes, you are a beautiful, curvy woman…but NO MA’AM YOU ARE SINGING THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST. Saints…smh COME ON,” wrote one minister, who goes by Apostle Stacey Woods on Facebook. Gospel site A Toast 2 Wealth chimed in, “The sexy attire takes any man or woman’s mind off God and onto other things that aren’t godly.”
This kind of response from the masses is similar to when actress Meagan Good was ripped to shreds via social media for wearing a revealing and form-fitting dress as she and husband‚ minister DeVon Franklin‚ attended the 2013 BET Awards. It’s hard not to wonder where one should draw the line when being the face of the gospel.
Producer and megastar Kirk Franklin faced ridicule when he began producing gospel music that was similar to the sound and tone of secular music in the early 1990s. With shows like Bravo’s “Thicker Than Water” and Oxygen’s “Preachers of L.A.”, it is hard to gauge what people believe is appropriate behavior for Christians. Those shows are just as questionable as the controversial dress as they seem to promote the love of things like fancy cars, palatial estates and money.
In regards to Campbell, not all of the comments were negative. Lisa Holloway said, “I think people, especially Christians, are too uptight. It’s nothing wrong with being a Christian and portraying sex appeal.”
After a flood of responses to her previous tweet regarding Campbell’s choice of clothing, Woods took to the site American Preachers to elaborate on her feelings:
“My intent was this:
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1. I want women of God to represent the KINGDOM without feeling as though they must become a sex symbol. THE WORLD sells sex, THE KINGDOM SHOULD PROMOTE JESUS.
2. Gospel music is MINISTRY, not just an art form or a genre of music.
3. We compel men to come through our love for Jesus, but when we wear things that are distracting, the message is somehow lost and it becomes abut US and not about Him.
4. I’ve seen TOO MANY…TOO MANY people dress inappropriately in ministry and THIS was only ONE example. While what I stated was seen as an attack, nobody saw the numerous videos that have been released to promote healthy self-esteem, beauty tips, fashion tips, or even the women’s conferences that did REAL outreach…providing clothing, shoes, and most importantly, JESUS. If a leader can not say that certain behaviors in the church are inappropriate, WHO CAN? Are we all [supposed] to close our eyes as gospel artist with revealing outfits sing about Jesus but bounce all over the stage in ways that can only be compared to the club? Are we just supposed to hush up about it and pray? Why not say to little girls that want to grow up to be JUST LIKE THEM, there is a better way to represent ourselves as women of God, and that was simply a bad wardrobe choice?
Let it be known, I am NOT jealous, envious, or lustful. I am a woman of God, curvy too, that will say that I desire to see us represent Jesus in a way that exudes HOLINESS and not sexiness.”
“Help” is scheduled to be released on March 25, 2014.