‘In Living Color’ Star T’Keyah Crystal Keymáh Discusses New Movie ‘REVIVAL!’ & More (TIX GIVEAWAY)

 

Hello World,

Last night, I was blessed to attend an exclusive behind-the-scenes preview of Harry Lennix’s (The Blacklist) gospel-musical film REVIVAL! at Atlanta’s Word of Faith Church. 

REVIVAL! is a thoroughly innovative celebration of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ through faith, film, and theatre. A Gospel musical based on the book of John, REVIVAL! speaks as a letter from Jesus to a troubled and ever-contemporary world. The journey begins with a live Passion Play in a contemporary metropolis and expands from there into a world of vibrant image and immersive sound. REVIVAL! is an authentic expression of Black Faith in form and intention. It’s also a unique way to re-imagine a renewal of the everlasting and joyous creative spirit of the black church experience!

REVIVAL! stars Mali Music as Jesus, BET and Imagine nominee Michelle Williams (Destiny’s Child), 10-time Grammy winner Chaka Khan (The Blues Brothers), executive producer T’Keyah Crystal Keymáh (In Living Color), and Niki J. Crawford, whose powerhouse vocals enhance the film’s innovative approach, transcending time and space, and more!

I was able to interview T’Keyah Crystal Keymáh last night! Check out the interview below!

What attracted you to this film?

My friend Harry Lennix asked me to be a part of it and because of our friendship and the trust I have in him, I said yes before I read the script. I have turned down, whether it’s an offer or an audition, many more things than I have accepted. I am highly grateful and blessed that I am that person who turns things down and has still been able to work consistently for decades now.

This production pretty much died three times in the course of five years before it finally came to fruition. What kept you coming back to it when you didn’t have to do so?

I just felt like it was really important. My sister and I talk a lot about when something is going wrong and we feel like, ‘Oh Lord, why are being tested?’ We say, ‘Well, the devil doesn’t bother with people who aren’t doing anything right.’ The devil is cool with you if you are making devilment. There’s no need to create a challenge for someone who is already acting up. But if you are doing something right, the forces of evil, whatever you call it, the devil, evil, whatever you call people who are against goodness, they are only going to bother with you if you are a problem. And you are only a problem if you are doing good works.

And I feel like there were probably forces that came after us, after this film to put blocks in our path so that something this encouraging of humanity would never see the light of day. And that’s in addition to an industry that loves horror and violence and degradation and abuse of human beings. It’s hard to get a film that’s about goodness out and get a distribution deal. And to so to me, part of me feels like if something is trying to stop me, I might be doing something right.

After the third time is when you signed on as a producer, right?

I don’t know every step of the way because I wasn’t on the set every day and Harry is not one to complain. And so when I came on the set and saw his face fallen, I knew something was very very wrong. And there were a lot of challenges with schedules especially as the project grew and grew. There was a budget to do this very small version. And there was a schedule to do the very small version. But now this person can join, but we have to wait for them. And this person is available Tuesday but not Wednesday. This one is available Thursday but not Friday. So let’s wait.

And as we wait, this is going to cost us more and that is going to cost us more. And then some people acted up and now we have to wait for other reasons. But this time, I said, ‘What is going on? What’s wrong?’ He said, ‘I’m not sure if we’re going to make it through. And I said, ‘What can I do?’ And he said, ‘Do you have blank blank dollars?’ And I was like, ‘Oh for real?’ I said, ‘Hmmm. If had that much, then what would happen?’ He said, ‘Then we would keep going.’ And I said, ‘Let me see what I can do.’ And I wasn’t the only one to do that either. I kept it going when I could keep it going and others kept it going later.

What do you hope people will get from this film?

One, I hope that people will see REVIVAL! and be inspired by it and think differently about who they think God is. I think the movie is absolutely for everyone but for people of color, particularly for black people, Africans who ended up in this place where the institution of slavery was worse than any other place. And that we succumbed when we did to horrific, constant degradation and a loss of everything – loss of language, culture, pride, heritage – everything. A lot in part because we were shown this image of a person who was the physical opposite of us. And we were told this is God. And if this is God, you cannot be God. You cannot be divine. You are the opposite of God. You are the opposite of divine. And you don’t deserve anything better than to eat out of the same bowl that a dog eats from. And to be whipped and then raped. And then killed.

But truth, science, everybody, logic knows that there were only people of color. So when people say, ‘Black Jesus’ that’s redundant to me and it offends me. That’s like saying, ‘Black Tkeyah.’ What else am I? Of course, these people were of color. This is not a colorblind cast. This is a color-corrected cast. Just like this image of a blue-eyed blonde Jesus made us suffer, I hope that this much more color-corrected image of Jesus lets us know that we really do have divine in us.

What made you pledge Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated? ( I had to ask this question since we are both members of DST 🙂 )

I pledged 36 years ago. My sister is a Delta and to tell you the truth, when she pledged, I knew nothing about black Greek life and I thought she had been abducted by a cult. I thought I would have to go in there and infiltrate and save her. (Laughter) But then after I got to college, I said these people might not be so bad. I made the decision that I always intend to be good and I want to belong to an organization whose purpose is to do good work. And I liked being held accountable for service. I’m a Golden Life member. I went from Beta Alpha at Florida A&M to Chicago Alumnae, and I have for the past several years been a member of Century City in Los Angeles. I have served in many capacities. I chair two committees now. And I’m on a national committee. I’m on the National Arts & Letters Commission advisory team. I am honored Soror Smith blessed me with that position.

As of today, REVIVAL! is in select US cities (Atlanta, Detroit, Houston, Dallas, Miami, Chicago, Philadelphia and Los Angeles)!  REVIVAL! will have its  second rollout in January 2019,  expanding to screens in Memphis, Baltimore, New Orleans, Norfolk, St. Louis, San Francisco, Cleveland, Orlando, Boston, Tampa, Milwaukee and additional theaters coming soon.

Check out the trailer below!


If you live in the Atlanta area and would like TWO free tix to REVIVAL! at AMC Southlake, you have to be the first person to comment and tell me the name of the show that T’Keyah Crystal Keymáh starred in as a mother.

Any thoughts?

 

 

 

 

Should Black Men Be Responsible for Ending Sexism in the Black Church?

Hello World,

On Sunday, I read an interesting article in The New York Times entitled “It’s On Men to End Sexism in the Black Church” by Lawrence Ware, a minister in the Progressive National Baptist Convention. It intrigued me because much of what I read reminded me of the entire thrust of Season 3 of “Greenleaf.” (One of my favorite show titles from this season was “She Changes Everything.”) Lady Mae realized that she had forfeited her calling to ministry, folding herself into her husband’s calling like hers never mattered. During Season 3, she reclaimed her call to ministry which ignited a power play against her husband who struggled to see her as an independent force and not his appendage. And what compounds the dynamic is that Bishop was always able to see and acknowledge his daughter’s call to ministry but his former partner in life was treated in some respects like a pretty prop.

Below are a few excerpts from the opinion piece:

“When I was little, my favorite church services were when women took charge. This happened only a few times a year, on the fifth Sunday of a month. But it always meant that the spirit was high and the music was good. On one of those special Sundays, when I was 9, I first noticed something odd: The guest minister sat in regular pew seats, not in the seats at the front of the church reserved for the clergy. And she delivered the sermon from the lectern, a little wooden stand set apart from the congregation, not at the pastor’s sacred pulpit — the place whence God spoke.”

“If a young, unmarried woman got pregnant, the congregation would whisper about her until the child was born. When these young mothers returned after giving birth, many knelt at what was called a “mourner’s bench” after the sermon, to publicly apologize for indulging in sexual sins. To this day, I’ve never seen a man do the same.”

“For too many of my friends, even black men who identify as Christian, their awakening to the injustices women have long faced are linked to selfish concerns: namely, they must first have a daughter to hear what black women have been telling us all along. If that is what’s required for change, then too many men will continue to live in a way that does harm to women.”

If you attend a black church, have you witnessed sexism there? My church, a black church, is part of an association of mostly white Christian churches. As far as I know, women are not allowed to be pastors and or ministers at churches in this association. According to some, Scripture mandates this stance. “I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve.” 1 Timothy 2:12-13

However, female ministers are allowed to use the pulpit to speak at my church on various special occasions. And I love female pastors/ministers I must say! That is one of the reasons why I enjoyed OWN’s “Greenleaf” from the very beginning. I love that the show began with Grace struggling in her call to ministry.

Have you witnessed sexism at your church? Do you think women should be allowed to be pastors/ministers at churches?

Below is Ware’s final thought on the matter:

The black church would not exist without black women. However, for far too long, black men have forced them to be second-class citizens. It is time for black churches to do better. Not because it is popular right now, but because it is right.

Should Black Men Be Responsible for Ending Sexism in the Black Church? To read Ware’s entire article on the issue, go HERE.

Any thoughts?

Seven Scriptures to Remind Us that Jesus is the Real Reason for the Season…2018…

Hello World,

I don’t know about you but December always seems to fly by…Between making Christmas lists, shopping with the masses, sending out Christmas greetings via e-mail or snail mail, going to Christmas parties and other events, preparing for the New Year and regular life stuff, it seems there is never enough time to do it all and so I almost look forward to January when life is back to its regular pace…

And if you noticed, I haven’t mentioned Jesus at all…That is because with all I have to or want to do, I can forget that the birth of Jesus, God’s precious gift to mankind, is the real reason for the season…And so to prepare my heart for this season and hopefully help you prepare your heart for this season too, I have decided to list seven scriptures that take the focus off of the worldly expressions of the Christmas season and help us to focus on Jesus…

1. “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). Matthew 1:23 I just love that Immanuel means “God with us.”  Jesus was born so that God could be with us…Remember that the next time you feel alone because you are not…God is with us!

2. “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 Look how much we are loved by God! He sacrificed His one and only Son! What have we sacrificed for God lately? Something to remember and act on at this time of the year…

3. “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17 Every time I see Christmas lights, I’m going to remember that God is the father of heavenly lights and that every good and perfect gift is from Him…I’m feeling better about the Christmas season already…

4. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23 Although we will never be free of sin this side of Heaven, we can still accept God’s gift of eternal life with Jesus Christ who helps us not to sin…

5. “…Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have…” 1 Peter 3:15 At some point during this Christmas season, we have to know that everyone around us does not know the real reason for the season…I hope I’m ready when the opportunity arises for me to tell somebody about my Lord and Savior…

6. “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4 Do  you want the desires of your heart? Of course 🙂 Then we have to delight ourselves in the Lord and His purposes…Now, this does not mean that we send up a list of what we want and then He delivers gifts like He is some Santa Claus in the sky…No, this verse means that mysteriously when we align ourselves with the Lord, His desires for us become our desires…and then we get the desires of our heart because they are His desires for us too…

7. “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” Luke 2:14…This time of the year especially I have to make every effort to give glory to God and live at peace with others…I wish those in government would remember that…

What helps you remember the real reason for the season? This isn’t a traditional Christmas song but this song helps me to remember why Jesus left His home in Heaven on high to come to earth way below…

Merry Christmas!!!

Any thoughts?