Bard Events Calendar

Music Program and Bard Ethnomusicology Present

Tuesday, March 13, 2018
Ethnomusicologist Charrise Barron
Blum N217
5:00 pm
The Gospel of Mary Mary: Performing Contemporary Gospel Music for the Hip-Hop Culture
Gospel music has always been known for blending popular music with lyrics espousing the Christian faith. Consequently, it is to be expected that contemporary gospel artists would incorporate hip-hop music forms in their repertoires. Yet, in the last 20 years, many contemporary gospel artists have committed themselves to not only incorporating hip-hop sounds but also presenting themselves as desirable and even sexy, by the standards of hip-hop culture. Consequently, through their attire, musical choices, and abandonment of traditional sacred/secular binaries, gospel artists present themselves as accessible to audiences beyond black Protestant churchgoers. By exploring the work of award-winning gospel duo Mary Mary, this presentation will show that gospel artists’ “sexy-for-Jesus” inclination not only signals the gospel music industry’s evangelistic emphasis on crossing over to mainstream markets but also reflects theological shifts among black Protestants in America.
Charrise Barron is a Postdoctoral Associate and Lecturer in Ethnomusicology at Yale University’s Institute of Sacred Music (ISM). She earned her PhD from Harvard University in African and African American studies, with a secondary concentration in ethnomusicology. She is an alumna of Yale’s ISM and holds a Master of Divinity summa cum laude from Yale Divinity School. Her research focuses on African American gospel music, as well as the range of African American music and American popular music more broadly. Barron is currently writing a book on contemporary gospel music.

For more information, call 845-758-7250, or e-mail

Time: 5:00 pm

Location: Blum N217