Friday, December 13, 2013

Erica Campbell of Mary, Mary shocks church in tight dress

By Tenisha Mercer

If you want something to talk about, get the church folks riled up. In this case, church tongues are wagging about the dress Erica Campbell of gospel music duo Mary Mary wore --  a skintight, white number. I'm a shoe person, so I noticed those first. FIYA! Forgive me.

Now back to the dress...

The chuch  -- not a typo -- is all on Facebook, social media and the blogs talking about this dress. And the comments are none too good. Some say the dress is too tight (now, 41-year-old Campbell doesn't show a drop of skin; she's covered from head to calves).

Gospel singer Erica Cambell wears a tight dress
Erica Campbell of Mary, Mary, via Essence Magazine

Is it appropriate?

I'm not mad at Campbell. She's got kids, and she looks great. I'd wear the dress, but I'm no gospel star. Mary, Mary has always pushed the fashion envelope (I like most of their clothes) along with the now defunct group, Trinitee 3: 5-7.

I get it. At a certain point or a certain age, you stop living your life by committee. She's 41, has a great body, and wants to wear what she wants to wear - whether she's a gospel star or not. Because folks are gonna talk anway.

You'd be blind not to see that Campbell has a to-die for figure. She's not the first to get heat about her dress: Actress Megan Good, wife of pastor Devon Franklin, is routinely criticized for her attire (it's either too tight or showing too much body).

Let the church say amen?

I'm no prude, but dare I say it, many are in the church. We don't all want to wear St. John's suits. Or those dastardly ankle length suits with rhinestones. Some of us have killa fashion sense -- and  nothing is wrong with that.

That doesn't make you less "Christian."

Many of the folks talking the most just might be the ones who advise women to wear their prayer cloths over their laps (you know, so as not to tempt men *with every ounce of sarcasm I can possibly bear"**).

'This is not Okay.'

Campbell has gotten plenty of backlash, from some in the church who called the look unholy.

"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,” said Apostle Stacey Woods on Facebook."

Woods got heat for her comment, and later elaborated:

#1 The intent of my posting was not to attack Erica at all. I do not know Erica, have never met her, and NEVER passed judgment or even commented about her salvation, her relationship with God, her vocal contributions to the Gospel Music Industry, or her personal character. Yet, this article started off quoting MY comment as an attack.

I expressed my concerns on my fb page that started out as a casual “lighthearted” discussion, but later exploded into comments that were so disrespectful they had to be removed. It’s interesting that the same Christians that will defend a dress, WILL CURSE OUT A PREACHER who expressed concern.

We had a discussion that included over 300+ comments by those that both agreed and disagreed and most of those comments remain. #2 The article did not mention the gender of “the preacher” and most of the readers here assumed that it was a man, therefore, assumptions were made that it was a dogmatic, legalistic, lust-filled MAN who could not control his own sinful desires and therefore found criticism in Erica. Although it makes for “juicy discussion” it’s not the truth. The truth is, I am a woman, single, very content in my own plus sized figure. I do not desire or lust for this woman or ANY women, as I am a woman of God who is waiting on my mate, THE MAN OF GOD. #3 The comments here have blamed THIS as “why they don’t attend church, what’s wrong with the church, why they hate church folks…etc. when SURELY there are “deeper issues.”So, if (IF) understanding is desired, here is my take.

My intent was this:
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 suppose 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. It was wrong when OTHERS did it too, and now its spreading through the industry as THE NEW STANDARD. OF COURSE there are greater issues to discuss, and greater ministry to engage in, but let’s stay on this one for a moment since we all took a glance at the picture and the article and shared our thoughts. Then, let’s continue/start doing the work of the church.

I would pray that my words would not be seen as an ATTACK, gossip, pettiness, or even judgment from someone who has nothing better to do but to criticize clothing choices, but as a plea with the Body of Christ, a body that seems to be slipping further and further away from HOLINESS and into worldliness. Everything we do is to now attract the world, when all we had to do was LIFT UP JESUS. However hear my plea, let’s PUT GOD BACK IN GOSPEL, AND HOLINESS BACK INTO THE CHURCH. It’s time to take a stand. GOD…AND ONLY GOD can see the heart, but let’s also focus on what is seen on the OUTSIDE and work on that too, while God is working on the heart
The whole conversation veers off into temptation lingo, and it starts going left.

What's all the fuss about?

To be clear, Mary, Mary has always been about cutting edge fashions. Same for Yolanda Adams wh wears clingy dresses as well that accentuate her shape. Can you not wear a form fitting dress and be a Christian?

Hmmmm ... I've seen a lot of things in church -- like women dressed more like they're going to a club than church. And I've heard plenty of stories of women wearing eensie bitsy dresses with no panties on teh front row. Many churches have standards -- no women wearing skirts above the knee, for example, while at the altar. You know, because men will be tempted and won't be able to control their thoughts, themselves or their nether regions. Because, you know, all women do is distract.


One thing's for sure: Folks are talking. And Erica's solo album drops in March.

What do you think of Erica's dress?

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