By Jennifer Williams:: EEW MAGAZINE BUZZ
TV One's "R&B Divas: La" stars Lil’ Mo and Kelly Price are fed up with the sanctified-secular music divide.
While on the red carpet at BET’s “Celebration of Gospel,” they let it be known that their choice not to sing exclusively about Jesus, does not mean they lack an authentic relationship with Him.
“We’re on R&B Divas LA, but we’re still church, we’re still saved,” said Lil’ Mo.
“All day!” Price echoed her sentiments, with a succinctly and sassily stated confirmation during the divas’ promotional appearance and interview at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles, CA Saturday, March 16.
Last month, TV One announced that, in addition to its successful Atlanta “R&B Divas” reality show, the LA cast had been officially added.
Currently, production is underway on the eight-episode series, slated to premiere during the third quarter of 2013. Alongside Kelly Price and Lil’ Mo, “R&B Divas: LA” will chronicle the lives and careers of Chanté Moore, Dawn Robinson, Claudette Ortiz and Michel’le Toussaint.
“[We’re] Still turned up on the Lord,” Lil’ Mo added, as Stellar Award-winning gospel artist Kierra Sheard conducted the interview.
“Still?” Price frowned in response, taking issue with the intimation that shifting the focus of their music away from faith in Christ, was somehow synonymous with walking away from their faith altogether.
“[We] ain’t never left,” interjected Price, who got her start singing in the children’s choir at age 2. In 2006, the R&B/Soul singer released her first gospel album, “This Is Who I Am” on the GospoCentric label, but went back to R&B in 2011.
“The way I was raised, we were traditionally Christian. Both my mother and father were preachers and we were always involved within the church,” shared Price in an interview with UK website Soul Culture.
“So even though I had always been singing, it was still a bit of a shock to the family to hear that I’d [be] singing R&B and not gospel or something religiously related. No one saw it coming.”
Unlike other genres, gospel devotees view artists, not as performers, but as ministers. So then, “straddling the fence”—Christianese for those with one foot in the church and the other in the club—is deeply frowned upon.
It is doubtful that Price and Lil’ Mo, as gifted and sincere as they may be, will be able to change these deeply ingrained views and values.