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"You Are My Dwelling Place": Experiencing Black Male Vocalists' Worship as Aural Eroticism and Autoeroticism in Gospel Performance

"You Are My Dwelling Place": Experiencing Black Male Vocalists' Worship as Aural Eroticism... “You Are My Dwelling Place” Experiencing Black Male Vocalists’ Worship as Aural Eroticism and Autoeroticism in Gospel Performance Alisha Lola Jones ithin the twenty- fi rst- century, historically African American, Pentecostal settings in which gospel music is performed, there is a long- standing Wtradition of ministers presenting songs and delivering sermons that promote sexual abstinence among unmarried individuals, encouraging listeners to wait until they get married to have sex. Essential prescriptions for maintaining chastity in the Worth the Wait movement include prohibitive teachings that Christian believers should guard their hearts, minds, and “gates” (i.e., ears and eyes) from sexually suggestive or erotic contemplation, pornographic entertainment, and self- pleasure through masturbation. Yet the songs and sermons through which such messages reach the “gates” of the congregation are themselves a physical and embodied discourse that— for many listeners and performers— can be understood as erotic and pleasurable. While the performance of gender and sexuality in gospel music has been marked as a taboo discussion in historically African American Protestant congregations, their rich interdependence is exemplifi ed by albums such as Sacred Love Songs (1999) by T. D. Jakes, in which gospel music is intended to get (married, heterosexual) Christian couples in http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Women and Music: A Journal of Gender and Culture University of Nebraska Press

"You Are My Dwelling Place": Experiencing Black Male Vocalists' Worship as Aural Eroticism and Autoeroticism in Gospel Performance

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Publisher
University of Nebraska Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 the International Alliance for Women in Music.
ISSN
1553-0612

Abstract

“You Are My Dwelling Place” Experiencing Black Male Vocalists’ Worship as Aural Eroticism and Autoeroticism in Gospel Performance Alisha Lola Jones ithin the twenty- fi rst- century, historically African American, Pentecostal settings in which gospel music is performed, there is a long- standing Wtradition of ministers presenting songs and delivering sermons that promote sexual abstinence among unmarried individuals, encouraging listeners to wait until they get married to have sex. Essential prescriptions for maintaining chastity in the Worth the Wait movement include prohibitive teachings that Christian believers should guard their hearts, minds, and “gates” (i.e., ears and eyes) from sexually suggestive or erotic contemplation, pornographic entertainment, and self- pleasure through masturbation. Yet the songs and sermons through which such messages reach the “gates” of the congregation are themselves a physical and embodied discourse that— for many listeners and performers— can be understood as erotic and pleasurable. While the performance of gender and sexuality in gospel music has been marked as a taboo discussion in historically African American Protestant congregations, their rich interdependence is exemplifi ed by albums such as Sacred Love Songs (1999) by T. D. Jakes, in which gospel music is intended to get (married, heterosexual) Christian couples in

Journal

Women and Music: A Journal of Gender and CultureUniversity of Nebraska Press

Published: Oct 17, 2018

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