The New Face Of Gospel: Deitrick Haddon Finds His Place Among R&B Artists, Promises To Be Their Competition

He's very much an alien, but not like "Phone Home" lyricist Lil Wayne. Deitrick Haddon hails from planet Detroit with a strict mission: To change the world's perspective of what Gospel music should sound and look like. Decked out in colorful bowties, edgy jackets and fitted menswear, this Gospel singer plans to take his audience to church... on the moon, that is. And did we mention that he was recently nominated for the BET Award for Best Gospel Album? VIBE Vixen exchanged more than a few words with the chip off the old block about the ill mindsets of the world, why he's a fan of "secular" music heavyweights and, of course, his taste of style. -Niki McGloster

Tell me who Deitrick Haddon is.
The core of who I am has to stem from where I come from. I’m from Detroit, and I’ve really been in church all of my life. My dad was a bishop, so I would be on considered a PK, a preacher’s kid. The foundation of who I am came from a religious background. However, I use those religious principles to lay a foundation for my life. I use that to stand on, and I’ve grown into a solid man that’s very bold about the choices that I make, very bold in how I approach things. I believe that I have purpose to change people’s perception of what people have called gospel music.

Take me back. What was your start in gospel music?
In Detroit, we had a lot of successful gospel artists who had crossover success, like The Clark Sisters. They had a big hit back in the day called “You Brought The Sunshine.” Of course, The Winans had many hits that crossed over, so I grew up around that, and I started out by just saying [that] I want to rep Detroit city also. I felt Detroit was known for music, not just in Gospel, but Motown. I was like, hey, I can sing too, I can dance too and I’m going to do it. I made up my mind a long time ago that I would be successful in music. I looked my dad square in the eye at 15, 16 years old and told him, ‘I’m going to be successful in music.’

What made you take the “out of this world” approach on Church On The Moon?
I’m a very creative guy, and it just dropped in my heart. The idea popped in my mind and I said why not. When I start getting these powerful lyrics, you just roll with it. I love gospel music; I been in it all my life. I’m an advocate of it, but I refuse to fall in sync with what everybody is doing. I think that’s how that idea really came. The record company was calling me to get into the studio to do another record, but I said to myself that I’m not going to do the same old stuff. I’m not going to recycle lyrics, the same old sound; I’m ready to take it somewhere else. It’s church on the moon! It’s gospel, but it’s out of this world. It’s church, but it’s in another place. It’s from a whole ‘nother perspective. I set out to articulate the sound and the music differently than anybody else right now in the game.

How do you think you compare to Chris Brown, Trey Songz and other “secular” artists that millions of people are listening to?
In the future, I’m going to be their competition. I mean, in my own way, but I believe God-inspired music belongs out there on the radio right next to a Drake record, a Lil Wayne record. The only difference with my music is I’m going to say something positive. It’s not going to be about the sex and perversion and all this other stuff like we’re not intelligent. It’s going to be real music. One thing about back in the day, like soul music, they said something. When they talked about love, they talked about it for real. They weren’t just talking about they want every girl in the world and I want her to do this and that and I want to do this to you. All this foolishness! I think people are ready for something that will empower them, something that will edify them. They want the beat; they want the feeling.

What are the biggest issues that you want people of this world to escape from or be saved from?

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A potential Sept. 13 concert at New Jersey’s Prudential Center was added to the venue's website and later deleted. The site listed Brown as the marquee act, while Minaj was a featured performer.

Besides going on tour together, Minaj makes an appearance on Brown’s newly released single “Wobble Up,” which also features G-Eazy. The track is the latest music collaboration from Brown and Minaj who have worked together a few times over the years.

News of the joint tour comes a day after it was reported that Minaj parted ways with her longtime management team. The “Gonja Burns” rapper was originally billed to hit the road with Future for the North American leg of her Queen tour but the jaunt was cancelled due to scheduling conflicts. The Queens native recently finished up her European tour with Juice WRLD as her special guest.

Last Sunday, Minaj took the stage as a surprise guest for week one of Ariana Grande’s headlining set at the 2019 Coachella Valley Music Festival. It’s unclear if she will hit the stage when Grande returns to perform for week two of Coachella on April 21.

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Beyoncé performs onstage during 2018 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival Weekend 1 at the Empire Polo Field on April 14, 2018 in Indio, California.
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Homecoming: The 5 Best Moments Of Beyoncé’s Documentary

Once Beyoncé became the first African-American woman to headline in its nearly 20-year history, we knew Coachella would never the same. To mark the superstar’s historic moment, the 2018 music and arts festival was appropriately dubbed #Beychella and fans went into a frenzy on social media as her illustrious performance was live-streamed by thousands. (Remember when fans recreated her choreographed number to O.T. Genasis’ “Everybody Mad”?)

With a legion of dancers, singers and musicians adorned with gorgeous costumes showcasing custom-made crests, the singer’s whirlwind performance honored black Greek letter organizations, Egyptian queen Nefertiti, and paid homage to historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Aside from the essence of black musical subgenres like Houston’s chopped and screwed and Washington D.C.’s go-go music, the entertainer performed “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” also known as “The Black National Anthem,” and implemented a dancehall number, sampling the legendary Jamaican DJ and singer, Sister Nancy, to show off the versatility of black culture.

One year after #Beychella’s historic set, the insightful concert film, Homecoming, began streaming on Netflix and unveiled the rigorous months of planning that went into the iconic event. The 2-hour 17-minute documentary highlights Beyoncé’s enviable work ethic and dedication to her craft, proving why this performance will be cemented in popular culture forever. Here are the best moments from Beyoncé’s Homecoming documentary.

The Intentional Blackness

“Instead of me bringing out my flower crown, it was more important that I brought our culture to Coachella.”

Throughout the documentary, Beyoncé made it known that everything and everyone included in the creative process leading up to the annual festival was deliberately chosen. “I personally selected each dancer, every light, the material on the steps, the height of the pyramid, the shape of the pyramid,” says Beyoncé. “Every tiny detail had an intention.” When speaking on black people as a collective the entertainer notes, “The swag is limitless.” Perhaps the most beautiful moments in Homecoming are the shots that focus on the uniqueness of black hair and its versatility. What’s appreciated above all is the singer’s commitment to celebrating the various facets of blackness and detailing why black culture needs to be celebrated on a global scale.

Beyoncé’s Love And Respect For HBCUs

#Beychella — which spanned two consecutive weekends of Coachella’s annual festival — was inspired by elements of HBCU homecomings, so it was no surprise when the singer revealed she always wanted to attend one. “I grew up in Houston, Texas visiting Prairie View. We rehearsed at TSU [Texas Southern University] for many years in Third Ward, and I always dreamed of going to an HBCU. My college was Destiny's Child. My college was traveling around the world and life was my teacher.” Brief vignettes in the film showcased marching bands, drumlines and the majorettes from notable HBCUs that comprise of the black homecoming experience. In the concert flick, one of the dancers affectionately states, “Homecoming for an HBCU is the Super Bowl. It is the Coachella.” However, beyond the outfits that sport a direct resemblance to Greek organizations, Beyoncé communicated an important message that remains a focal point in the film: “There is something incredibly important about the HBCU experience that must be celebrated and protected.”

The Familiar Faces

Despite being joined by hundreds of dancers, musicians and singers on-stage, the entertainer was joined by some familiar faces to share the monumental moment with her. While making a minor appearance in the documentary, her husband and rapper/mogul Jay-Z came out to perform “Deja Vu” with his wife. Next, fans were blessed by the best trio to ever do it as Kelly and Michelle joined the singer with renditions of their hit singles including “Say My Name,” “Soldier,” and more. On top of this star-studded list, Solange Knowles graced the “Beychella” stage and playfully danced with her older sister to the infectious “Get Me Bodied.”

Her Balance Of Being A Mother And A Star

Originally slated to headline the annual festival in 2017, the singer notes that she “got pregnant unexpectedly...and it ended up being twins.” Suffering from preeclampsia, high blood pressure, toxemia and undergoing an emergency C-section, the entertainer candidly details how difficult it was adjusting post-partum and how she had to reconnect with her body after experiencing a traumatizing delivery. “In the beginning, it was so many muscle spasms. Just, internally, my body was not connected. My body was not there.” Rehearsing for a total of 8 months, the singer sacrificed quality time with her children in order to nail the technical elements that came with the preparation for her Coachella set. “I’m limiting myself to no bread, no carbs, no sugar, no dairy, no meat, no fish, no alcohol … and I’m hungry.” Somehow, throughout all of this, she still had to be a mom. “My mind wanted to be with my children,” she says. Perhaps one of the most admirable moments in the film was witnessing Beyoncé’s dedication to her family but also to her craft.

The Wise Words From Black Visionaries

Homecoming opens with a quote from the late, Maya Angelou stating, “If you surrender to the air, you can ride it.” The film includes rich and prophetic quotes from the likes of Alice Walker, Nina Simone, Toni Morrison, and notable Black thinkers, reaffirming Beyoncé’s decision to highlight black culture. The quotes speak to her womanhood and the entertainer’s undeniable strength as a black woman.

Blue Ivy’s Cuteness

Last, but certainly not least, Blue Ivy‘s appearance in the concert film is nothing short of precious. One of the special moments in the documentary zeroes in on the 7-year-old singing to a group of people whilst Beyoncé sweetly feeds the lyrics into her ears. After finishing, Blue says: “I wanna do that again” with Beyoncé replying with “You wanna be like mommy, huh?” Seen throughout Homecoming rehearsing and mirroring Beyoncé’s moves, Blue just might follow in her mother’s footsteps as she gets older.

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