Last night I stumbled across the latest “reality tv” show called “Preachers of L. A.” on the Oprah Winfrey Network. I was pleasantly surprised and was glued to my television for 2 hours. I had heard that T. D. Jakes had said something negative about the show—probably because it wasn’t all about him. Instead of some trashy, Hollywood, always showing black men as thugs and pimps, what I saw instead were loving, committed, black men with swagger and lots of bling-bling, who happened to be preachers. What I also saw were more black couples on one show than all the black couples in the NBA, NFL, NHL, PGA, and WBA combined. This alone was enough to keep me watching.
Preachers of L. A. has 5 preacher couples, three black, one biracial and one white who allow us a glimpse into their lives as preachers, and preachers’ wives, aka, First Ladies. Anyone with a problem with seeing black wealth, black love, lovely, poised, well spoken, black women, need not bother to tune in. Some of these couples are living large—big houses and fine cars—and they love each other. But the show did not sugarcoat some of the realities of being either a mega-preacher or the wife of a mega-preacher. Topics such as “other women” throwing themselves at preachers, and how first ladies handle it, problems of First Ladies feeling alone and sometime friend-less, and the problem of “haters” and other deranged people constantly threatening preachers were not avoided. The problem of drug addiction was brought front and center as one minister set out on a mission to deliver his 56-year old addicted sister from a crack house in Compton. This minister was honest about his own previous battle with drug addiction—in fact he admitted that he believed that it was his own drug use that sent all his siblings down the same destructive path. But this same preacher was willing to step outside his comfort zone and reach back to lift up. This man’s entire persona was one of Godliness and humility. It was refreshing and inspiring. It was inspiring on so many fronts, especially living here in Amarillo where a recent Amarillo Magazine edition entitled, “Faith in Amarillo” did not show one black face on its cover. The same goes for the Globe News online story entitled, “Faces of Faith.” Again, not one black person was included among the six individuals shown—including one man whose faith was “Athiest.” What does this say about Amarillo that local media cannot act inclusively on the simple matter of black peoples’ faith?
Preachers of L. A. also delved into an area almost unheard of in today’s world—fornication, adultery, and “shacking up.” One of the older pastors agreed to meet with the youngest minister to discuss “marriage issues” since the young pastor was not married—had been married and divorced, had a child out of wedlock, but was struggling with “the flesh” on the matters of loving his girlfriend. (By the time the show ended the young minister bought a house, proposed to his girlfriend, saying “Marry me now, I need my family with me now,” and got married in a back yard—using yarn tied around their fingers instead of rings.) In counseling the young minister the older pastor said something almost shocking, and that is that men can live their lives in committed monogamus relationship. He and his wife had been married for 31 years. The First Lady of this minister did not mince words in telling another single woman to “guard her merchandise” in dealing with a male friend of 16 years. Preachers of L. A. did not sidestep the question of morality. Again, something refreshing and inspiring–dare to take a stand for something.
I can’t wait to see next week’s installment of Preachers of L. A. I would choose this show any day over more of same old black men in handcuffs being hauled off to prison in “Lockup” or some of the other trashy crap, particularly “Cops” that feeds off arresting black men. I would choose Preachers of L. A. any day over much of the Hollywood crap that cannot break its addiction to portraying black women as loose mammies. My only complaint about Preachers of L. A. was the commercial promotion of some black man named Freedia, acting like a drag queen, shaking his butt doing the bounce. But, again, this is the typical portrayal of black men—as sexual deviants or some type of sexual misfit. I regret that every commerical break had to include this crap. Otherwise kudos to “Preachers of L. A.”– what a pleasant surprise.
Copyright 2013 – L. Arthalia Cravin. All rights Reserved. No part of this commentary may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the author.