By Ta-ning Connai
The clapback of the week comes from a community highly encouraged to turn the other cheek. But it was Wendy Williams’ cheek that turned when church folk went psycho after hearing she dissed beloved gospel legends, The Clark Sisters.
Wendy was congratulating Snoop Dogg on the tremendous success of his new gospel album, Bible of Love, during an airing of The Wendy Show. It’s a huge departure from his gang bangin,’ weed smokin,’ women dissin’ lyrics of the past, so who wouldn’t emphasize it as a really big deal!? It’s been smashing Billboard records at the speed of light and an eventual slow down is nowhere in sight. But when Wendy suggested that other long time gospel artists should be feeling some kinda way about his sudden rise in their prospective field, well that’s when things took a turn for the worse. She then asked if The Clark Sisters had ever been #1, to which her uninformed, off-camera employee told her no. This egged her on to tell the gospel group to, “Step up your game,” and that’s how the drama began.
“Step up your game”??? The Clark Sisters CHANGED the game. They are to Gospel what James Brown was to Soul, what George Clinton was to Funk, and what Beyonce is and always will be to RnB (#beychellaforever)! Besides a slew of number one hits, The Clark Sisters were responsible for gospel music crossing over from the church to secular radio and into the clubs. Back in 1981 at a block party in New York, You Brought the Sunshine was the only song that caused white dominoes and gold cans of Old English to be pushed to the side so all hands could be free for a moment of praise. And of course I was right there singing along, in spite of my sinning ways! Now if that ain’t legendary, I don’t know what is.
Yeah, Wendy shoulda stayed in her lane on this one, but the church didn’t have to set her car in flames! While some of the online comments were a well-deserved fact check, most were too ferocious to repeat. And even with an apology and an invite to sing on The Wendy Show, Christians remained relentless in raking the gossip queen through the coals as they urged the sisters not to step foot through her talk show’s doors.
I understand the instinct to wanna protect people we look up to, especially those who have had a spiritual or inspirational impact on our lives. I be ‘bout ready to lose my holy mind the minute someone defames a beloved stranger who’s become “my friend in my head” over the course of many years. I ain’t gotta know you to love you, that’s just the way it is. But those of us who call ourselves Christians are under a special kind of restraint. We have to allow the Holy Spirit to hold us back, to shut us down and to prevent us from acting a straight fool when we should instead be showing the love of Christ. This is the reason the Bible warns us against being offended (Luke 7:23). Offense desensitizes us to the prompting of the Holy Spirit and blocks us from perceiving the ultimate plan of God. What if Jesus would have let Judas’ betrayal offend Him? And what if He let Peter’s denial make him mad? Instead, He focused on the Cross so that the cost for our salvation could finally be paid. No time for dwelling on a minor offense when there’s a more major move in place!
So here’s what I’m hoping…I hope The Clark Sisters are mature enough not to allow the spirit of offense to close a door that God just opened. I hope Wendy’s apology is good enough for them and that they accept her invitation to come sing. I hope they catch the revelation that God has enlarged their territory, that their work is not done and that they’ve been given a new generation to reach. I hope their obedience leads to another #1 hit and of course that many souls get saved. And I really hope that Wendy Williams impression of Christ or the church is not solely dependent upon the ugly tongue lashing she endured. I pray that amongst all the nasty comments that maybe there was one that proved that Christians can be kind. ‘Cause when the comments on a Christian website make you think you’ve stumbled upon World Star Hip Hop instead, the church has a serious problem that seriously needs to be fixed. But since God works all things together for good, we can expect this situation to turn out just fine. (Romans 8:28)