Gospel singer Todd Dulaney recently spoke with EBONY about his new album, To Africa With Love, the church evolving with the youth and whether Jesus was a person of color.
The live album, released March 15, was recorded in Cape Town, South Africa. The music on the 10-track recording reflects the vibrancy of the country’s oldest city and cultural hub.
“When you talk about worship experience in Africa, it is big, it is extravagant and it is high energy,” the Grammy-nominated singer said. “The way they dance during their worship services is the way we dance over here when we’re going out at night. They dance, dance.”
Dulaney, 33, said he wanted to capture how freely people on the continent worship and he tried to bring that “beautiful” experience to his fans.
When asked why there is a contrast in the way we worship in America, Dulaney said because our country “puts so much stock in our technology and the things that we have.
“Over there in other countries, they are still at a place where I think we used to be,” he said. “Where Sunday used to be honored. Where businesses used to be closed and you had to be in before the streetlights came on.”
That honor and sense of community seem to be lacking in the United States and “that’s a dangerous place to be,” he said. “Now, it’s if I feel it, I’ll do it. And if it’s legal, then no one should have a problem.”
Dulaney said he has noticed that this progression in society causes youths to want “what’s real.” He said that many young people have turned away from the church and other forms of Christian culture because of manmade blockades that are not meeting them where they are.
“In the church, … where we went wrong [is] that we set up so many religious blocks that were not instructions that were left behind in the Bible,” the six-time Stellar Award nominee said. “These [are] things that turned young people away,” including how to dress at church or how to worship.
Dulaney said he feels changes are needed to get people to embrace their faith. He also spoke about his perception of Jesus as a person of color.
“The Bible is clear as to the way it said Jesus looked. I believe that Jesus had color in his skin, that his hair was more described as that as a person of color,” he said. “Africa is a huge play on where these things happened, and it happened for a reason.
“The struggles of the people of color have so much to do with them being a chosen people,” Dulaney said. “It makes sense that God would choose to come through a people that would struggle the way that [Black people] have and then have a resilience the way that we have.”
Despite what Jesus may have looked like, the importance is that he came and gave his life up for all and demonstrated love for all, Dulaney said.
To Africa With Loveis available on all streaming platforms. Watch the full segment above.
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Christina Santi is a news and culture writer for EBONY.com. Born and raised in the Bronx, New York, she considers herself a well-read, not so traditional feminist with a heavy interest in music, fashion and pop culture. Christina currently lives in New York City, where she refers to her Cuban & Jamaican descent often while writing about her experiences as a first-generation Afro-Latinx in America. She also devotes time writing personalized reading material for her tutees and turning ideas into words for streetwear brand, PUER By Noel Bronson.