Barbra, Bob and Black Gospel


Barbra, Bob and Black Gospel

BROOKLYN BABY! Cheaaa Son! All day long! Being born and reared in Brooklyn, New York shaped how I see the world. From the streets of Flatbush, Crown Heights, Bed Stuy, Brownsville and East NY, I was fully immersed in diversity and culture like NO other. Surrounded by bodegas, boom boxes, Bouyon, bullets and Bekishes, I grew up living, breathing, absorbing it ALL. Diversity was simply a way of life.

My first year of college (which my mother still refers to as the most expensive vacation on record) was spent at an amazing HBCU in Virginia. Having got skipped from 7th to 9th grade, it was my introduction as a 17 yr old from the concrete jungle, to the darkest country skies I’d ever seen. “What’s a matter Brooklyn? ‘Fraid of the dark?”, the Bartle & Jaymes in him teased as we stood on campus; him leaning in for the goodnight suga he never got. “Nah, this ain’t dark baby…”, I quipped as I leaned back a bit. “This is country dark and y’all can HAVE it!”

I joined the award winning Gospel Choir at my school that had at least 100 members and a full band. I then auditioned for and got into the condensed version of the group of 30 singers called the Travel Choir. Such an incredible, life changing experience. However, to see me on stage, in uniform, displaying classic, jaw dropping Black Gospel choir vibrato and choreographed steps, you would never peg me for the girl who blasted Barbra Streisand in her dorm room…incessantly.

A fellow native Brooklynite, Barbra’s Yentl soundtrack sang me through the toughest of times. As Bob Marley rang in my soul from childhood days gone by and Black Gospel imploded in my spirit, I was a walking billboard for all things B-52’s meets The Human Beatbox. A mosaic of music, nationalities, aromas and street survival shaped my gait and mystique. Dopeness.

So the next time you extend a firm handshake, direct eye contact and hopefully a smile when meeting another, don’t cripple a potentially divine experience by deciding who they are by what you see. You could be in the presence of the Barbra, Bob and Black Gospels of the spirit realm and forfeit a reservoir of refreshing renaissance tailor made…just for you.

As you pause to reflect on and perhaps now embrace the rich, rare blend of who you are at this very moment, know that there is a God loving you for who you are, JUST AS YOU ARE, right now.

Be blessed beyond measure and strengthened for the rest of the journey….


© Ericka Arthur and authenticitee, 2015 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ericka Arthur and authenticitee with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

**Photo Credits: MTV, TheWowStyle, BlackArtBlog. No Copyright Infringement Intended

25 thoughts on “Barbra, Bob and Black Gospel

  1. Girl, where have you been hiding? Your blogs are so informative along with touches of humor. I look forward to your next blog. Just let me know when your book comes out. I will be the first in line for your autograph!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wowsers! Nice to meet you and thanks so much for your kind words my fellow Brooklynite! Lovin’ the lowercase “h” too! Abundant blessings…e


  2. Thank you for this: “now embrace the rich, rare blend of who you are at this very moment, know that there is a God loving you for who you are, JUST AS YOU ARE, right now.”

    In fact, I think I’m going to quote you on tumblr and link back to this page! (giving full and clear credit to Ericka Arthur and authenticitee with appropriate and specific direction to the original content)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I just fell in love with your writing style. From your descriptions of Brooklyn I can find myself walking the streets and soaking up the culture (and I would grab a pizza, too). You have a descriptive, and at times alliterative, flow that feels more like I’m being spoken to rather than reading words on a page. Well done! Karen 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Girl thanks for showing this to me! The first paragraph alone…we were close to each other the whole time you were in BK! I lived in all those areas and currently in crown heights :). You are right about the spirit too, you never know! I see my grandma in many people, so I know she’s watching me.

    Also I’ve been meaning to ask…how do you keep your copyright at the end? Do you post it every time or that happens automatically? I want to do the same but for my FB link.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are welcome & I’m glad it resonated with you! I add it everytime manually though I’ve noticed some blogs have it once as a disclaimer on their home page! With my being so new to this I’ve felt more comfortable doing it that way. Hope that helps!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Of course! 🙂 ….Ohh Ok That’s good to know. Yeah I was considering doing a disclaimer, but I don’t know how it would look. I understand, trust me girl I am new too that’s why I ask questions. It did help! Thank you.


      2. Absolutely! Trust…I’m still working it out one post at a time. Just determined to go for it, ya know? It’s how we learn. Look there’s tons of support here so that helps a lot. Glad you’re here! Blessings


        Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi E,
    I love this post and am so glad you included the link on your reply to me. It’s nice to see another Bab’s fan, too. And it’s cool to learn that you sang back then, also. To read that Yentl sang you through tough times not only made me smile, but also evoked memories of my childhood. I don’t remember exactly how I found Barbra, but even as a young girl in elementary school, I loved to sing. So, Babs in “On a Clear Day” played at night often, lulling me to sleep. Since then, she has been my #1 female vocalist and idol where singing was concerned. In watching her concert the other night, oh my gosh, so many of those old songs I sang into my hairbrush when I was younger. 🙂 I saw her in concert in 1994 in Anaheim, CA. When she walked on stage, it brought tears to my eyes. Beyond magical.
    I had my time in the spotlight when I was in my teens, and one memory was singing the main Gospel solo, “Hallelujah” on an east coast tour with my choir teacher’s church choir. I also sang this song at a convention of 2000 people. Hey, those were the good ‘ol days, and even though I chose a different path, I’ll always hold those close to my heart, feeling grateful and proud of those opportunities and of that choir teacher who encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone.
    Wow, so sorry for the long note, getting a little carried away here with memories. Thanks for this awesome post, and for “listening” to me ramble.
    Have a blessed day, Lauren ❤🎶🎵

    Liked by 1 person

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