The music industry is thought to be one of the most cutthroat businesses in the world. The spirit of competition can be overwhelming and sometimes mean-spirited and intolerable. Just think about it, the very nature of reality television music singing competitions is more about what act is better, who garners more ratings or is more marketable rather than which person is truly the most talented.
Where does Gospel music fall into all of this madness? How can we operate on a level of fairness in an industry that is flooded with stories of bad management, misrepresentation and the dog-eat-dog mentality? My uncle used to say that as living examples of Christ, we should “stop trying to be clever and be clean.” I immediately thought of my late uncle when I ran across a speech given by Jeff Bezos on the website Ted.com
. The site is full of inspirational material and videos, or as they simply put it, “ideas worth spreading.”
Bezos is Founder and CEO of Amazon.com. During the commencement address
to the May 2010 graduating class of Princeton University, he encouraged the graduates to be kind rather than clever. He explained that there is nothing wrong with being clever. In fact, it is reflective of whatever gift or talent we’ve been blessed with. For example, an artist is “clever” in his skillset and knowledge of musicianship. But, being kind is a much greater attribute to attain and distribute. Being kind is a choice. It is a voluntary action that we take in making the right decisions and treating others fairly.
Bezos warned the graduates of being seduced by their own gifts. Even though you may create a life or culture changing invention, like Amazon.com, it is not as effective or meaningful as making the daily choice of being kind. I think this is important and relates back to the music industry. It is imperative not to be so wrapped up in the glamor of the gift that you loose sight of the human element of music. I believe this is the middle ground where Gospel music falls. The genre of Gospel brings the added aspect of humanity, Christianity and kindness to a business where these sovereign traits are often forgotten and overlooked. The added advantage of Gospel music is that it is also laced with the moral code that delivers messages of the “Golden Rule,” which is to treat others as you would want to be treated. Or, as Bezos stated, “to be kind rather than clever.”