Hundreds of people and especially people of colour (African Americans or Black people) trooped into the Grace Cathedral in San Francisco to attend a Beyonce themed mass.The mass, as reported by Nyasha Shani Foi of Broadly is an event that “brought together secular music in a religious message to tell a story of empowerment for a particularly women of colour and for any one who sings praises to the goddess herself, Beyonce.”
The theme of the service, though centered around Beyonce and her music, was also an exploration of the spirituality and strength of women of colour and how they have fought to the core to make sure there is a better tomorrow for the next generation of other women of colour.
Speaking in an interview with Nyasha on the progressive nature of Grace Cathedral, the Reverend Minister, Jude Harmon explained that the people who came for the programme were mainly people of colour, the LGBT community and people on whom other people’s narratives have been projected. He further shed light on the fact that the church had not been a platform for uplifting the voices of these minority. The programme was therefore stemmed from the conviction of “actually being the people of God that God wants us to be to the world.”
Being asked if Beyonce was the perfect passage for getting the message out there in the world, Reverend Harmon replied that he thought Beyonce was a better theologian than most pastors and preachers in our world today.
The organiser of the event, Reverend Yolanda Norton, also an ardent fun of Beyonce said that the idea for the event was born out of a class she teaches on “Beyonce and the Hebrew Bible,” where she walks her students through the process of how the music of Beyonce helps to have conversations about black women, how they worship, and their spirituality.
Asked about how she analyses a Beyonce’s song like “Flaws and All,” for her students, Reverend Norton explained that the lyrics in the song was made into a conversation and a prayer they would have with God in their worship service.
Grace Cathedral is of the view that Jesus chose a woman of colour, Mary Magdalene,to be the prophet of the resurrection. And though there is a world wide debate on whether women, especially those of colour, should be ordained, the fact that God is more comfortable in trusting his power to women of colour, should be enough reason.
The Church is also convinced that choosing Beyonce as the theme for the service was a step in the right direction because she reminds everybody that sometimes you have to do things your way, and because God asks you to, and not what your oppressors demand of you.
The mass service featured variety of songs from Beyonce including one from her Destiny’s Child days, Survivor, Flaws and All from her B’day album and Freedom from her Lemonade album featuring hip pop rapper, Kendrick Lamar. Patrons jammed to the secular songs which was led by the church’s choir, while praising and acknowledging God for the strength to stand tall and not give up in an increasingly hostile world.