Oct 8, 2010

Bobby Jones
 

ATLANTA – For Bobby Jones, keeping it real isn't just a slogan — he believes it's the reason behind the remarkable, three-decade run of his BET inspirational show, "Bobby Jones Gospel."

"When we were able to express ourselves as gospel artists and the people who were on camera responded to it, praising God and the freedom to thank Jesus, that was real television," said the 71-year-old Grammy winner. "Those were the breakthroughs."

"Bobby Jones Gospel," which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this season, is part church, part gospel concert, part talk show. It provides a rare national platform for top gospel stars each Sunday while delivering a spiritual message.

"I've heard a lot say the show raises them up. They'll be having church at home first before actual church," gospel singer Vanessa Bell Armstrong said. "And for the ones who don't go to church, it's service for them. Bobby touches lives within them."

Jones reflected on his groundbreaking show in a recent interview.

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The Associated Press: How has gospel music changed in 30 years on your show?

Bobby Jones: We've almost moved out of traditional gospel sound now. The base of the music for church folk is more like worship and praise, not relating all the bad times that we were going through. We're still going through bad times, but we are expressing it in a different way to God. We're praising God more now.

AP: What do you think of the allegations that Bishop Eddie Long coerced young men into inappropriate sexual relationships?

Bobby Jones: My heart goes out to him. It can happen to any of us. I hated this for his kids, his family, his church people. That's a cross to bear. Here he is on every major network in the country saying "Gay pastor and boys." It makes people suspicious. ... But it's life. I think he'll overcome it. As a servant of God, he'll overcome it. I pray for him and hope it didn't happen.

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