Telling and making history in the gospel genre
Pop songstress Kierra Sheard has been added to the xRhythms playlist with her song “Don’t Judge Me” featuring Missy Elliot.
The track tells of making mistakes alongside a video featuring some of her own that were caught on camera. Both Kierra and rapper Missy Elliot are credited as writers for this song. It follows along the pop route with some definite gospel genre undertones.
The gospel genre was derived from African-American church culture and has inspired popular music since before the 1950s and in more recent times the genre has inspired artists like Kanye West (releasing the album “Jesus is King” in 2019) and Beyoncé (with tracks like “He Still Loves Me” in 2013).
Her mother, Karen Clark Sheard, was part of the legendary gospel group The Clark Sisters.
Kierra was no stranger to gospel since birth, being born into the genre. Her mother, Karen Clark Sheard, was part of the legendary gospel group The Clark Sisters (as well as being a respected artist in her own right) and her grandmother is gospel pioneer Mattie Moss Clark.
In an interview with the Detroit Free Press last year Kierra talks about a memory from school, “I remember in one of my classes in school, we were reading a book, and my grandmother’s name came up. I was super-surprised to have seen her in one of my school books.”
Last year saw the release of the film “The Clark Sisters: The First Lady of Gospel” in which Kierra played the role of the youngest sister, her mother Karen. “It was a super honour and a blessing,” she told the Detroit Free Press. “It was a dream for me to be able to show the world that this is what my mom, my aunts, my grandmother, my family have gone through, have done for artists that are singing gospel music today. They are history makers.”
Her mother Karen and father, Bishop J. Drew Sheard, are down as producers for the film alongside three artists who gained respect for the Clark Sisters, Mary J Blige, Queen Latifah and Missy Elliot.