In this Black Theology Forum, Professor Robert Beckford will take us through his new book Decolonising Contemporary Gospel Music Through Praxis: Handsworth Revolutions (Bloomsbury, 2023). Beckford will explain how the Black British tradition fails to articulate in song the social teachings of Jesus. The roots of the predicament, Beckford identifies as the continuity of racist colonial Christian thought in the Black Church and consequently all its theological music(s), including contemporary gospel. In response to what Beckford perceives as a ‘crisis’ for the Black Church, he presents practical musical examples of how the genre can be transformed from his contemporary gospel music album, ’The Jamaican Bible Remix (2017). Beckford will also show how the album has impacted gospel music artists in the UK.
The Black Theology Forum is a most important site for the verbal articulation of Black theology in Britain and is recognised as the ‘go to place’ for a monthly encounter of lively, interactive, intellectual, and practical exploration amongst academics, practitioners, and those interested in, or new to Black theology. The forum is hosted by The Centre for Black Theology
(CBT) and chaired by centre director, Dr Dulcie Dixon McKenzie. A guest speaker leads a conversation by way of a formal presentation followed by Q & A which always provides an opportunity to explore in more depth, themes and concepts in Black theology. It is always intentionally a constructive critical conversation on a wide range of topics that merges scholarship and transformative practice.