UM-Dearborn Prof. Deborah Smith Pollard's study of gospel music named to list of 'Michigan Notable Books'

December 11, 2008

Pollard’s book, "When the Church Becomes Your Party: Contemporary Gospel Music"

DEARBORN / Dec. 11, 2008---A book by University of Michigan-Dearborn English Prof. Deborah Smith Pollard has been named one of this year’s 20 “Michigan Notable Books” by the Library of Michigan.

Pollard’s book, When the Church Becomes Your Party: Contemporary Gospel Music, was published earlier this year by the Wayne State University Press.

The book is a collection of essays on topics in gospel music, both in Detroit and on the national level, including praise and worship, women gospel music announcers and “holy hip hop.”

Among other subjects, the book examines trends in the clothing worn by gospel artists, which provides the source for the book’s title.

“When I was doing research on gospel attire, I talked to one woman who made clothing for the Clark Sisters and others,” Pollard said. “I said, ‘Why so much beading?’ This is the bejeweled look that many were wearing. And she said, ‘Well, when the church becomes your party, you bring your clothes from out in the world into the church.’ So there’s never too much beading, there’s never too much glitter, there’s never too much tailoring. You bring your clothes from outside the church, which has become your party.”

“The Michigan Notable Books list is the Library of Michigan's annual selection of books reflecting Michigan's rich cultural heritage, featuring high-quality titles with wide public appeal that are either written by a Michigan resident or about a Michigan-related topic,” according to a statement from the library. “The selections are reflective of Michigan's diverse ethnic, historical, literary, and cultural experience.”

In addition to her academic position at UM-Dearborn, Pollard is well known for her gospel music program on Detroit radio powerhouse WJLB-FM. In 2005, she was named “Gospel Announcer of the Year” in the annual Stellar Awards.




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