Interviews , Television

Yolanda Adams And Serayah On Fighting Faith-Based Stereotypes in BET+'s New Gospel Music Drama Series 'Kingdom Business'

BET+ has a new series that is sure to shake the table within the faith-based community. Gospel legend Yolanda Adams and Empire alum Serayah have joined forces as allies in the new drama series Kingdom Business. The show is produced by DeVon Franklin with music by Kirk Franklin and Warren Campbell.

Kingdom Business stars Adams as Denita Jordan, the Queen of Gospel Music at First Kingdom Church and Kingdom Records in Atlanta. Her music has been heard around the world, and she is determined to guard her family and its many secrets at all costs. Her husband Calvin Jordan is the Bishop at First Kingdom, but Denita is the true leader, with little tolerance for insurrection among her family and employees (and ex-employees). But when a new powerhouse performer on the Atlanta gospel scene — a young pole dancer, Rbel (Serayah), emerges, Denita’s throne is threatened. It’s a battle for pedigree and both will, no matter the cost.

Shadow and Act spoke with Adams and Serayah on the show, their experience filming, how they relate to their characters and more. Watch the full interview above and check out some of the highlights below.

The show showcases the complexities of the Gospel music industry

In one episode, Adams’ character Denita tells her son who wants to push the envelope with a new signee that “Gospel isn’t entertainment, it’s ministry.” Adams disagrees. 

“Everything can be entertainment. A preacher preaching a sermon can be entertainment, especially if he adds some colorful words or she adds some rap lyrics or something like that,” she notes. “ I don’t have a problem with entertainment and ministry because when you dress up to be on stage, that’s entertainment. But the words that come from your heart, or are expressed through song, that’s ministry. You can’t really like separate those things.”

Both Yolanda Adams and Seryah want viewers to understand that faith is a journey and it’s OK to ask questions

The show is a rollercoaster with so many twists and turns and shocking moments. Each character is flawed in their own way, yet they hold steadfast to their faith. With that in mind, it humanizes faith-based figures as people who are not perfect. 

In watching the show, there’s one important takeaway Adams wants viewers to get.  “I would love for people to understand the human dynamic has so many layers. There’s no perfect preacher, there’s no perfect this, there’s no perfect anything. And that a person of faith can be challenged in several areas of their life,” she notes. “It doesn’t mean that their faith has to disappear. But it’s OK to question your faith. I don’t know where people got this whole thing that you can’t question God.”

Serayah agrees, adding: “[From my experience], if you have questions, you can’t really express it that forwardly, especially not around some people,” she said. “You might feel alone [because of it]. So to go through this experience and to have it authentically play out, I think there was no moment we shied away from. The show is going to meet people right where they are.”

Kingdom Business is now streaming on BET+.

Shadow and Act is a website dedicated to cinema, television and web content of Africa and its global Diaspora. With daily news, interviews, in-depth investigations into the audiovisual industry, and more, Shadow and Act promotes content created by and about people of African descent throughout the world.

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