J. Dewveall’s new single, and animated music video, “Slave Owner’s Gospel,” tackles the incredibly difficult topic of the American Church and racism. It’s a song that weighs heavily on the heart, but, hopefully, will also inspire change.
“Slave Owner's Gospel" is a journey through the messy history of the American Church and racism, from the times of slavery to Jim Crow and the civil rights era, then into our present day, ending with a call to "let go of the slave owner's gospel" and begin a more hopeful future. In the song, the focus is on heaven, and the afterlife, to show how the slippery slope of our beliefs can lead to white supremacy that seeks theological cover as it props up injustice.
The critique that "Slave Owner's Gospel" presents is not from an outside point of view, as Dewveall grew up in the Baptist tradition, and is written in a first-person perspective, with Dewveall taking on the role of fictional preachers in different eras of American history as they deliver their theological justifications for oppression.
To accompany the song, Dewveall worked with animator, Nathan Morrow, to make a music video that brings even more richness and meaning to the storyline, giving a visual connection to the characters and events in America’s religious, and civil rights, past.