Born A Girl

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Bishop Corletta Vaughn is no stranger to this blog. I have covered her extensively during the airing of “Preachers of Detroit” and also “Women Who Soar” her coaching and mentoring seminar for women. On April 9, 2016 she unveiled her latest game changer, Herself! In a brand new documentary “Born A Girl”, Bishop Vaughn reveals her struggle to become a world renown Preacher. Little did we know, her first struggle was being allowed to preach in the first place. Simply because she was a girl.

Being a preacher’s child often carries with it a natural knack for the word of God. So preaching her first sermon at the age of 4 in her mother’s salon should have been no surprise and was the first indicator that she will follow in her father’s footsteps. This would be no problem if she was born a boy. For in the Baptist church as well as other churches, women preachers were and still are strictly forbidden.  “Born A Girl” Takes you on a journey with Bishop Vaughn as she recalls the trials and triumphs that built the woman of God that she is. Everything from that fateful night her father Henry Lewis stood up for his daughter’s call on her life to preach to the murder of her brother in Memphis,TN. Nothing was easy. In this documentary, she exemplifies hard work and not taking no for an answer.

This is why she wanted this opportunity to tell her story. Because women are often told “No”.  Young girls with dreams of mighty things are told they can’t just because they are girls. Bishop Corletta Vaughn is seeking to destroy those barriers. You could tell by the faces of the guests in attendance, her message was getting across. So much so that once the credits rolled, a standing ovation was mandatory. Her mission, accomplished! Her documentary is arguably one of the most inspiring films any young girl can watch.

As a man watching this film, I felt even more compelled than ever to ensure that all women have equal opportunity succeed in this world. For man’s world would not exist without a woman’s contributions. In her documentary, Bishop Vaughn quoted an old African proverb “If you teach a man, you help a man. But if you teach a woman, you help a village”. This documentary will go a long way to doing just that. Because the first thing our young women need to learn is that being born a girl is the first step to becoming someone great! Holla if you hear me!

-K. Greene

UPDATE: I was so moved by the movie and the efforts of the Corletta J Vaughn Foundation, that I have decided Hollaifyouhearme.com will partner up. The tab at the top of the screen that says ” Support The Corletta J Vaughn Foundation ” will be there for you and anyone else to donate to their efforts to help women and girls! I will be pitching in and I hope you will also!

Preachers of Detroit: Winds of Change

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I admit that sometimes I get stuck in my ways and change becomes a bad word. It’s not that I am apposed to change. I enjoy comfort. However, in my experiences, I have learned that change is needed when you are the most comfortable. It is only then that you truly grow.  We see Pastor Bullock make his case to the Detroit City Council on why he should be one of them. Even with the support of members of his congregation, his bid for a seat on the City Council fell short. I had a feeling he wasn’t going to make it. The intensity by which he pursued this post exposed his flaws. It was refreshing to see him at the table with Bishops Langston and Ellis a bit more subdued. He was no doubt disappointed but patient and receptive. If Bullock wants to pursue a City Council seat, now is the time for him to change some of his methods.

More often than not, change is painful as in the case of Pastor Shelby’s eldest daughter. After much declaration of saved lifestyle, it was revealed that she lost her virginity while a teem. She didn’t run form the truth when it came out. In fact, she embraced it. She changed the perception of her personal failure. From a painful memory to a valuable lesson to teach. Her ability to change a positive to a negative may prove valuable to all young people. Yet her parents may have the toughest time changing and Bishop Corletta Vaughn is the symbol of that change.

The Shelby’s and the Vaughn’s went out to dinner together and I knew this would be a clash of ideologies rooted in their very beliefs. You could already tell throughout the season that Bishop Vaughn being a woman and serving with that title and authority was an issue for them. It is an issue in a most churches. Not just in Detroit but worldwide. Bishop Vaughn has been a force for women’s rights for years whereas Pastor Don Shelby Jr, Is a traditionalist.. Pastor Shelby believes in a woman’s place is by her husband’s side and defiantly not in the pulpit. He even said “I wanted to marry a woman and not a Bishop!”. Mrs. Shelby has the greatest problem with this. Bishop Vaughn is the total opposite of herself. It became obvious during their discussion, Mrs. Shelby became defiant. Not because of anything Bishop Vaughn said, but because Bishop Vaughn represents a direct challenge to the Shelby lifestyle, Bishop Vaughn represents a mirror of what Mrs. Shelby could have become. What dreams or goals did little girl Shelby have that were put aside in favor of becoming Mrs. Don Shelby?

As I watched this heated discussion, I realized Hilary Clinton is going to have to have the same discussion with America. If Hilary Clinton wants to win the White House, She has to follow Bishop Corletta Vaughn’s lead and convince America that change must come again. Time has come for women to use their gifts and talents on the same platforms as us men, How long are we as men going to continue to blame the daughters of Eve for the apple? How long are we going punish the women for our absence of paradise?  Its time to embrace change. Adam and Eve were kicked out of Eden together for they both ate the apple and only by working together as equals can we get a piece of that paradise back. Holla if you hear me!

K. Greene

Preachers of Detroit: Community Counselors

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Last Friday evening, we got a look at the most important part of ministry. That is Stewardship to the people. Back in the Civil Rights Movement, White supremacists firebombed Black Churches. Not because Black folks were in them, but because those churches meant everything to the community. Those churches were the gathering places. Community news was shared. During the Civil Rights movement, all marches and protests were planned at the church. They were shelters in a vicious world. The Pastor ensured the churches remained safe havens where he tended to his congregation on a personal level.

As we see in Evangelist Dorinda Clark-Cole, this can be a huge undertaking. Her schedule stretches her very thin. In the process, she becomes very tired and old wounds start to surface. With the help of her sister, a therapist, and reassurance from her daughter, Dorinda found peace to endure the road ahead. Pastor Shelby and First Lady Shelby deal with one of their own at Burning Bush International. A young woman named Christian who struggles with homelessness and addiction not to mention trying to raise a very young child on her own. Things started off rocky at first but they were able to get her the help she needs. Only time will tell if they were successful.

A successful community is the goal of all our Preachers. For Bishop Corletta Vaughn, success for her community will be imported from Peru. Multi-Millionaire Fernando Palenzuelo purchased the old Packard Plant which is walking distance from her church Holy Ghost Cathedral. Bishop Vaughn met with Mr. Palenzuelo and thought it will be a great idea to have a town hall. There, Mr. Palanzuelo can meet the community and outline his plans for development including jobs for the community. Bishop Vaughn also spoke to Pastor Bullock about the town hall. Pastor Bullock is known for his work in the community and bringing him in would be a good move. Pastor Bullock jumped at the chance when he found out City Council President Brenda Jones was going to be in attendance. This was his chance to make a political contact. A political contact he will desperately need if his hopes of getting elected to the Detroit City Council is realized.

I had the pleasure of covering the town hall and you can read about it on this site in the archives: “The Packard: An Answered Prayer for Prosperity”  . On screen, we see what my spot at a table could not. I was dismayed to say the least. I know or met just about all of the community leaders and activists in Detroit through covering events and hosting a show on Urban Nation Radio. Needless to say, getting them all on the same page is difficult at best.  Yet they all share one thing in common. They let their work speak for them. Self promotion is not more important than the causes they champion. I saw no such thing in Pastor Bullock. While the night was clearly for the community of East Grand Blvd and Mt Elliott, Pastor Bullock’s sole focus was on himself. Even left early when it appeared to him that meeting City Council President Brenda Jones seemed unlikely. He missed that opportunity as well as the opportunity to meet Mr. Palanzuelo himself and voice any community concerns he had. Youth and energy are great assets but often betrayed by a lack of patience. I like Pastor Bullock’s passion for the community but his lack of seasoning is getting in the way of him doing mighty things.

Oxygen network is already hyping the next episode as “Bullock vs. Vaughn”. The events of the town hall will be discussed. I hope Pastor Bullock really listens to Bishop Vaughn. Pastor Bullock has to become the key to Detroit’s future. He has to realize that after the last episode of this show airs, it’s his deeds that people need to see. The Pastor Bullock that he is currently showing everyone echoes the self-centered politicians that got Detroit in the mess it is in today. The people have seen enough of that. Holla if you hear me.

-K. Greene

Preachers of Detroit: The Past vs. The Present

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A Friday night in Detroit is a guaranteed great time and this past Friday night was no exception, I had the pleasure of attending a “Preachers of Detroit” watch party hosted by the most popular cast member, Bishop Corletta Vaughn. The Signature Bar and Grill was pack with fans and family as Bishop Vaughn greeted everyone with a hug and a smile. Her larger than life personality spread throughout the room. However, once the clock struck 8pm, all eyes were fixated on the televisions for “Preachers of Detroit”.

This episode brings in seldom seen cast member Pastor Tim Alden along side it’s most controversial Pastor David Bullock. Pastor Bullock invites Pastor Alden to his Safe Sex talk night at his church and the clash of ideologies began. Pastor Alden believes in the traditional path of abstinence. So much so that he himself is a 50yr old virgin. Pastor Alden came up to the podium excited to share his story and promote abstinence. However, his excitement would be short lived as was his message. Before Pastor Alden could get far into his speech, he was abruptly cut off by Pastor Bullock. Also, Pastor Bullock proceeded to hand out condoms! Pastor Bullock is okay with premarital sex as long as protection is used. The look on Pastor Alden’s face was of humiliation with borderline rage. We will have to see this Friday how this turns out.

Pastor Don W. Shelby Jr. is fighting his own battle and holding on to his traditional views when discussing his kid’s careers in music. Pastor Shelby’s kids formed a singing group called “The Shelby 5”. They are very good too!! More importantly, they see the need to improve to become successful. That means possibly working with producers and artists who perform secular(non-Gospel) music. That doesn’t sit well with Pastor Shelby. Anything outside of traditional, old-school church values is a no go in his house.

The same goes for the women in Pastor Shelby’s house as well. The Shelby women were invited to cast member, Bishop Corletta Vaughn’s women’s conference. Mrs. Shelby and her daughters were already not on board with Bishop Vaughn being a Bishop. Now, asking them to come to a women’s empowerment conference is asking too much. A young lady on Twitter asked me “Why doesn’t Bishop Vaughn respect Mrs. Shelby’s position?”. Since I had Bishop Vaughn 10ft from me, I asked Bishop Vaughn herself. Bishop Vaughn Replied ” I respect Mrs. Shelby’s position for her, but not for all women”. In the question and answer session after the show, Bishop Vaughn went on to say “As women we are just to diverse and talented to only be housewives. All women should be able to have a choice.”
The past and the present will always clash. Why? Because the future is at stake. The past got us here but the present is all about change. Without change, there is no way we can make ourselves better. Our future is depending on that. This Friday, Bishop Corletta Vaughn will fight for the future of one of her own. I hope everyone watches and learn something very valuable. Holla if you hear me!
-K. Greene

Preachers of Detroit: Love and Old Wounds

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If you asked me last month, if “Preachers of Detroit” would be one of the highest rated TV shows on primetime Friday night, I would have said no. I would not have thought that a faith-based reality show set in a small market could hold the nation’s attention. I would have been wrong, very wrong. “Preachers of Detroit” has taken the world by storm and I couldn’t be happier. This show is one of the top trending topics on social media every Friday night.

Last Friday, Another event took place on the show that I couldn’t be happier about. Bishop-Elect Clarence Langston and Pastor David Bullock patched things up. Their initial meeting was tumultuous to say the least. Before Bishop-Elect Clarence Langston can become a full Bishop, Bishop Wayne T. Jackson gave him a directive that he must do before he can take office. Before Langston can become Bishop, he must make peace with his life. Including healing an old wound left by the murder of his mother when he was a child. As Bishop Langston stood over the grave of his mother, I came to a realization. If Bishop Langston ever wanted to see what Pastor Bullock is trying to accomplish, he need only to look at himself.  Pastor Bullock’s work in the community is to prevent children from going through exactly what Bishop Langston went through. Pastor Bullock believes that Preachers have to get involved in the community. Their influence can help deter drugs, increase hope, and cut down crime. The community needs that leadership. Reaching out can change anyone’s situation or even save a life.

The life of “Preachers of Detroit’s” most popular cast member is coming to the forefront. Marriage is difficult. Especially between successful people. Bishop Corletta Vaughn and Pastor Gilbert Vaughn are those people. The Vaughns have been married 30yrs. I have known them for the past 15yrs and in those 15yrs, I never had reason to doubt their devotion to one another. Yet, I will never underestimate the demands of ministry on any couple and The Vaughns are no exception. I admire Bishop Vaughn’s bravery in allowing everyone to see those difficulties. All married couples go through rough patches. My wife and I included. It was through one of these rough patches that I learned a valuable lesson. Old wounds and miscommunication can cause rifts and arguments. The important thing that you have to keep your focus on what you are fighting for. If you fighting for respect, pride, or to prove a point, I guarantee your marriage will end. If you fight for your marriage and your spouse, you will endure. Over the next few weeks, we will see Bishop Vaughn and her husband endure some difficulties. All married couples have dreams of prosperity and greatness. Yet we don’t consider the stress on a marriage quadruples when one or both become successful. I will be watching and praying we all learn a valuable lesson. Also, in the process, learning to value each other even more. Holla if your hear me.

– K. Greene

Preachers of Detroit: Motor City Ministry

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I admit I am not the biggest fan of reality television. I have avoided it since VH1’s “Flavor of Love” Shenanigans. Yet the American public can’t get enough of it. When Oxygen debuted “Preachers of L.A.”, my wife found her reality TV addiction. I joined her a few nights on the sofa and took in this look in on the lives of these preachers. These were legit preachers but for all their good deeds, It felt Hollywood, The Glitz and Glam of L.A. cast a bigger shadow over the cast itself. Enter “Preachers of Detroit”

Detroit is a city filled with hard workers who have fallen on the hardest of times. It’s times like this where people rely on their faith. Local pastors do their absolute best to bring their congregations the word of God and the Oxygen Network wants to introduce you to a few of them. Bishop Charles Ellis III, Bishop Corletta Vaughn, Pastor Tim Alden, Bishop Clarence Langston, Pastor Don William Shelby Jr., Evangelist Dorinda Clark-Cole, and Pastor David Bullock. Each one bring their own individual style to delivering the word of God. For the people who attend their churches, this is the most important person in their lives.  These Preachers are Leaders, Mentors, and Guides in their path to salvation. The world is getting a peek at the lives of these Preachers in the coming weeks and what you will see will astound you. The first episode has already set the nation ablaze, Pastor Bullock’s stance on community responsibility and Bishop Vaughn’s battle against sexism in the church has audiences riveted! The City of Detroit itself is overjoyed at the national attention.

So I sat back and observed and read every ounce of media I could get my hands on related to the show. The results were interesting to say the least. TV critics and news media loved it. They see it as a bonafide hit sure to keep everyone talking. The faith based audience however,  is split.  Many don’t believe preachers should be on TV. Some don’t believe that Pastors should have Bentleys or mansions given the current state of the city. The Church of God In Christ denomination believes that no woman can hold the position of Bishop and has made their objections to Bishop Vaughn known. One would think that a show about preachers would have the full endorsement all believers of God, This couldn’t be further from the truth, I was saddened by this until I remembered those words in big letters in the back of Bishop Corletta Vaughn’s church. They read “Declaring War on Biblical Ignorance”. That is the purpose of this show. These Pastors will discuss each topic and give us a glimpse into their world and just maybe a few more eyes will be opened. I know mine will be every Friday evening,  Holla if you hear me!

 

– K. Greene

 

The Packard: An Answered Prayer For Prosperity

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My favorite Bible verse of all time is Ecclesiastes 3:1. It reads “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under Heaven.(King James Version)”.  For a neighborhood on the eastside of Detroit, that time is now.  The old Packard car plant which lay dormant for years is about to receive new life from across the seas. European billionaire Fernando Palazuelo purchased the old 3,500,000 square foot complex with hopes of bringing new business and jobs to an area in desperate need of a boost.

A town hall was held at Holy Ghost Cathedral in the next block down from the old building under the leadership of Bishop Corletta Vaughn. A rainy Thursday evening would bring the new owner of the Packard building together with his new neighbors for the first time. Cameras from the new reality series “Preachers of Detroit” were rolling to show the world this event. “It’s an exciting night” Bishop Vaughn opens with a smile. That excitement was shared by all in attendance. A small church with a Bishop who’s personality is as large as life itself, filled to capacity to hear a big announcement that will change the face of the eastside of Detroit forever. All walks of life came to hear what was coming. The plant closed in 1958 and once employed 40,000 people. This was the first ray of hope in the area in 56yrs. Everyone that came through the door was grateful decades of apathy on East Grand Blvd was coming to an end.

Fernando Palazuelo had great success in Peru refurbishing buildings and making them suitable for business. Mr. Palazuelo presented a power point of his accomplishments in Lima, Peru. His first set of slides highlighted his success with buildings in Peru as old as the Packard. His methods were to preserve as much of the original buildings as possible while at the same time give them an artistic facelift. His passion for art is prevalent in the buildings featured in the slides. Palazuelo’s company Arte Express will now focus on the old Packard plant. In fact, they have established Arte Express Detroit LLC to symbolize their commitment to Detroit. This will be no small feat. The total time for the renovation is expected to take 7-15yrs with 1500yrds of debris already cleared.

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A Q&A followed. The Dais Included, Fernando Palazuelo, Kari Smith Packard Project Manager, and City Council President Brenda Jones; moderated by Bishop Corletta Vaughn.  Anyone in attendance had the opportunity to express any concerns or to ask questions any questions they wished pertaining to the city or the Packard Plant development and indeed they did! One after another, residents approached the microphone to express what was on their minds and hearts. Some just wanted to thank him for his investment in the community. A few asked about jobs and opportunities for skilled trades. One business owner was concerned about the lack of adequate lighting in the area. Another was concerned about the effect of the construction on her business which borders the old Packard Plant. The most heartfelt concerns came from the firefighters who manned the fire station in the next block. The words they shared shook everyone in attendance. As the veteran first responder stepped forward, all eyes were fixed upon him as one of the most important members of the community. Then he spoke. He acknowledged Bishop Vaughn and her husband Pastor Gilbert Vaughn as having supported them in the community since the beginning of the church over 20yrs ago. Especially, during the loss of one their fellow fireman killed in the line of duty. He also welcomed Mr. Palazuelo to the area and pledged the support of the station but there was a problem. The fireman informed all in attendance that the station will soon close due to budget cuts. They were told the news by their superiors at their last meeting. The station itself is one of oldest in the city. It was built back when horses pulled the water pumps. The original hayloft used to feed the horses is still there. Also due to budget cuts, the station is not equipped to handle full scale fires and their current rig is scaled down to handle small fires and rescues only.

Everyone was taken aback by this news. City Council President Brenda Jones used her phone to seek the truth of the Fireman’s claim and was notified via text that the station was not being closed. The Fireman was unmoved by the text. He knew what he was told and the conditions in which he worked, upheld his beliefs. Bishop Vaughn was very concerned as was Mr. Palazuelo. The people in the seats sat stunned. The neighborhood as a whole wanted to know what was going on with their fire station and as a community, felt a little less safe. This would be the first time in a long while this community spoke as one. The Firemen who protected this community now had the strength of the community on their side.

Once the meeting was adjourned, Bishop Vaughn and Mr. Palazuelo greeted all who stayed after. Those who brought resumes, got a chance to give them to Mr. Palazuelo personally. After all, these are his neighbors and he spoke to each person as such. I sat at my table and smiled. I couldn’t stop smiling. Detroit’s revitalization was happening in one of the most unlikeliest of locations. So unlikely that none of Detroit’s major news outlets made it to the event. Of course, they got the story of the first announcements but they didn’t get this. They didn’t witness the faces of excitement I saw. They didn’t sit in the presence of this abundance of hope. I witnessed one of the most decimated communities in Detroit find their way again. It was like witnessing a whole neighborhood wake from a brutal coma. It can easily be said that while I sat in the back of this church, I witnessed a neighborhood blessed like no other. Holla if you hear me.

-K Greene