Black Church, Conclusion

Oh, wait, we can’t leave just yet. Rev’s gettin’ ready to “come to a close.”

For the 3rd time.

Remember, class, Black Rule # 15-B:

When a preacher look at his watch, it don’t mean a thing.

Let me give you a clue: he aint really coming to a close, until he:

1–close his Bible.

2–lean his head to the side, and take his glasses off. This mean he aint reading his notes no more, he’s “leanin’ an’ dependin’ on the Sperrit” now to finish his sermon. This is when it’s gonna get good!

3–He starts to hum in between sentences, looking for his proper musical pitch. We call this “tuning up,” consisting of spaced out pauses, hums, “well, well”, and other various mnemonics designed to slide him into his “whoop.”

White preachers don’t whoop. Just so you know. Every blue moon, I mean eeeeevery blue moon, a White boy come along with a sense of rhythm, and “pulls him one.” I know this is all a bit confusing, but it’ll make more sense, when you hear it first hand.

The “Whoop”, or the musical ending to the Black Sermon, has it’s roots  in the West African call-and-response story telling oral tradition. In the old days, before churches had organs, the congregation would “talk back” to the preacher, repeating the last few words of his sentences in a rhythmic beat, punctuating his sermon and turning it into a song-like chant. Once we got organs and pianos in, though, we got buck-wild with it.

YouTube got some good whoopers on it. Personally, I find C.L. Franklin, Leo Daniels, and Jasper Williams are the best of their representative styles. Oh, and among modern preachers, Bishop G.E. Patterson has no peer.


(feel free to argue that, if you like)

“What In Hell Do You Want?” By Rev. Leo Daniels is one of the best stand-up, non-music whooping sermons ever preached.

But hold on, we’ll talk about that later. Listen to Rev come to a close…

“Yes, my brothers and sisters…I used to be on the street…can I get a witness?”

“Yes, Rev! We remembers ya! Talk, Doc!”

“I used to…um-hmmm…stand on the corner…hangin’ by the Greyhound Bus station…”

“Well, well!”

Waitin’ on them pretty young thangs to step off…lookin’ for a strong Black man…to give ‘em….a helpin’ hand…”

“Lawd help Lawd help!”

“I was pimpin’ like there was no tomorrow…pimpin’ an’ tippin’….slippin’ an’ slidin’…”


But I’m so glad…I said I’m glaaaa-aaad….that Jeeesus…”


“Mary’s Baby Boy! Jee-sus…”

“Yes! Yes!”

“The Rose of Sharon….Jeeeeee-sus!”


“The Fairest above ten thousand….Jeeeesus!”

“Come on, suh!”

The Lily…..of the valley! The Bright…..and Mornin’ Star! Shout Yes!”


“Shout Yes!”





(Right about now, one of the front-row sisters gets to shoutin’ and carrying on. It’s quite unnerving, especially if you’re used to Quiet Church. But, sorry to say, Black folk don’t play that. We like our Church noisy, the noiser the better. Here’s an example:


See, we all like it funky, and the funkier the better!

This one’s a funeral….


A funeral. Why not?

See, no matter where you go, we Black folk like to let it all hang out in church.

That’s who we are.

That’s what we do….




Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: