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THIS ONE IS PERSONAL: Gospel's Lecresia Campbell has died

By Mona Austin

As Gospel Music Heritage Month nears its close, I was working on completing a post about an artist who I feel embodies the "total package" and a stand out female vocalist. I'd selected Lecresia Campbell as the latter.   Unfortunately, today I learned of the passing of Ms. Campbell.  She was a gift to the Body of Christ whose name may only be recognized by gospel music enthusiasts.  She was well respected, but under recognized as gospel music became more commercialized.  Out of respect, honor and sincere sadness, I will dedicate this final post of GMH Month in her memory.

This loss is personal.  About a week before reports of her illness, Campbell crossed my mind.  As a classically inclined singer, everything about her voice inspired me.  I went to YouTube and played several of her songs back-to-back to pick up some tips and because I'd simply missed hearing her angelic voice. I never really knew what to do with my voice in the space of the gospel industry other than sing Negro Spirituals.  Spirituals performed on special occasions or in theatrical productions were a safe space for Black vocalists possessing an operatic tone. That is, of course, unless your first name was "Lecresia" and last name "Campbell." Her style was widely embraced. Campbell was doing what I'd only dreamt of doing - making a very formal vocal presentation acceptable to the church masses by pouring soulful innuendo on top of phrases.

On the day I revisited her song catalog, another quality of her music kept me engaged -- her ability to "minister" the song.   I came to hear music.  I stayed to experience ministry.  The comfort in Ms. Campbell's voice led me to a peaceful place as I listened to her rendering of "I'm In His Safety."

Within that week I learned from a Facebook post the Campbell had suffered a stroke. She apparently underwent a subsequent surgery that was successful and was scheduled to be released form the hospital tomorrow, Sept. 30.  Fans were hopeful for a full recovery as Campbell posted a message on Facebook on September 7 saying she would be responding the messages.  As reported by ALWAYSALIST.COM, Campbell sadly  died today of a pulmonary embolism.

In the clip above Campbell's glorious soprano is on full display.   Thank you for so freely giving your gift.  May heaven be enlarged with your presence as you forever dwell in His safety, Lecresia Campbell.  RIP.