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Gospel Film/Video in the Caribbean - Reading The Grace Thrillers

Humanities Research Forum
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  • Linguistics
  • Musicology


Whereas Caribbean popular culture in the secular domain has attracted substantial academic scrutiny, its popular gospel culture has virtually gone unnoticed by academics writing about the Caribbean. Academics have written about Caribbean film and about film in the Caribbean. There is acknowledgment that the film industry in the Hispanophone and Francophone region has a relatively rich tradition. Anglophone Caribbean film culture is however not as pronounced. Academics have already begun to consider films from the Anglophone region, but as expected there has been little to no sustained discussion of “film” and Caribbean popular gospel culture in academic literature. This article makes the case for the short-video form as constituting “film” in the Caribbean and in Caribbean discourse. It suggests that Caribbean gospel culture has been significantly influenced by western popular culture, which has given two main types of music videos to Caribbean gospel performers. The main body of this article does a close reading of the VHS video “Make Us One” by the leading Caribbean gospel group the Grace Thrillers. The analysis examines how this conservative Caribbean gospel group “writes back” to dominant western music video models, and how the group wrestle with the perceived inherent tension between natural/authentic performance and affected/technologised performance. Humanities Review Journal Vol. 7 2007: pp. 28-35

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