Thursday, August 8, 2013

Black Talk On A Bishop Marvin Winans YouTube Comment Thread

Edited by Azizi Powell

My observation is that when African Americans post on YouTube comment threads and other blogs we often purposely "put on the Black". By "put on the Black" I mean that African Americans sometimes purposely use “downhome”[old Southern] words, or African American Hip-Hop vernacular, or some other form/s of African American vernacular English (AAVE) to signal to other posters that we are African American, and/or as a way of enjoying ourselves and basking in (taking great pleasure & satisfaction in) the company of other persons who are assumed to also be African American.

My contention is that African American Vernacular English exclamations such as "Lawd have mercy!" and "Sang it!" (Sing with a lot of soul) not only express one's approval in how a person sings (or someother action or aspect of what is observed or heard). Those types of African American vernacular expressions also have dramatic, even playful elements and they are used to show off one's Blackness-even among other Black folk. But phrases like "That man's a beast." (That man is superhuman, i.e. He's very very good at what he does.) and "He's bad" or "That's sick" (with both "bad" and "sick" in that context meaning "very good") are statement of opinions which don't have the dramatic, playful elements as the previous examples. However, while those descriptors may be used in "regular" conversation, the persons using them still may be purposely demonstrating that he or she is "hip" to the latest Black vernacular. Therefore, he or she is still "putting on the Black".

Readers who aren’t aware of these types of Black “languaging” activities may think that some these comments include grammatical errors and/or spelling errors. However, such comments are actually examples of code switching.*

Some examples of this vernacular content are African American originated Black words & phrases, the spelling of those words & phrases, vernacular grammar, and the use of “in-family” references such as “my brother” or “my sister”.

Of course, in spite of the fact that a few of the contributors to YouTube viewer comment threads have photograph icons that might indicate their race, there's no assured way of verifying the race of persons posting to those discussion threads regardless of how "Black" a person's comments may appear to be.

YouTube comment threads for African American religious music often offer prime examples of this type of languaging. To demonstrate & document this type of internet posting, I've compiled selected comments from the following YouTube video:
"Pastor Marvin Winans singing ole' hymn".

*By "code switching" I mean the purposeful use of one or more forms of African American vernacular English words & phrases and/or AAVE grammar instead of Standard American English words, phrases, and/or grammar.

I contend that the custom of "putting on the Black" is done by other Black people online, and off-line. One example of "putting on the Black" by Black West Indians is the use of the exclamation "Tune!" or "Chune!" - sometimes spelled with elongated letters such as "Tuuune!" or "Chuuune!" - to indicate that the record in question is very good. Of course, that usage may be an example of marking oneself as West Indian instead of "putting on the Black" since all West Indians aren't of Black African descent.

SHOWCASE VIDEO: Pastor Marvin Winans singing ole' hymn

alphaape1, Uploaded on May 9, 2009
Bishop Marvin Winans briefly sings a combination of the Spiritual "I Want To Be Ready (Walk In Jeruslem Just Like John)and the Hymn "Never Grow Old" in order to give members of the congregation who brought their Bible to church a chance to find the Bible verse (Ezra 8] that he is basing his sermon on.


These comments are presented in chronological order with the oldest dated comments posted first except for replies to comments that are dated in a subsequent year. With only three exceptions, these comments are presented without any editorial comment. I've numbered them for reference purposes only.

1. ArieElyse, 2010
lawd take us back to the Hymns of zion!!!! The annointed destroys the yolk...there is something to the old hymns of zion...young singers go get you a hymn book and learn some of the hymns

2. lasemcbride,2010

3.Lu Phel, 2010
[in reply to lasemcbride]
i know right?

4. doublenickelzeta, 2010
Actually he sings two different songs here.
He begins with "I Want to Be Ready" and throws "Never Grow Old" right in the mix.

All I can say is "My, my, my, my, my!!!"

Those songs take me back, and I don't consider myself THAT old!! LOL

5. theJIMMYJAMM, 2011
Sho nuff Baptist Screamin' right now!
(N 1st Saprana'!)
(rubbin My legs!)
(just rockin' right now)

6. DisTRAINbound4GLORY, 2011
[in reply to theJIMMYJAMM]
LOL u gave me visual wit the rubbin of the legs & rockin.. too funny!

7. Jeazy1977, 2011
[in reply to theJIMMYJAMM]
Now you know you bout to get fanned and taken out if you don't quit!

8. kimluvshoes1, 2012
[in reply to theJIMMYJAMM]
....Oh goodness, you out here just actin' like that in public! LOL! YES SUH, THANK YA!

9. Monica Jackson, 2011
Marvin Winans can just sang up something without even trying. The greatest gospel singer ever.

10. Talbatha Claridy, 2011
Lord Have Mercy ...This Man Is Just Blessed

11. toreymack , 2011
This man is off the chain

12. khalon, 2011
man my copastor sings this, and i love it. man i love these hyms....aint nothing like a hym

13. ada627, 2011
sang Pastor, I wanna be ready,,,,,,,,,
Editor comment: “Sang” here means “Sings very well” and isn’t the past tense of the infinitive "to sing”.

14. ShareMyWorld28, 2011
Yes Lawd!

15. AQtePie, 2011
Bebe aint got nothin on his big brotha Marvin!
"Bebe" is Marvin Winan’s younger biological brother (Gospel vocalist) Bebe Winan.

16. mikekeys91, 2011
Dude is killin the organ

17. Revolutionary36, 2011
[in reply to mikekeys91]
You ain't lyin homie.

18. RoddieKing, 2011
I miss ol time church like dis!!! Dis is wat we need now days songs wit meaning not just nice music behind a show!!!

19. Amber Rowl, 2011
MY God now that ole school right there

20. MrADT92, 2011
marvin is bad yall!!

21. vangoleft2, 2012
yes suh!!!! I love it. thk ya thk ya thk ya

21. lkernsjr , 2012
This is my dude! I used to hate that song until I heard this.

22. johnaism, 2012
organ is killin! feel the oil!! getting the house in order!

23. johnaism , 2012
that organ is killin it! something about that sound!!!! and marvin is a beast!

24. jacquita33, 2012
anyboy know the name of this song i bee lookin for it

25. lovewhitney02, 2012
I heard of a land on the far away strand,’Tis a beautiful home for the soul;
Built by Jesus on high, where we never shall die,
’Tis a land where we never grow old.
Editor's comment: This is an excerpt of the song "Never Grow Old" that Bishop Winans sung.

26.Jabez Clark, 2013
[in reply to lovewhitney02]
you say a mouth full my sister

27. ministerzel, 2013
It's Sunday morning...I am playing and replaying this...gonna try to sing this in church today as Bro. Marvin Winans did. Can't sing it as well good he can - there is only one Rev. Winans - but Lord just put the anointing in my spirit and it will still touch somebody. In the name of Jesus.

28. jonathanchau111, 2013
Powerful, this always blesses my soul. Bless him lawd!!!!

RELATED LINKS "Puttin On The Black - Online Black Talk & Code Switching" "Can't Nobody Do Me Like Jesus (Black talk in Gospel song & comments)"

Thanks to composers of those songs & thanks to Bishop Marvin Winans for his musical legacy. Thanks also to all those whose comments are quoted in this post.

Thanks for visiting pancocojams.

The content of this post is presented for religious, folkloric, cultural, and aesthetic purposes.

Visitor comments are welcome.

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