The Black Shakespeare Chronicles – The Rebirth of Coko
Featured by “BlackShakespeare” Christopher Anderson
“She originated sassy vocals. The girl is just amazing.” – Producer Shep Crawford on Coko
Inquire with Cheryl “Coko” Clemmons why she made the decision to travel down the road of sanctuary lullabies and her native Brooklyn sass emerges with, “You should be asking me why I went R&B.” After spending just a few spontaneously driven minutes backstage with SWV’s former front-runner it becomes obvious that baby girl is definitely dangerously in love with the King. She exudes the kind of real love that lends itself to the biggest smile at the mere mention of His name.
However, when it comes to vocalizing that love on wax there is a pre-requisite course for all R&B converts entitled, The Perception of Gospel 101 that is probably the most unpredictable course to pass in the music industry as a whole. Success in-part is anchored by an artist’s ability to be perceived as a legitimate Christian, an assessment that has left several post “rump-shaker” song birds taking an early retirement. A great example of this is Shirley ‘As We Lay’ Murdock’s signing several years ago with the EMI label group as a Christian artist. After Murdock, who spent a majority of her R&B career at Elektra, sang publicly about bedding another woman’s man in 1986, she hooked up with Jesus and released a project claiming her new found goodfellow. However, a decade was not enough time to erase her Roger Troutman produced bedtime stories from ringing in the minds of church folk and the project dropped off of the radar as fast as her one night stand. If you still don’t believe in the power of Christian perception just ask Kirk why he waited several years before he Oprah-sized the cancellation of his X-rated Blockbuster card or Yolanda on why she remained hush-hush on her divorce. Better yet, drop dime on Reverend Ted Haggar, who led over 30 million evangelical Christians, and ask him why he vigorously condemned homosexuality publicly before it was disclosed that for the last three years he was skipping out on the wifey to go “brokeback” once-a-month with a male escort named Mike Jones (not the People’s Champ). This unfavorable reality was one of the reasons Cheryl elected to drop out of the church choir (Hezekiah Walker’s Love Fellowship Crusade Choir to be exact) and enter the world of R&B. “I wasn’t feeling what I was seeing in the Church at the time I went R&B. I was still attending church but my heart and my mind wasn’t in it!”
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