Guest List: Gospel Roots by Tiff Ima

Hey ya'll. We're excited to bring you this guest list from our pal Tiffany Ima. Tiffany is a stylist, image coach, and all around fashion/color maven in Columbus. (Check out her website here if ya wanna spruce up your style.) 

Tiff wrote us a gospel playlist with a personal spin: songs she used to dance to. Gospel music has occupied an interesting space this past year--straddling the gap between people in the church who look to gospel as a way to express worship, and artists (most visibly, Chance and Ye) who mine gospel music for its rich instrumentation and unique style while paying tribute to the immense impact that gospel had on history and the trajectory of American music. 

[Austin's Note: I had the privilege of hearing Justin Vernon debut the new Bon Iver album at Eaux Claires Fest last weekend, and the opening track features a sample from gospel legend Mahalia Jackson! So timely.]

Art by our best buddy Janet Dapo.  Methinks  she is a great artist and better friend. 

Art by our best buddy Janet Dapo. Methinks she is a great artist and better friend. 

By Tiffany Ima

I’ll never forget the first time I danced to a gospel song.

I was a hyperactive youngster and had a hard time sitting still in church--my mom knew it was time for me to get involved. When I heard our church was starting a praise dance ministry, I knew it was the thing for me.

As a tiny little eight year old rocking box braids and blissfully unaware of true struggle, I somehow understood what pain was. The first song I danced to simply said “No weapon formed against me shall prosper. It won’t work.”

Somehow I knew I'd do well to remember this phrase, and I held on to those words. I can still close my eyes and picture my eight-year-old self performing those meaningful moves through the sanctuary, with full understanding that having God on my side was good.

I was in love with gospel music. I couldn’t get enough of singing in the choir and being in different dance ministries, expressing my faith the best I knew how.

This playlists contains 14 songs I’ve danced to over the course of 17 years. I’ve arranged them in order of when they were performed. For those of you who aren't as familiar with gospel music, these songs represent a good mix of old school and contemporary popular songs that are known and loved by many in the black church.