Give Now  »

Indiana Public Media | WFIU Public Radio - NPR | WTIU Public Television - PBS

Henry Louis Gates, Jr. hosts Gospel miniseries


From the blues to hip-hop, African Americans have been the driving force of sonic innovation for over a century. Musical styles come and go, but there is one sound that has been a constant source of strength, courage, and wisdom from the pulpit to the choir lofts on any given Sunday: the gospel. 

This two-part, four-hour docuseries explores the rich history of Black spirituality through sermon and song from executive producer, host, and writer Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Gospel reunites acclaimed Harvard scholar and documentarian Gates with directors Stacey L. Holman and Shayla Harris after recently teaming up for Making Black America: Through the Grapevine.

In Gospel, Gates speaks with dozens of clergymen, singers, and scholars about their connection to the music that has transcended its origins and now spreads “the good word” all around the world. The series features interviews with notable names including Dionne Warwick, U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock, Rev. Otis Moss III, professor Michael Eric Dyson, and awe-inspiring musical performances of Gospel favorites “Can’t Nobody Do Me Like Jesus,” “Total Praise,” and others from talents including The Belle Singers, Cory Henry, Celisse, and more.

Gospel is more than the soundtrack of the African American experience, “it’s the beating heart and soul,” said Gates. “From the Great Migration to today, the history of Black gospel music and preaching is one of constant movement, and it’s long been a dream of mine to bring it to public television. We’re blessed to have such outstanding partners in delivering this series and concert at a time in our nation when the need for Gospel’s transcendent, healing powers is so great.”

By weaving intimate interviews with dynamic live gospel performances throughout the series, we want our viewers to fully experience and be energized by this uniquely African American art form of prayer, praise, and promise.”

The series is also accompanied by a concert special, Gospel Live! Presented by Henry Louis Gates Jr. This evening event celebrates gospel and its extraordinary impact on culture and pop music, featuring the biggest names in gospel music paired with the biggest stars from the world of pop, R&B, and beyond.

Additionally, viewers can join the conversation by coming to a national town hall hosted by Henry Louis Gates Jr. Along with directors Shayla Harris. Stacey Holman, and others, Gates will unpack the complicated subjects explored in this docuseries in an honest discussion that's open to everyone. You may register for the town hall here.

Beginning Sunday, February 4, this four-part series will be available to stream on WTIU Passport ahead of the broadcast premiere on Monday, February 12. Passport is an online streaming benefit available to WTIU members giving at least $5 monthly or $60 annually. Learn more on our website or call 812-855-6114.


Friday, February 9
9:00 PM – Gospel Live! Presented by Henry Louis Gates, Jr
Enjoy a concert celebration honoring the legacy of Gospel music in America. As a companion to Gospel, secular and gospel artists sing their favorite gospel classics.

Monday, February 12

9:00 PM – Gospel
The Gospel Train/Golden Age of Gospel
In part one, Gates explores Gospel’s sonic influences of blues and jazz. Plus, through interviews and deep historical dives, he uncovers gospel’s golden age as the music slowly enters the mainstream.

Tuesday, February 13
9:00 PM – Gospel
Take the Message Everywhere/Gospel's Second Century
In the second part of this special miniseries, gospel goes mainstream, taking the good news everywhere. And as the years progress, gospel and preaching achieve platinum-selling success.