Before I go into her credentials, know that Dr. Alisha Jones is firstly an amazing friend and woman of faith! Although we didn't attend our alma mater, Oberlin College, at the same time, our bond is just as close as if we did! I am proud to know her and support the work she is doing. Okay, now the accolades!!
Named "Top 30, under 30" by DC’s 93.9 WKYS FM, "Living Legend" by the LadyDiva Corp., and an Innovator by the University of Chicago and Harvard Divinity School, Native Washingtonian Rev. Dr. Alisha Lola Jones, is a voice charming the nation in message and music, as she re-teaches our communities their loveliness. An ethnomusicological thought- leader and Highest & Best Life Strategist, she innovatively consults leaders and organizations on how to find their rhythm and achieve their maximum potential. Dr. Jones’ multiple interests have coalesced into the establishment of InSight Initiative, Inc. to produce concerts and empowerment events specializing in low income, high minority neighborhood programming.
Alisha Lola Jones, PhD is an assistant professor in the Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology at Indiana University (Bloomington). Dr. Jones is a graduate of University of Chicago (Ph.D.), Yale Divinity School (M.Div.), Yale Institute of Sacred Music (ISM) and Oberlin Conservatory (B.M.). Dr. Jones' is a council member of the Society for Ethnomusicology’s (SEM) council and the co-chair of the Music and Religion section of the American Academy of Religion (AAR). Additionally, as a performer-scholar, she consults seminaries and arts organizations on curriculum, programming, and content development.
FLAMING? The Peculiar Theopolitics of Fire and Desire in Black Male Gospel Performance.
Male-centered theology, a dearth of men in the pews, and an overrepresentation of queer males in music ministry: these elements coexist within the spaces of historically black Protestant churches, creating an atmosphere where simultaneous heteropatriarchy and "real" masculinity anxieties, archetypes of the "alpha-male preacher", the "effeminate choir director" and homo-antagonism, are all in play. The "flamboyant" male vocalists formed in the black Pentecostal music ministry tradition, through their vocal styles, gestures, and attire in church services, display a spectrum of gender performances - from "hyper-masculine" to feminine masculine - to their fellow worshippers, subtly protesting and critiquing the otherwise heteronormative theology in which the service is entrenched. And while the performativity of these men is characterized by cynics as "flaming," a similar musicalized "fire" - that of the Holy Spirit - moves through the bodies of Pentecostal worshippers, endowing them religio-culturally, physically, and spiritually like "fire shut up in their bones".
Using the lenses of ethnomusicology, musicology, anthropology, men's studies, queer studies, and theology, Flaming?: The Peculiar Theo-Politics of Fire and Desire in Black Male Gospel Performance observes how male vocalists traverse their tightly-knit social networks and negotiate their identities through and beyond the worship experience. Author Alisha Jones ultimately addresses the ways in which gospel music and performance can afford African American men not only greater visibility, but also an affirmation of their fitness to minister through speech and song.
Check out the "Book Talk" here: