Q+A: BET's Gospel Goddess, Latice Crawford, Shifts Focus Onto Her Voice From Her Hair

The gorgeous Latice Crawford starred on the BET talent-based reality TV show, Sunday Best. She has since proven she is still the Best with her continuous music releases and positivity across music and her look, which got people talking for a bit when she didn’t have long hair…who knew people still cared about hair that much?

If someone wants to be a gospel singer, what type of music should he/she study to gain a better understanding of the genre? Other than gospel, obviously?

Once upon a time, gospel music did have a distinct “sound” that had its origins in African music tradition and was later heavily influenced by blues and jazz .   The great thing about the gospel music genre nowadays is that it is becoming less about musical style, and more about the message being conveyed.   If you listen to gospel songs from the last 10 to even 20 years, you’ll hear influences from just about every genre of music … pop, rock, hip-hop, etc .  So if I were coaching new artists, I would challenge them to define what they want their message to be, the audience they would like to reach, and then to create their own voice in whatever genre they choose.

How did singing help you cope with your anxiety? How many times did you have to sing for audiences to get over it?

I would say that singing helped me because it made me focus and have a purpose for whenever I had to face a crowd.  My experience as a contestant on Sunday Best was the beginning of my journey to overcoming  my social anxiety.   There was a lot at stake and I realized I had to get a hold on it or be crippled by it my whole life.  Since then I’ve learned to stop focusing on how many people are in an audience, which would usually send me into a panic attack, and I instead focus on my purpose for being there.   Music is a wonderful gift to be able to share with people and I realized that while performing, I was giving people a space to connect with God and to ease their stress– even if just for those moments.  I get lost in the song and let it whisk me away to a place where it’s just the lyric, the melody, and me.  I can’t say I’m completely over my anxiety yet, but I’ve learned to control it.


How do you think God might view entertainment that is more story-like in music or film and doesn’t always have a religious message?

Actually, I believe that God knows that we relate well to stories.  There are many ways other than through direct, traditional religious jargon to reach people with God’s message.  After all, Jesus himself often connected people and taught through the use of stories.  I’ve watched many movies and have listened to many different types of music and heard what I needed to give me a quick pick me up.  Life is a story and we all go through the ups and downs of it.  So why wouldn’t God be ‘ok’ with and even use stories to give us messages of hope, love, instruction and glimpses into one another’s humanity.  Who knows… your story could be my story, my story could be your story.  I believe God is in the midst of all of it and ultimately is most concerned with whether or not we are becoming better people and helping each other along the way.

Why do you think people are making a big deal over you ditching longer hair? You’re one of many women who have done it and nobody says anything if men want to go clean shaved!

There are a few reasons that I think people are making such a big deal about my hair or should I say lack of hair. The first doesn’t pertain to me specifically, but has to do with centuries old traditions across certain cultures and religions that shunned cutting a woman’s hair. While societies across the world have evolved and a nice trim or new haircut for a woman is ok, the clean-shaven look is still a bit of a shock to the system for many.   Personally, I actually donned shorter cuts for many years before I was in the public eye. When I was first introduced publicly I was in a longer hair phase, so when I drastically cut it all off, people didn’t see it coming.  The action wasn’t an attempt at a new style or fashion statement, but for a cause much deeper,  which is probably another reason that people are going so crazy over it. I shaved my hair off after a chance encounter with a former cancer patient who was suffering from low self-esteem because she had a double mastectomy, lost her hair due to chemo and had recently gotten divorced. I wanted her to know she wasn’t alone. So I cut my hair to stand in solidarity with her and just never went back.

Will you ever sing other genres?

I have sung other genres and would do it again if I feel the message or lyrics contained is needed to uplift the people I’m singing to. Instrumentation is the gate that holds genres bound but lyrics are free as birds that can’t be locked into any cage.

This article originally appeared en español on my ELLE Spain blog.

ELLE Spain discontinued their freelance blog journalism program in 2016. I have republished it on NicoleRussinMcFarland.com once again so my journalism may live on. I am grateful for the experiences I had from 2011-2016 writing for my personal Spanish language blog, revista ELLE for providing the blog, and the time from all of my interviewees.