Yesterday, I caught the very first episode of the new Lifetime series, Preachers’ Daughters and this show is why I canceled my cable.
But seriously, outside of the controversy the show has created among some, who object to these families-of-the-cloth parading their foolishness around on TV for a few bucks, the show itself is not bad. In fact, I believe it offers keen insight into the difficulties that are associated with growing up. For those who have yet to tune in, basically, the show revolves around three daughters of various Protestant church leaders, who each have their own crisis of faith happening, including Olivia Perry, the 18-year-old daughter of the pastor of the Everyday Church and single teenage mother, who – after years of drinking, drugs and basically wildin’ the hell out – questions the paternity of her child. You may commence with waving your church fan. Despite being a sound-stage away from an episode of Maury Povich, Olivia has nothing on 18-year-old Taylor Colemen, because, you know, nobody quite brings the TV shenanigans quite like black folks:
Eighteen-year-old Taylor is set on pushing boundaries established by her strict father, Ken, a pastor of City of Refuge Pentecostal Church, who, following the mistakes he made with his older children, wants nothing more than to keep Taylor as his little angel. Taylor craves freedom from all of the rules in the house and occasionally rebels by sneaking out, kissing boys and giving into temptation, all the while trying to maintain her relationship with her Lord. While her mother Marie tries to keep the peace between Taylor and Ken, she fears his stern rules will push Taylor to act out even more, especially when she gets to college. Conflicted and frustrated with her father’s demands, Taylor confides in her half-sister Kendra, who Ken kicked out of the house when she was pregnant at 20.
In the first episode, we see Taylor, gyrating in her bedroom mirror wearing only a gold-lament cut out one piece swim suit and some booty shorts. She sneaks out the house to see her ex-boyfriend, a foul-mouth weed-smoking, possible degenerate, at the beach, who promptly tongues her down and squeezes her a**. In the same scene, Taylor confides in her girlfriends that she is considering a career as a stripper or Adult Video actress, a la Montana Fishburne, because they have more freedom than what she has at home. Further along in the episode, Taylor’s half-sister Kendra dry-snitches to their parents about Taylor’s professional aspirations and in the next scene we see Pastor Coleman, kneeling in the family’s den, praying to the man upstairs to, “please God, don’t let my daughter turn into a p**n star.”
I don’t know why I found that scene hilarious. Oh wait, I do: I’ve actually known some preachers’ children and for the most part, what I see on television is pretty accurate. IN fact, I would argue that what we see on television is a bit sanitized. Like in college, I knew this one girl – let’s just call her Jezebel – whose mother ran a church inside the living room of their family’s home. Every day, she would come down stairs for a bowl of Cheerios and be greeted by a room full of devout evangelical worshipers, singing “There’s a Leak in this Old Building,” on folding chairs her preacher mom had set up between the sofa and the dining room table. Jezebel once described her preacher mother as very stern, restricting her from activities like dating and television, watching out of fear that the Devil would “get her.”
Now I know that some folks, who constantly complain about the lack of guidance and parental involvement within urban areas might find this situation ideal. Obviously, this is a parent who cares enough to have complete control over her children’s welfare. And they would be right as it surely helped Jezebel to stay on the straight and narrow, long enough to get accepted to college. However, once she stepped foot on campus, all that righteous and moral upbringing went out the window and Jezebel spread herself so far around campus that there wasn’t enough rebuking of Satan that could shut those legs closed again. And I mean that with sincere love because overall, Jezebel was pretty cool, she was just pretty damn promiscuous too. Like, I remember one such occasion where we were at a party at a friend’s apartment with some of the university’s new basketball players. Well, our girl excused herself under the guise of refreshing our drinks and came back fifteen minutes with a story to tell. “You see that guy over there,” she said whispering in my ear. I nodded, “Yeah what about ‘em?” She giggled, taking a sip from my cup, “I just slobbed the knob.” And then she handed me my drink back. I handed it back and said, “Naw, you can keep that.”
Of course, we can argue that Jezebel’s story is not indicative of the fate of all children of the ministry, however it is not unique either. Although I do wonder, are we holding preachers’ kids to a different moral standard than we do other kids in this society? I mean, the added pressure to be better examples for the other children in their respective congregations has to be burdensome. Or as Pastor Ken Coleman (father of wannabe stripper Taylor), said recently in an interview with OK magazine, “We wanted people to see what we deal with as parents being pastors and preachers and dealing with our daughters. We’re just like everyone else. Our children are just like everyone else. They sometimes put a higher expectation on them but we want to let them know our children are just like regular children.”
I posed this question on my Facebook page and a friend of mine reminded me that sometimes, a religious leader will put his or her church before the family, thus dismissing the needs of their children, who end up rebelling as a way to show the world, but more specifically their parents, the hypocrisy in what they preach and how they actually live. I don’t know if this is totally true, but I think it holds weight. I mean, if the same teachings the pastor expound on on Sunday mornings are not digested at home then you have to wonder what good is the doctrine for the rest of flock? Likewise, if you want to keep the kid off the stripper pole, its probably best not to wh**e her and her problems – no matter how common they are – out on national television. I’m just saying.