That was some prayer cloth First Lady Meagan Good was rocking at the BET Awards show.
Good left audiences aghast during her appearance at the BET Awards on Sunday, where she presented the award in the Best Gospel Artist category, wearing a revealing dress with a neckline down to her bell button. To put it lightly, the dress was a show-stopper. Mary Mary won the category but it was Good’s twins who would accept the award on the gospel duo’s behalf. It was obvious that Good wasn’t going to let values and opinions of what others think get in the way of an amazing look for the evening. And she even had the gumption to blow the television viewing audience a kiss and say, “blessings” before morphing back into the animated version of Jessica Rabbit and sashaying off the stage. Good certainly has the tongues waging and church fans waving from the normal righteous bunch from the front row, who felt the dress to be inappropriate. But who can blame them: Christians, nowadays, be mad sexi, yo.
And I’m not talking about the everyday Christian folks, who we know spend more time in the club than they do in Church. Those folks don’t even take themselves that serious. But I’m talking about the new worldly image of the truly devoted crowd. You know the sisters from back in the day that were all about buttoning that top button and honoring the long hem lines for Christ? Nowadays, those holy rollers are all about the push up bras, the short skirts; the fitted cuts and beat faces. There is no separation of church and state here as clearly these women have traded pearls for glam and the flash: hair did; nails did; everything did and done to the utmost of secular perfection.
And Good is no exception. For all intents and purposes, it appears that Good has been pretty conservative and otherwise consistent in all other religious practices. She has become the poster child for young Christian couples and have recently appeared on the cover and in the pages of Ebony Magazine to discuss the value of celibacy and virtuous Christian marriage to DeVon Franklin, the vice president of production for Columbia Pictures. But I too have noticed that, since publicly proclaiming (or reclaiming depending on whom you ask) her devotion to God and husband, it appears that the former star of the now cancelled Scandal rip-off “Deception,” has been amping up the sexi.
Prior to getting married, Good’s signature style was pretty low-key in t-shirts and tights – sometimes being photographed rocking the same pair in consecutive days. Now, she is all about strutting her stuff in glitzy performance lingerie during a performance as a Pussycat Doll in Las Vegas. In a later interview after her controversial pre-wedding and celibate performance, Good was quoting in saying, “God gave us these body parts, not to go and show everything to everyone, but it’s okay to be sexi and to be comfortable with your sexuality. And I think there’s kind of a line that gets blurred and I’m very bold about speaking out about it.”
It’s a solid message about women empowerment even within the Church – one that I (along with others) might be more receptive too if not for the fact that at least her husband, Franklin is a member and practicing minister of the Seventh-Day Adventists. In fact Franklin is so devoted to the church that he does not accept jobs if he is unable to observe the Sabbath. In my day, the SDA was one of the most restrictive Christian denominations in the community. Especially when it comes to women. Women were discouraged from wearing jewelry (including earrings and wedding bands) and encouraged to wear long skirts (to not confuse them with men). And despite some modernization, it appears by the church’s own website that it still believes in simplicity and modesty in dress and adornment. In fact among the church’s fundamental beliefs (number 22 to be exact) the church clearly says:
“We are called to be a godly people who think, feel, and act in harmony with the principles of heaven. For the Spirit to recreate in us the character of our Lord we involve ourselves only in those things which will produce Christlike purity, health, and joy in our lives. This means that our amusement and entertainment should meet the highest standards of Christian taste and beauty. While recognizing cultural differences, our dress is to be simple, modest, and neat, befitting those whose true beauty does not consist of outward adornment but in the imperishable ornament of a gentle and quiet spirit. It also means that because our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit, we are to care for them intelligently. Along with adequate exercise and rest, we are to adopt the most healthful diet possible and abstain from the unclean foods identified in the Scriptures. Since alcoholic beverages, tobacco, and the irresponsible use of drugs and narcotics are harmful to our bodies, we are to abstain from them as well. Instead, we are to engage in whatever brings our thoughts and bodies into the discipline of Christ, who desires our wholesomeness, joy, and goodness. (Rom. 12:1, 2; 1 John 2:6; Eph. 5:1-21; Phil. 4:8; 2 Cor. 10:5; 6:14-7:1; 1 Peter 3:1-4; 1 Cor. 6:19, 20; 10:31; Lev. 11:1-47; 3 John 2.).”
In high school I recall going into the girls bathroom and walking directly into a menthol flavored smoke cloud form by number of girls smoking cigarettes. Unfortunately for our collective lungs, girls smoking in the bathroom wasn’t an unusual occurrence however what made this instance different was that two of the three smokers were all Muslim and covered in the traditional Hijab. I tried to hide my confusion, however their smoking cohort ended up asking them how they could smoke openly even as their religion prohibits it. To which one of the girls, a brown skinned sister with a raspy voice, responded, “Smoking is forbidden but as long as we wash our arms and hands, all will be forgiven.”
I share this story in hopes of illustrating how even among the devoted is a penchant to cherry-pick and find loopholes to justify things that are clearly frowned upon religiously. Good isn’t the first sexi first lady. The reality show, “The Sisterhood” had an entire storyline about a partying, sexi dressing wife of a pastor however I always got the impression that the character on the show felt smothered by both the religion’s expectations – as well as her husband. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that Good is not committed to her faith but you do have to wonder if her new overly sexi image is an attempt to carve out and/or maintain some sort of autonomy in beliefs which offer very little room for interpretation.