Frederick, “Colored Television”

Frederick, Marla F.  2015.  Colored Television: American Religion Gone Global.  Palo Alto: Stanford University Press.

Publisher’s Description: The presence of women and African Americans not simply as viewers, but also as televangelists and station owners in their own right has dramatically changed the face of American religious broadcasting in recent decades. Colored Television looks at the influence of these ministries beyond the United States, where complex gospels of prosperity and gospels of sexual redemption mutually inform one another while offering hopeful yet socially contested narratives of personal uplift. As an ethnography, Colored Television illuminates the phenomenal international success of American TV preachers like T.D. Jakes, Creflo Dollar, Joyce Meyer, and Juanita Bynum. Focusing particularly on Jamaica and the Caribbean, it also explores why the genre has resonated so powerfully around the world. Investigating the roles of producers, consumers, and distributors, Marla Frederick takes a unique look at the ministries, the communities they enter, and the global markets of competition that buffer them.

Frederick, “For the Love of Money? “

Frederick, Marla F.  2013.  “For the Love of Money?: Distributing the Go$pel beyond the United States.  Callaloo 36(3).

Excerpt: In this paper, I wrestle with the power of religious globalization as it relates to the expansion of American media markets in Jamaica. By looking at the influence of United States-based, market driven models of religious broadcasting on local religious distributors like Mercy and Truth Ministries and Love TV in Jamaica, this paper teases out the ways in which market logics intersect and at times undermine altruistic claims to the work of ministry. In these instances the kind of love—absent preoccupations with money and power—that Rev. Miller spoke of is often usurped by the very real costs of ministry. Religious broadcasting has taken the gospel, which many evangelical Christians consider “the Greatest Love Story in the World,” embodied in the scripture’s profession that “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son,” and turned it into a different gospel. The gospel of love and redemption amended to a gospel of health and wealth. “Love of God” is often comingled with “Love of Money.” If anything this paper argues that religious producers are not independent purveyors of the predominance of economic logics that drive religious broadcasting; instead, producers and distributors are intimately connected in a pattern of economic profitability that often challenges non-United States based local broadcasters who want to remain independent/ministry focused engines of social change in their respective communities. The threat of competition and the need for economic solvency in a paid-time era—wherein broadcasters have to raise their own support through book and tape sales—requires the best of business models to survive in a globalized religious broadcasting market.