Not in My Family: Songs of Healing and Inspiration
- reviewed by Andree Farias Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2006 1 Dec
- Lift Him Up – Byron Cage
- Free – Natalie Wilson & S.O.P.
- Always – Kirk Franklin
- Healing Grace – The McClurkin Project
- Gone but Not Forgotten – Percy Bady
- It's Right and Good – Walter Hawkins & The Love Center Choir w/ Tramaine Hawkins
- Where I Belong – Rev. Jackie McCullough
- I Found It – Dr. Bobby Jones & New Life w/ the Nashville Super Choir
- Still I Rise – Yolanda Adams
- Hold on Be Strong – Kurt Carr Singers
- Gone With You – Jon Gibson
- Step Pon Di Enemy – Papa San
- You Can Make It – New Direction
Following in the footsteps of Woman Thou Art Loosed!, God's Leading Ladies, and He-Motions, Not in My Family: Songs of Healing and Inspiration is the latest gospel compilation to arise in response to a book of the same or similar title. This time, the paperback in question is Not in My Family: AIDS in the African-American Community, a collection of essays and testimonies from black personalities—both known and unknown—from the spheres of entertainment, sports, politics, and real life.
"All of these songs speak to the collective emotions felt when faced with losing a loved one to this disease, or even living with the disease," says Gil L. Robertson, IV, editor of the book and executive producer of the album. "They represent the role that faith and love must play in our lives to heal the physical and emotional scars of AIDS." That's a fitting description for a collection that doesn't talk about AIDS as much as it focuses on how to deal with the problem—any problem—with the help of faith.
"No matter what the problem may be / He's in control and he knows everything," goes the opening salvo of "Lift Him Up," a Byron Cage contribution that's more a call to worship—Cage also contributed an essay to the book—but that also works as a celebration of God's goodness in spite of trials. Other songs have a more testimonial tone, like the McClurkin Project's "Healing Grace," which asks the Lord to "release us from our past as we seek Your face."
Not in My Family is never daring enough to tackle the AIDS pandemic by name, but that doesn't belie each song's effectiveness as a healing agent; Kirk Franklin's "Always" has never sounded more inspiring. Scrutinized from a purely contemporary gospel angle, the collection also sounds terrific, even if all but one song (New Direction's "You Can Make It") have been previously released. It all makes for a surprisingly cohesive compilation that raises awareness—and brings comfort—about an important subject.