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Silver and Gold

Updated: Jul 25, 2023

It started early.

The subtle chipping away at my larger than life personality.

My grandma always reminded me of this time when my dad was preaching. He had gotten to the good part, the hooping and hollering. It was the part of the sermon when everyone was awake and attentive even if they hadn't heard the scripture. My dad was one of a kind, still is. When the holy ghost would hit him during the sermon, things took flight.

This particular Sunday, he moved from the pulpit to the aisle. He hooped and he walked. I saw people screaming and shouting. They were moved by the words and motions of my dad. I know now that it was God's spirit moving through him. But if you lived with the man, it was like watching Kent Clark become Superman.

Dad kept on preaching as he got closer to me, and I knew I had to touch him. I'd seen the old church mothers do it before. So as he hooped and hollered on by me, I mustered up enough courage to step into the aisle. At the right moment, I took my nervous hand and patted him on the back.

My grandma thought it was the funniest thing.

All I knew was that my dad had never gotten a Hollywood star, but he was one of a kind and if I were his daughter, surely I carried a fragment of what he possessed. I didn't want to be a preacher like him. I didn't even think girls could do that at the time, but I knew that I wanted to move people like dad did.

Little did I know that church people weren't always fans of the preacher and his family. By fans, I don't mean hang my poster in your room, but I mean just a genuine likeness. Maybe not even a likeness, but at the very least a fairness. Yea, a fairness. It wasn't there, and I found out one night at youth choir rehearsal.

I could feel the rough red padding underneath my thighs while the church was filled with the sounds of Kirk Franklin and the Family's new hit song, Silver and Gold. I already knew every word. I knew every ooh, ahh, riff, and run. And even though I was young, I had fully decided that I'd rather have Jesus than silver and gold.

As the song came to an end, the ladies over the youth choir asked,

"Who wants to lead this song?"

I waited a few modest seconds before speaking up.

"I want to lead it."

The Ladies looked around at each of the other children who had not volunteered to lead the song and began to campaign that someone else would give them a reason not to choose me.

There were no takers.

"Other people need to lead too." They said

I couldn't believe this was happening. The only reason I led the other songs was because they made me. This time I truly wanted to lead the song. Plus, no one else volunteered. And to just be blunt, it's not like much talent in the choir rivaled mine at the time. So what was the problem?

"Latia, do you want to lead this song?"

She looked up shyly, unsure if she was the only Latoya in the choir. They encouraged her and affirmed her.

"Just try." They pushed.

She agreed, and I deflated.

They looked at me and said point blank, "Other people need to lead too."

We practiced all night on Silver and Gold, yet we never sang it for a church service.

This would be the first of many confirmations that what I carried from my dad would get me rejected way more than it would get me accepted. The biggest flood began with just one raindrop, and decades of trying not to offend others with my gift began at youth choir practice when they begged Latia to do what she never wanted to do just so I couldn't do what I was anointed to do.

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