Deitrick Haddon - R.E.D. (2013)

Deitrick Haddon
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A humble posture, solemn countenance and eyes concealed as he stands among strategic splashes of scarlet---to those who know about the personal and pastor-related dilemmas that Deitrick Haddon's wrestled with in the last couple of years, the CD's cover art is revealingly symbolic.
A humble posture, solemn countenance and eyes concealed as he stands among strategic splashes of scarlet---to those who know about the personal and pastor-related dilemmas that Deitrick Haddon's wrestled with in the last couple of years, the CD's cover art is revealingly symbolic. It isn't everyday, after all, that a popular gospel performer with lifelong ties to the church is embroiled in multiple levels of a self-induced scandal that even ABC's Shonda Grimes couldn't have visualized. 
 
If you've been out of the loop for a minute, this is a summary: after more than a decade of marriage, Deitrick Haddon not only sent fans reeling with a Twitter announcement of his breakup with wife and fellow recording artist Damita, he also revealed a much younger fiance and their baby girl, a daughter who was obviously conceived before the ink on the divorce papers had dried. After relocating to CA. and stepping away from the pulpit of Detroit's King Culture Church, Haddon used his Facebook page (?!) to justify his actions and, in the eyes of many, threw hypocritical shade at his ex and another performer in the process: "I met the young lady when i moved to L.A a broken mess & God used her to keep me from committing suicide twice!! I do admit that she did get pregnant before my divorce was final as my divorce carried on for over a year...As a sign of humility & accountability, I have not preached on any platform in any church for one year!! I’ve paid my penalty for my sin!!
...I appreciate [Isaac Carree's] new song ‘Clean this house”...but you left one sin out of your song that would have set the record straight & solidified my healing process & that is adultery!"
 
Weeell well. So far, Mr. Carree's remained mum after making a diplomatic statement and Ms. Damita has been mum about the entire event. We'll likely learn much more once the new reality show Preachers of L.A. airs this fall, but in the meantime, the depth of Deitrick's struggle and the extent of his torment is poured passionately into of his 14th solo effort, R.E.D. (Restoring Everything Damaged)
 
The impact of Mr. Haddon's personal wrongdoing on his future has yet to be seen, but the style that cemented his following is as enthusiastic and eclectic as ever---the 17 tracks that he wrote or co-wrote include the usual blend of sanctified and secular, and dive headfirst into the controversy with a gossipy spoken intro and the leisurely-paced "Paint It Red," a reflective track that proclaims his new path is a difficult one, but that it's been cleansed with the blood of Jesus and has deepened his testimony: "There's a new word open to me, with fervor I could not imagine/God had to knock me down, to get off the bandwagon. To blaze a new trail, with new testimonies to tell/and to make it to heaven, sometimes you've got to go through hell."
 
The disappointment that some might feel about Deitrick's choice to not lyrically lay out his mistakes will likely be overtaken by his undeniable charisma and conviction: Haddon's artistic range is as elastic as his vocals and the non-specific way he addresses misdeeds should only make the songs all the more palpable to a wider audience. For every traditional, robe-swaying tambourine-tapper ("Waiting [All Night]," "You're With Me," "Sweet Jesus") or contemporary christian-type track ("Have Your Way," "Strange Land"), there's a modernized mid-tempo and genre-splicing groove that praises the Lord for nearly every known genre. "Church Rock" is hip-hop-flavored with swag and "P. Haddy"-isms and "Raining R.E.D." is a raucous rock jam with Deitrick and his sister, Clareta Haddon-Jackson wailing their gratitude over blazing guitars. "Feel A Breakthrough" renders an upbeat praise testimony and "Victory's" electrified funk recalls a Purple Rain-era Prince: "Now every time they see me it's like they've seen a ghost," Deitrick says gleefully of his detractors, "and they can't believe that I'm still here, filled with the Holy Ghost."
 
Has Deitrick Haddon learned from his meltdown before the masses? Will he use his trial-by-fire to save more souls and minister to others more effectively? Time will tell. But as he shared within the bluesy groove of "A Little Prayer," everyone stumbles every now and then, even "the preacher that don't realize he's a prisoner of perfection." And given that kernel of truth, Haddon's Detroit Day One Devotees, likely reality show recruits and maybe even his staunchest critics will be drawn to the galvanizing and glory-filled shades of R.E.D. Highly Recommended. 
By Melody Charles
 
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