Erica Campbell says ‘good roots and realness’ help her connect with diverse people
Article By Rebecca Johnson // EEW Magazine // Ministry
Gospel recording artist and syndicated radio host, Erica Campbell, can get along with just about anyone and has no issues relating to individuals that didn’t grow up in church.
In a candid interview with radio personality Sybil Wilkes of the Tom Joyner Morning Show, the GRAMMY® Award-winning singer tied her ability to connect with diverse people to a “combination of good roots and realness”—thanks to her parents that didn’t sugarcoat life’s problems.
For example, she said, “While we went to church all the time and while we learned to pray, we knew when we were having financial problems. My parents never over-spiritualized it. We knew we had something to do.”
The 47-year-old first lady of California Worship Center in North Hollywood opened up at the 2019 Allstate Tom Joyner Family Reunion about her early days singing in Evangelistic Church of God In Christ Mass Choir.
“While we knew we had to go out and sing for people, we knew that everybody you encounter might be a little left of center. You love them anyway,” she said.
Encountering both church-affiliated and non-church-affiliated people took away her fear of associating with others.
“We weren’t scared of people,” explained the member of the GRAMMY® Award-winning sister duo, Mary Mary. “My early memories are being 12 years old, going to a prison with my dad.”
Ministry, for the Atkins family, took on many forms and frequently unfolded outside the four walls of the church, in “some of the roughest parts of Los Angeles.”
Spending time in underprivileged communities and connecting with residents, helped Campbell navigate relationships with individuals who had “real-life problems,” she said, like incarcerated fathers and drug-addicted mothers.
“At that time, I began to see people as people, she continued. “You know, when you grow up in church and you grow up a certain way, you think everybody is like this, and anything that is not like you, [you think], Oh, that’s weird.”
But with maturity came more open-mindedness.
Nowadays, the host of “Get Up! Mornings with Erica Campbell” fully understands, “They weren’t raised like you. They don’t understand what you understand. It’s my job to love.”
Campbell’s firm foundation makes it easier to reach the lost and show them that, “All church people aren’t mean. All church people aren’t judging. All church people aren’t angry. If I’m filled with the love of God, that’s what I should be giving people.”
And let the church say, amen.