Made of Shade: Deitrick Haddon Speaks His Mind
If you snicker at the raw honesty displayed by Preachers of L.A. star Deitrick Haddon, he really doesn’t care. It’s been the voices of opposition that’s been with him even while preaching at the age of 11. Yes, he was preaching “the word” even before entering high school. It’s been the voices of opposition that has allowed this musical genius to thrive even greater in the world of Christian music. Twelve albums later, Haddon’s reign has already become evident to the masses.
His new CD, R.E.D.: Restoring Everything Damaged, is a testament that life can exist in the light after a fall. The songs were written while Haddon was in a dark space, trying to find his way back to a place in his heart where he could find love, a deeper relationship with God and healing.
The CD’s single “Have Your Way” recently debuted at #1 on Billboard‘s Top Gospel Albums Chart. Meanwhile, the CD has become very popular not just with Christians folks, but non-Christians as well.
On Preachers of L.A., Haddon is known for shutting down what he believes are moments that misrepresent true Christian characteristics, a move some naysayers call hypocritical as they believe the preacher has not always shown himself in the best light. Love or dislike him, Haddon is going to speak his mind, which is why he’s one of the reasons viewers tune into Preachers of L.A. faithfully. The show has brought forth the highest ratings in comparison to any Oxygen Network show.
In this week’s edition of Made of Shade, I had a chance to vibe with Deitrick Haddon and it was quite an open dialogue. The Detroit native says he’s at such an unbreakable point in his life and he’s in the best place he’s ever been spiritually.
Quassan Castro: R.E.D. : RESTORING EVERYTHING DAMAGED is the name of your new album. The CD is nothing short of what you bring to gospel fans with every song you write and sing. Can you share some insight on it?
Deitrick Haddon: That record is the soundtrack of my life over the last two years. This album has to be the best album I’ve been able to produce because it’s the most transparent and most real. I wrote the songs in the midst of a personal storm. These songs are the songs I would sing to myself for encouragement. That’s why I feel like people are connecting with the music and the album debuted at number one. I think every believer should have my music because when you’re going through challenges, my songs are able to encourage you.
Quassan: When I hear your body of work collectively, not just on the new CD, I hear a voice of honesty that is willing to appear both vulnerable and strong at the same time. How did you get to that place of recording honest music as an artist?
D.H. : That’s a good question! Hmmm. My journey has not been easy. I came to a point where I refused to deny my experiences in life for the sake of trying to produce work that church people would like. You know? Like just happy songs we can all sing on Sunday mornings. I came to a place where I realized God allowed me to go through things in my life and I had to use music as a vehicle of expression. Some of the best art is produced through real-life experiences. I decided a long time ago not to make music to just please people. I want to make music that matters. I want to make music that defines me as a human being. I have to write a song that speaks to how I really feel.
Quassan: Your single “Have Your Way” is garnering incredible success. Tell us how it came about.
D.H. : I left Detroit. I was in the process of divorcing my ex-wife. The marriage was beyond repair. I chose to move forward. I moved to LA. I was in a state of rebellion toward God. I met a young lady, fell in love and she became pregnant. I knew I had failed miserably with my marriage and then I got someone pregnant. I knew I had to share the news with my supporters. I was praying and God was telling me I had to own up to what I did. I was brought to a place where I was humbled. I needed God to have his way in my life because I was out of control. The music came across my desk from a guy named Tubb Young from Ohio. I was moved. I’m sitting with a baby on the way and I messed up big time. I sat crying as I listened to the music. I went to the studio and the lyrics came out.
Quassan: Wow! I’m certain that experience was a reality check. You’ve had your fair share of challenges in the past with some folks directing judgment toward your public battles and slips. How did you heal and recover?
D.H. : Healing is a process. I have to give honor to my upbringing even though I come from a very religious background. My mother and father taught me how to fight through what people have to say. I was preaching at the age of 11. People had something to say during that time as well.
At 13, I was head of a choir with over 100 men and boys; people were saying I wasn’t mature enough. I was built for knowing how to move beyond negativity and criticism. I’m not a drama guy, but I will challenge the system. I would get up in front of the preacher and say, “Now that doesn’t make sense.” I give honor to the church and my parents for getting me to a place where I can overcome my test and trials. I’m not the first person that went through a divorce and I certainly won’t be the last. You ask for personal forgiveness and to be forgiven for hurting others with your actions. Hopefully my testimony will teach people that it’s not okay to walk around making bad decisions. You repent from your sins and move on.
Quassan: Preachers of L.A. recently premiered on Oxygen. It’s the highest rated show in the network’s history. Why do you think so many people tune in weekly to watch Preachers of L.A.?
D.H. : Because people all over America have been curious to know how the pastor lives. This is what people want to see. They want to see the real man beyond the platform. Even with all of the negativity that we’ve come up against, people are tuning in weekly.
Quassan: What do you say to some harsh critics who think the show displays preachers as pontificating about riches and displaying lavish lifestyles?
D.H. : I don’t think those people are really watching the show. I think they should give themselves the opportunity to watch the show instead of coming to conclusions. These men cannot deny the houses they own or their successes. If you do a reality television show based on my life, you’re going to see how I honestly live. I can’t deny where I live or what I drive, it’s the fruit of my hard work–not an attempt to glorify wealth. In no way is this show celebrating the opulence of a preacher’s life.
This is the realest show you’re going to watch when it comes to preachers and believers. It’s funny how people are fine with fictitious characters of preachers. They’ll watch those characters all day. They’ll sit and laugh at comedians mocking Christians or preachers all day. All of us have been preaching mostly all of our lives. Preachers are naturally entertaining; it’s what we have to do every Sunday to keep the focus of our congregation. We are the real deal.
Quassan: Why are folks harder on Christians when they slip verses folks who are not of Christian faith?
D.H. : They get on my nerves. I want to line them all up and slap them. [Laughs] Actually, believers are harder on each other than people that are not professing to be Christians. You judging somebody is saying you are perfect. We attack each other and take a stand as Christians, though when we fall short we become so hard on one another.
The Bible tells us to restore one another when we fall short. The Bible already says we are going to fall short. I’m trying to figure out who really has the authority to be so hard on another human being. We don’t know what tomorrow may bring. I used to be that person. I would get on the pulpit as a young man and say, “All you folks who ain’t living right are going to hell.” I was really going in and folks were shouting and hollering. I didn’t realize I had more years ahead in my own personal life where anything can take place. You have to be more merciful and have love and compassion for people or you’re just sowing a seed for your own demise.
Quassan: When men are broken and they’ve been severely wounded and hurt in life with little or no faith for restoration. What should these men do who are at their breaking point?
D.H. : Brother, that’s a deep question! Whew! Sometimes you can’t get the encouragement that you need from others when you’re going through challenges. We are taught as men to be strong and not be vulnerable. I think God puts men in positions like that so they can humble themselves. God wants these men to go to him. By nature we are designed to be pillars but sometimes as men we go through things that breaks us down. If we go through tough experiences, it’s supposed to bring us to our knees so we can rely on God. You have to release some of that power to God. The only solution is to block everything out, shut the door, get on your knees and say, “God, I need your help.” God will start speaking to you. You need wisdom and understanding. It’s not that hard but we make it hard.
Quassan Castro is a news and entertainment journalist. Chat with Quassan on Twitter @Quassan.