Former Jamaican reggae super star-turned-gospel artiste Carlene Davis broke the house down Saturday, as she headlined the annual fundraising Gospel Concert and Prayer Breakfast for Brooklyn Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke.
Davis — who has “been all over the world,” according to her manager and husband Tommy Cowan — mesmerized diverse supporters, patrons and congregants with a wide variety of gospel hits, evoking standing ovations and shouts of “Amen” and “Hallelujah.”
Cowan — who served as liturgist and master of ceremonies at the event, at St. Gabriel’s Episcopal Church on Hawthorne Street in Brooklyn — said Davis had wowed audiences and listeners globally, with such hits as “Going Down to Paradise;” “Like Old Friends Do;” “Welcome Home, Mr. Mandela;” and “Stealing Love on the Side.”
“That was the old lady,” he said of Davis, recipient of Jamaica’s Order of Distinction (OD). “The new lady’s new album is ‘Dripping Blood,’”
Now referred to as “Minister Carlene Davis,” Davis kept patrons in awe with, among others, “One Hand Full of Soul,” “By the Rivers of Babylon,” “I Shall Not Be Moved,” “Jesus is the King of Kings,” “Dripping Blood” and “We’re Praising God all the Time,” to the tune of “Stealing Love.”
“God is doing a new thing,” said Davis before raising the tempo, “but the world of the Lord said, ‘we’re the salt of the earth.’
“That’s why we’re here to support this lady [Congresswoman Clarke],” she added.
“Your wife is a bombshell!” Bishop Dr. Sylveta Hamilton Gonzales, Bishop of the QKingdom Ministries, Inc. in Brooklyn, told Cowan before introducing the guest speaker, Archbishop Dr. Allan Jones, of the Church of the Holy Redeemer in Brooklyn.
Speaking on the theme, “There is a gulf between us,” Archbishop Jones called for the elimination of “the gulf among us.”
“These are days of torment and prejudice, but stand firm,” he urged. “Let us say there’s another way. We shall build bridges across the earth because God is an awesome God. We need not sell our dignity for a morsel of bread.”
After noting that Clarke was sent to Congress to help eliminate “the gulf,” Jones implored the congregation to repeat, “no gulf!”
Among other members of the clergy, elected officials and other dignitaries at the event was Medgar Evers College President Dr. Rudolph Crew and Assembly Member Latrice Walker.
“I don’t know about you, but many of us travel by faith,” said Dr. Crew, former New York City Public Schools Chancellor. “What we have in our community is a person who’s created help. So, I lend my voice of hope.”
He disclosed that Clarke and her mother, former New York City Council Member Dr. Una S.T. Clarke, a City University of New York (CUNY) trustee, have provided the “bulwark of support” to Medgar Evers College.
Walker, a lawyer, who had worked as Clarke’s legislative aide before seeking public office, said Clarke “exemplifies grace under fire.
“She’s a virtuous woman,” Walker said. “We need to bless her.”