*Bishop Hezekiah Walker is no stranger to pushing musical boundaries as a superstar gospel singer, composer, recording artist, and performer. Likewise, the founder and senior pastor of Love Fellowship Tabernacle Church in Brooklyn, New York, has given a cutting-edge meaning to the traditional Black church and its order and style of worship service.
Accordingly, Walker is shepherding a growing and multi-cultural congregation comprised of members of all ages, races, and socio-economic backgrounds. While it appears the Bishop has lived the life of music and ministry in grand fashion, in the name of Jesus, he has experienced more than his share of ups and downs.
On Easter Sunday, April 4 at 9:00 p.m. (EST), Bishop Walker will give television viewers an up-close and personal look at his life, music, career, and walk with Christ, when he is featured on TV One’s “Unsung.”
“I’m so excited that I will be on ‘Unsung” this Sunday. It’s been a long time coming,” Walker told EURweb.com recently. “It will be a great time when everybody gets to know the man behind the music. It is so ironic that they would feature me on Resurrection Sunday.”
Unfiltered and unapologetic, Walker gives full access to how he has achieved success in the ministry and music and chronicles the challenging times, personally and professionally.
“That’s the most important part of the episode,” said Walker. “Most of the time, people want the fame of things. They want the notoriety of being on the stage and making lots of money. But there are a lot of things that come along with that. And if you are not careful and don’t balance things in your life correctly, some of the stuff you go through to get to success will overtake you.”
Although success almost consumed me, I learned how to navigate through it.”
Walker has navigated life’s ups and downs since growing up in Brooklyn’s Fort Greene Projects in the 1960s and ‘70s. He encountered the challenges that many young Black males face in inner-city living. His father died when Hezekiah was barely in his teens, and Walker’s mother died when he was 21.
Yet, at 13 years old, young Hezekiah turned his life over to Christ. In the mid-1980s, he started the legendary Love Fellowship Crusade Choir. With him as its principal vocalist, in 1987, the avant-garde choir recorded its first album, “I’ll Make It.”
Under the vision and directorship of Walker, the progressive gospel ensemble recorded groundbreaking albums, which yielded such gospel hits as “Every Praise,” “Clean Inside,” “Oh Lord We Praise You,” “Grateful,” “I’ll Fly Away,” “Second Chance,” “Love Lifted Me,” “Let’s Dance,” and more. While Walker was making incredible and pioneering gospel music, he made time to start Love Fellowship Church in the mid-1980s. The church soon attracted the attention of hip-hop music’s biggest names, including Lil’ Kim and Puff Daddy. Walker also extended his hand to welcome other hip-hop artists, like Foxy Brown, Teddy Riley, Missy Elliott, and others.
Due to his youth, style of preaching, way of dressing, and brand of singing, Walker was labeled the “hip hop pastor.” Puff Daddy often said that Walker “makes the word of God comfortable.”
“Unsung” will capture the fallout of Walker’s association with the hip hop world and ultimately recording gospel music mixed with hip hop flavoring. Walker caught a lot of flak for his early associations with hip-hop rappers and singers.
“It was difficult at first,” said Walker. “There were people in the church that didn’t understand what was happening. Most people gave me a backlash. They thought I was becoming the world and that I was moving away from the church. They felt I was embracing people that did not live up to the standards of what we’ve been taught about God.”
Walker said he’s happy with how “Unsung” has chronicled that sector of his life, and his overall journey to overcome his mother’s death, learning about marriage and fatherhood, and where he is now as a Bishop, international gospel singing star, and person.
“I want people to view my story and realize that success doesn’t come overnight,” he said. “And prosperity comes with a price, and the price is hefty. People want success, but the bible says, ‘To whom much is given, much shall be required.’ ”
Realizing that much is required of him, Walker has found ways of giving back to help underserved people and communities in New York, not far from where he grew up and where his church is located. He is proud that “Unsung” will highlight his vision of building 248 affordable housing units in Brooklyn for families and so much more.
“We are blessed to be a blessing,” Walker emphatically said. “With my success in music, I have invested into giving back to the underserved people of New York City because I want to do something positive for our culture. Through ‘Unsung,’ viewers will see the essence of Hezekiah Walker.”