Skip to comments.'Idol' contestant puts Michigan church in spotlight
Posted on 02/28/2007 9:36:18 AM PST by Incorrigible
'Idol' contestant puts Michigan church in spotlight
By SALLY YORK
LaKisha Jones sang in the choir and was baptized at Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Flint, Mich. (Fox photo)
FLINT, Mich. For years, LaKisha Jones' powerful voice belonged to the members of Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church.
Now, with Jones emerging as the singer to beat on this season's "American Idol,'' it belongs to the world.
But echoes of her joyful noise are reverberating all the way back to Mount Zion, where Jones shone in the choir and was baptized.
The church phone is ringing nonstop with calls from well-wishers and from tabloid reporters trying to get the scoop on the 27-year-old.
And young parishioners are jazzed: If "Kisha'' can do it, so can they.
"You can feel the buzz, the excitement in the air,'' said the Rev. Kevin Dixson, youth pastor at Mount Zion. "Everybody's pulling for her. We're just glad to be part of it.''
It's already been a banner year. The church is celebrating its 40th anniversary, and the adult choir Jones once sang in, Voices of Mount Zion, was just named a Flint legend by its peers.
But everybody is talking about Jones' rocket ride to success in Hollywood. She's one of 20 remaining contestants on "Idol,'' and a favorite of the judges.
No one at Mount Zion is surprised.
"She's always been our 'American Idol,''' said Cassandra Ellison of Flint, a Voices member for 13 years. "She was always the one who stood out.''
"I've heard her sing thousands of times,'' said Dixson, whose grandfather, Herbert B. Dixson, is Mount Zion's pastor. "Every time she opened her mouth, it was, 'My goodness.'''
For the first time, the buzz around Jones made its way into Sunday's morning church service. Jones' mother, Beverly Jefferson of Flint, spoke: "LaKisha would like to thank everybody for their support and votes.''
When Dixson, who delivered Sunday's sermon, added, "Kisha is doing a tremendous job,'' the congregation gave a thunderous standing ovation.
And who knows? Hollywood might just end up coming to Mount Zion. If Jones makes it to the final four, the show will profile each of the singers' hometowns.
Though Jones has lived in Houston and Fort Meade, Md., since 2001, she was born and raised in Flint, joining the youth choir at Mount Zion at age 5, graduating from Central High School and taking courses at the University of Michigan-Flint.
She and her daughter, Brionne, 4, moved back to Flint last fall after auditioning for "American Idol.'' Jefferson is caring for Brionne during the single mom's run on the show. Grandmother and granddaughter shuttle to and from Hollywood every week to watch Jones perform live, but they come home in time for Sunday services at Mount Zion.
If Jones stays in the contest long enough for "Idol'' to pay homage to her hometown, "it would be wonderful for the church and Flint,'' said Artie Dixson, wife of Herbert B. Dixson. "Mount Zion is a witnessing church. It would give the church the opportunity to witness for the Lord.''
"It could put Mount Zion on the map,'' Ellison said.
Jones described by Artie Dixson as "very, very outgoing'' and "a Christian young lady'' is proving to young parishioners that they can dream big.
"Young people are in awe of what LaKisha has achieved,'' Dixson-Mays said. "She's showing them they can achieve their goals, whatever they are, with God's help.''
The Rev. Herbert B. Dixson said he's pleased with the effect Jones' "Idol'' success is having on Mount Zion, located on a street lined with liquor stores, churches and houses with barred doors and windows.
(Sally York is a reporter for the Flint (Mich.) Journal. She can be contacted at syork(at)flintjournal.com.)
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The girl can sing. In all fairness, if it's a true contest on voice, she'll win hands down.
This girl was terrific. In fact, I think she sang that DREAMGIRLS song better than Hudson does. But still not as good as the amazing, original singer, Jennifer Holliday who has been given the bum's rush through this whole process. Everyone was invited to the premiere except her. And they had the audacity to use her version in the pre-opening trailer. If you want to hear Holliday's version of the song, go to YOUTUBE and search Jennifer Holliday. They have her performance at that year's Tony Awards. It'll make you shiver...I guarantee it.
THAT BEING SAID, I can't wait to hear what else this girl, Lakisha, sings. She's a great belter.
The 'Zionist', of course!
I haven't followed AI... but just googled up a couple of clips of her. Holey Moley can she belt it out. What a powerhouse of a voice. Send everybody else home. We have a winner.
The last thing Jennifer Hudson exclaimed in her Oscar acceptance speech was gratitude for Jennifer Holliday. That was classy.
really? Didn't watch it, although i have it on TIVO. Good for her!
I predict that Kisha will be in the top five this year. That means that she will go on the tour, and that her church will get plenty of recognition.
I hope her mom doesn't get tired of babysitting ;)