He may not be the most high-profile “American Idol” winner, but Ruben Studdard has been keeping busy. He’s just contributed his gorgeous vocals to a new gospel album that benefits arts programs for young people at The Black Academy of Arts and Letters, a 250,000 square foot, Dallas-based institution that’s been in operation for 34 years and performs over 100 productions annually in theatre, music, film, dance and literary and visual arts.
The 13-track CD “Medicine – Live at the Black Academy of Arts and Letters” was recorded live at the Black Academy with the accompaniment of the 80-piece Black Academy choir. Studdard contributed the title track, “Medicine (For Someone Else),” a song that’s been rising on the gospel charts. Sounds of Blackness lead singer Ann Nesby sings “What Would You Have Me Do?” and Yarborough and Peoples – of “Don’t Stop the Music” fame – provide “Jump Until You Feel Somethin.’” Actress Jasmine Guy recites the poem “My Language” by Curtis King about the miseries of the international slave trade.
“In a bad economy the first thing that gets cut is arts funding,” says Curtis King, who founded the Black Arts Academy in his dining room with $250. “However, it’s the plays, concerts, poetry readings and other inspiring programming we offer that helps people get through rough times like these. So, we’re thrilled that these artists came together to make a CD that will raise money to help keep these programs going for our youth.”
None other than gospel luminary Kirk Franklin endorses both the CD and the Black Academy. Although he’s not on the CD, he fully supports the efforts of the organization.
“I truly enjoyed this project,” says Franklin. “This CD will be a blessing for anyone that is in need of ‘Medicine.’”