Deitrick Haddon’s Blessed & Cursed movie review

Gospel music is a lot like the minor leagues of baseball: it exists and does well, but it’s not usually on the forefront of people’s minds in the media universe, and, thus, the general population.

So Gospel music plods along with artists singing in churches, at revivals, and even oddly named “crusades,” and there’s a whole system built up where you’ve got super famous artists like Kirk Franklin and Yolanda Adams— the superstars of black Gospel who may or may not be known by the general population– and then less known figures who none-the-less make a living singing about the Lord to congregations who want to praise and worship God– people like Lucinda Moore, Shirley Murdock, and Deitrick Haddon.

Every now and then someone making a living at Gospel music makes that jump to being a “superstar,” and with Deitrick Haddon, he’s close to becoming a household name among black families in America because he works so darn hard at doing what he does, and doing it well.

Case in point: Deitrick, never resting, makes a movie called “Blessed & Cursed,” and stars in it. Then he does the soundtrack to it, too. That’s a lot of work, and it could have come across as laughable, but he managed to do a decent job at keeping my attention, and I think most black people I know who are churchgoers will want to see, and probably own, this movie.

It’s pretty rare that the black church experience gets shown for an entire movie; usually it’s just a scene or two that glosses over what goes on behind-the-scenes of today’s churches. So most films show a singer backed by a choir looking at the main character in the audience who is supposed to be moved and/or changed by that powerful Gospel song. Imagine, though, a film from start to finish where the main character is a conflicted young man who gets caught up in church business, gets famous for singing there, and then finds his life unravel quite a bit when the powers-that-be come against him. That describes “Blessed & Cursed.”

Filmed in Detroit, everything about the way this movie was filmed makes it feel gritty, as if someone followed Deitrick around with a camera phone and, indeed, this being a “Gospel film,” there are parts of the movie where the technical aspects are amateur– awkward cuts and edits, messed up sound– but not too “poorly done” to bother people. For what it is, with a presumably small budget, the film is really darn good. As a suburban white person, I love how “Blessed & Cursed” takes me into the heart of Detroit and shows me characters who talk in Ebonics and live in a culture that’s as inner-city as inner-city gets.

Karen Clark-Sheard, the noted Gospel singer, plays Deitrick’s mom in the film. She has nothing to do, not even sing, except die, which leads Deitrick’s character, the music man at the big church, to run off to the strip joint, for which he gets caught and blackmailed later on. Meanwhile, Kiki Sheard plays Deitrick’s little sister. She isn’t given much to do either, but it is cool to see her in a movie.

Deitrick’s real-life wife plays a hoochie he’s having lots and lots of sex with, before the Bishop of the big church asks him to come be their music man. Damita Haddon plays this hoochie so well, and when she tells him off in his truck about how she ain’t down with him being more into God than sex with her, “you betta believe it!” In other words, she plays the part of a ghetto beeyatch perfectly– you will be scared of her.

The ex-girlfriend, though, fades outta the picture fast, and Deitrick’s character gets down to business being the new music star of the power-hungry Bishop’s church. The “big moment” of the film is when the Bishop is getting essentially “crowned” as the presiding Bishop for a whole network of churches at the big convocation, where Deitrick’s supposed to sing, but Bishop basically tells the congregation, “There’s no time for him to sing, let us pray…” It’s a power struggle, and pride cometh before the fall.

Deitrick’s character tries not to be hurt by how Bishop dissed him like that, but his friends are none too pleased. Then, when Mama dies unexpectedly, Deitrick’s character veers away from God. Eventually, at the end of the film, he comes back to “living right,” his own father gets to pastor a church, and all is well.

Now one of the most memorable scenes in all of “Blessed & Cursed” was when white-haired Rance Allen comes in and wants to “check out this new guy.” They sing together, and for lovers of Gospel music, THIS scene is the one must-see scene in the whole film– I’d love to see it on YouTube sometime. I don’t know much about Rance Allen, except that he has been around for decades and is well-respected in the black community. I heard him singing on a Kirk Franklin joint years back, so that’s how I knew the name– and when he walks into the church and s-a-n-g-s with Deitrick and crew, I was like, “Whoa!” He reminded me of the male version of Aretha Franklin– he seems to live and breathe each note, with gusto!

Tyscot put this movie out, described as “straight to DVD” on wikipedia, though I know it has been shown in individual theaters in places like Memphis, and on “gmc” (Gospel Music Channel, which used to be great, and is now mostly reruns of ‘family-friendly’ dramas). Tyscot also released its soundtrack.

One thing about Deitrick Haddon is he is “mad cool.” He reminds me of Kirk Franklin and Tye Tribbett, because wherever he goes, that’s where the party’s at! The soundtrack has 12 joints, including “I’m Blessed,” by Haddon, “More Like You,” by Michelle Williams, and “Breath Away” by Damita.

If you are black, Christian (“Saved!”), and go to church once or more than once a week, this movie is for you. My guess is Deitrick wanted this movie to go beyond the borders of the black church, but it’s SO about the black church, that my thought is 90% of viewers will be “already sanctified saints” and about 10% will be the “heathens” black Gospel tries to reach every once in a while.

 

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Published by

Mark Weber

Mark Weber publishes the MarkWeberMusicBlog.

10 thoughts on “Deitrick Haddon’s Blessed & Cursed movie review”

  1. hi i am jordan.i am from the team ur church went against in volly ball.i am 9 years old.

  2. im looking for the full movie soundtrack of blessed and cursed im from cape town south africa, please email me

  3. I just saw this movie on the Movie Channel and although some would say it is a great christian movie, I must disagree. When did it become o.k. to use profanity at anytime but especially when you are playing the role of a bishop? I would like to know when it is o.k. to discuss having relations outside of marriage and to acknowledge that it is wrong but say “God is dealing with me” and still get up in the pulpit and try and sing praises unto to God? There are many gifts without repentance and this movie should not be labeled as a christian film but rather one for general audiences because I can’t see God getting any glory from it. I kept hearing how anointed the character D was but you see the bible says to shun the very appearance of sin, and this movie did nothing for me in a spiritual sense and I even found that I had to turn away from it a few times. We often times get caught in a a song that has a good beat and then you realize that the beat comes from a time when you were listening to secular music. The bible tells us to separate ourselves from sin, and yet there are those of us that feel like we can change the words but keep the beat. I say let’s just get back to Jesus and leave the rest outside. When we can just live holy we won’t need catchy songs with secular beats and dances that rival being in the nightclubs. We should be convicted in our spirits when we see such things occurring but then again we are living in the last days and those that aren’t truly making ready will be left behind. I pray for the entire cast of this movie that the Lord will deal with each of them according to his will, as I pray that he will deal with helping me to get into a place that I will be able to stand against the wilds of the enemy.

  4. well well well,I have watched Deitrick Haddon’s blessed and cursed more than 3 times!! what can I say! not that I like the movie itself but the songs. i must say Deitrick is a really gifted singer but acting…no its not for him at all! just the whole movie was not really good in terms of edting as already mentioned,and the creative part of it is also pathetic! I think there should have been more drama on the part of Dwights ex-girlfriend but she simply faded away from the movie and suddenly re-appeared at the end!!! The only great thing about that movie is the music,even that lady who suddenly started singing with Dwight at the end..where on earth did she come from? dint make sense at all! as if they do that in real life and suddenly decided it’d be great to appear on set ….and i agree with so much profane language from that Bishop Wright..is that really what happens in today’s churches?

  5. i havent seen the movie yet only the trailer but i really liked the anonymous guy-gal’s comments above – some good strong right things in that ‘i say let’s get back to Jesus & leave the resy outside’ and reference to the fact that we ARE in the last days – (no doubt) maybe another generation if we/they are lucky and it’s curtains so dont allow anyone you know to be left behind – get them non believers to an alpha.org course & to watch the movie/doco ‘A Question Of Origins’ on You Tube and start their walk

  6. Watched blessed and cursed.even now i still thank God.its so relevant 2mi.except dat i don sing.n de truthes in it.ino em all.i mean all.m soo in Christ afta watchn it.cudn’t stop cryin n de spirit of God was so heavy onmi.thru a movie.was amazed.nva felt lyk dat eva.dat movies was made 4mi.lol! I have risen up n persuin my purpose 4 God.thank God

  7. Learnmore, the man is gifted, we need such people in our times as the Christians, I need you to come and minister to Gaborone, Botswana Africa.

  8. Am so much inlove with deitrick haddon’s song and I really need to watch the film again,which site can I watch it please send me a mail okay,good job bro keep it up

  9. I Loved this movie. I watch it every time it comes on. I also love his music and his personality.Keep doing what you’re doing deitrick. I didn’t even know that was his real life wife and Kiki Sheard and Karen-Clark Sheard are related. Very inspirational!!!! If you haven’t seen the movie yet, you really need to find it and watch it. Deitrick, love your new album R.E.D. by the way.Stay Blessed!

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