Welcome to The FOUR:
A fearsome faith foursome talkin’ about Black Life, Love, Power & Joy
YOUR HOSTS: Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III, Lisa Sharon Harper, Rev. Michael Ray Mathews, Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis
Four of America’s most gifted, prophetic Black leaders are also four of the funniest, most irreverent, soulful and justice-rooted friends around. For the first time, they’ll join their public voices in a special podcast series as freewheeling as the barbershop and beauty salon, and as dynamic and deep as the books, films, television, speeches and sermons they’ve created, and protests they’ve led. People of all races and faiths are invited into this unapologetically African-American Gen X circle where smart, sophisticated and nuanced interviews with diverse guests meet wit and laughter among friends:
Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III, senior pastor, Trinity United Church of Christ was named one of the “12 Most Effective Preachers in the English-Speaking World” by Baylor University. A creator of award-winning “sermonic films”, he founded the Unashamed Media Group, committed to producing and curating stories to inspire the heart and challenge the mind. His filmwork has been featured by Oprah Winfrey. Pastor Moss is highly-influenced by the works of Zora Neale Hurston, August Wilson, Howard Thurman, Jazz and Hip-Hop, just some of the reasons he is a popular speaker at college campuses, conferences and churches worldwide. He is a proud graduate of Morehouse College, with a Master of Divinity from Yale Divinity and a Doctor of Ministry from Chicago Theological Seminary. He is ordained in the Progressive National Baptist Convention and the United Church of Christ (UCC).
Lisa Sharon Harper is president of Freedom Road LLC and host of the Freedom Road Podcast. A spoken word artist, she is a fiery storyteller who breathes life into words to mesmerizing effect. As a leading Black progressive evangelical woman in a white male world, Ms. Harper is not afraid to take on the old guard and is uniquely engaged with white evangelical women. Her latest book, Fortune: My Journey to Understand How Race Broke My Family and The World and How to Repair it All (Brazos Press, February 2022), follows on the heels of her critically acclaimed bestseller, The Very Good Gospel: How Everything Wrong can be Made Right. Ms. Harper has a Masters in human rights from Columbia University and Masters of Fine Arts in Playwriting from the University of Southern California. She lives in South Philadelphia with her dog, Babe, who makes frequent appearances on The Four.
Rev. Michael-Ray Mathews is a senior pastor, psalmist, singer and leading national community organizer as Deputy Director & Chief Faith Officer of Faith in Action. He hosts the Prophetic Resistance Podcast where he engages multi-faith leaders about sacred resistance to injustice and cultivating communities of belonging. Rev. Mathews is also president of the Alliance of Baptists, a progressive movement for justice and healing in the Baptist tradition; visiting professor of public theology at Berkeley School of Theology in Berkeley, CA; and co-founder and public theologian-in-residence with Sympara, a multifaith and interspiritual community repurposing spiritual practice for the common good. And his soulful singing will make you weep. Rev. Mathews is ordained in the American Baptist. He lives in San Jose.
The Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis is senior minister of the multi-race, multi-cultural and affirming Middle Collegiate Church in New York City. Dr. Lewis is the first woman and first African American to serve as Senior Minister in the nation’s oldest continuous church, which dates to 1628. This dynamic womanist preacher, teacher, speaker, writer and activist promotes a public ethic of love. Her latest book is Fierce Love: A Bold Path to Ferocious Courage and Rule Breaking Kindness That Can Heal the World (November 2021 Harmony/Penguin Random House). She created two national television programs, Just Faith for MSNBC.com, and Chapter and Verse for PBS featuring unorthodox conversations about culture and current events through the lens of progressive faith and spirituality. She hosts the podcast Love.Period. and co-hosts Learning How to See, with leading Christian author Brian McLaren and legendary Fransciscan friar Richard Rohr (Center for Action and Contemplation.) Dr. Lewis is ordained in the Presbyterian Church USA. and has a Ph.D. in Psychology and Religion.
The FOUR are thrilled to feature the GRAMMY-winning Ranky Tanky, the global ambassadors of Gullah music and culture. Ranky Tanky (a Gullah phrase for “get funky”) have achieved many firsts for South Carolina’s West African-rooted Gullah community since their formation, earning yet another milestone at the 2019 GRAMMY Awards by taking home the Best Regional Roots Album prize for their sophomore release, Good Time. The album, which hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz Chart, combines songs carried down through generations in the Sea Islands of the Southeastern U.S. since slavery, with the band’s original compositions in the Gullah tradition. In Ranky Tanky's hands, this style of music has been described as "soulful honey to the ears" (NPR) while being covered by the New York Times, NPR’s Fresh Air, PBS Newshour, The TODAY Show and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Ranky Tanky were honored to be featured artists at President Biden’s inauguration event, We The People.
Ranky Tanky are five lifelong friends from Charleston, South Carolina, who passionately and faithfully preserve the traditions originated by African Americans in the coastal South during slavery that are kept alive through the present day. Watch Ranky Tanky accept their GRAMMY for Best Regional Roots Album. See them perform “Freedom” on The TODAY Show and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert #playathome. And enjoy their GRAMMY-winning album, Good Time.
With frequent guest appearances by:
Babe (chihuahua/something else) was found on the street in Indiana and made her way to the Save Me rescue shelter in South Philadelphia where she found Lisa. Her soon-to-be-mommy fell in love with her after one trial walk around the block. Babe (not Lisa) is 1-1/2 years old; she’s house trained, loves to play at the dog park and loves to cuddle even more. With a remarkably intuitive sense for when Lisa’s microphone is on, and excited by the dynamic conversation, Babe is a frequently heard guest on The FOUR.