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Gone are the days of gospel being sterile and one-dimensional. In 2009, the fast changes occurring throughout the world demand that artists who present the gospel in song find new, exciting ways to get the message across. In the realm of music videos, the quality, concept, and presentation have reached their highest levels yet. Here’s a shortlist of some of the highest achievers in the field:

10. Melinda Watts “So Good”

She’s beautiful and she can sing like nobody’s business. It would be a crime for an artist like Melinda Watts not to have a music video like the one for her debut single “So Good.” Watts’ performance in the video combines youthful energy with a grounded passion for Christ. Kudos to Gospel Dream for setting their contest winner up so well!

9. Donnie McClurkin & Karen Clark Sheard “Wait On The Lord”

God only knows why it took these two awe-inspiring voices so long to record together, but fortunately for us all, the wait is over. The collaboration paid off as well. “Wait On The Lord,” from Donnie’s We All Are One (Live in Detroit) album, earned a Grammy nomination for Best Gospel Performance.

8. Deitrick Haddon “I Need Your Help”

Lately, Deitrick Haddon has been easily identifiable by his trademark faux-hawk and fashion forward rockstar-for-Jesus swagger. But the R&B/gospel trailblazer gets serious in the dramatic clip for “I Need Your Help,” a single from his last solo album Revealed. It also looks like the 3-camera, choir-backed live performance videos alone don’t cut it anymore. The special effects in “I Need Your Help” definitely do their part to up the ante for gospel music artists.

7. Ann Nesby “I Found A Place”

Energetic fifty-something Ann Nesby proves age really ain’t nothin’ but a number with her glam video for the Tonéx-produced “I Found A Place.” The song is among several progressive offerings from Nesby’s most recent solo effort The Lula Lee Project which has earned her two recent Grammy nominations. Clearly, after over 20 years in Gospel music, nothing has affected her powerhouse voice.

6. Israel Houghton “Just Wanna Say”

The video for the lead single from Israel’s The Power of One shows us how much the culture of gospel music has evolved. Not only are we allowed to dance, but by the looks of the fluorescent day-glo dressed dancers in Israel’s video, we’re encouraged to do so as well. The percussion-laden, go-go inspired single helped get Israel a Grammy nomination for Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album this year.

5. Mary Mary featuring Kierra Sheard “God In Me”

The Marys become fashion week supermodels in the couture-ific video for their Grammy nominated smash “God In Me.” The video features cameos from Kanye West, Heavy D, Fonzworth Bentley, Shanice, Flex Alexander, Israel Houghton, and more. It’s too bad they didn’t get to do a video for the remix featuring Ne-Yo! There’s no slowing down for them though. According to Mary Mary’s Twitter page, a new Mary Mary album should be on stores shelves by Fall 2010.

4. Da’ T.R.U.T.H. featuring Tia Pittman “Lost”

Da’ T.R.U.T.H. delivers a stimulating visual counterpart to this compelling single from his 2009 album The Big Picture. Leave it to the Cross Movement Records crew to approach subjects such as pornography addition, racism, and domestic abuse in a culturally relevant way. This brilliantly shot and edited video directed by Joel Kapity is a must see.

3. James Fortune & Fiya “I Trust You”

James Fortune & Fiya’s “I Trust You” dominated the Gospel songs charts for more than 30 weeks and made their album The Transformation a bonafide success. How could such a beautifully shot clip not make the list? Be on the look out for new music from James Fortune coming soon, as the group recently did another live recording in earlier this month.

2. BeBe & CeCe Winans “Close To You”

Sometimes you never know how much you miss someone until you see them again. The sight of our favorite brother and sister duo performing together again in this idyllic setting reminds us how it all began. Just like their successful 1991 crossover single “Addictive Love,” “Close To You” made its rounds on both R&B and gospel music airwaves. Though the lyrics of the song are intentionally vague, they make it clear in their video that they aren’t just talking about a man or a woman.

1. Mary Mary “I Worship You”

There’s no reservation about including Erica & Tina Campbell twice on the list. Separate triumphs necessitate separate merits. For the promo clip to their anthemic single “I Worship You,” there are no dancers, no cameos, and for most of the video, not much color at all. But the concept of Mary Mary transforming from sketches on a page to living color in real life was masterfully executed and fitting for a song so beautifully written and sung.

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