ATLANTA — The television network Oxygen has announced the second round of its controversial preacher reality show, this time following five Georgia ministers, including one rap artist, a female preacher with a rocker hairdo and tutu, and a Grammy Award-winning gospel singer who admits that she passes out cigarettes and condoms on the streets.
“Preachers of Atlanta” comes on the heels of its much-debated “Preachers of L.A.” broadcast, which featured the lavish lives of several California ministers, including one gospel singer who sought to make a comeback after having a child out of wedlock with his girlfriend.
“Preachers of Atlanta features a young, vibrant group of pastors who are pushing the envelope and tackling real-world issues in their communities, creating thought-provoking dialogue,” Rod Aissa, Executive Vice President of Original Programming and Development at Oxygen Media, said of the new series in a statement.
“I take it to the streets. I pass out cigarettes and condoms,” Le’Andria Johnson, who leads Imperfect People Changing (I.P.C.) Ministries, declares in a preview for “Preachers of Atlanta.” “I do all of that, but at the end of the day, when God tells me to do something, I do it.”
Johnson first made headlines about her practice in 2013, which she claimed was a way to witness to the lost, when a video surfaced of Johnson approaching a homeless man and offering him a cigarette while lighting one for herself.
“I’m all for meeting people where they are and I do realize that most people aren’t going to wander into your church looking to be saved. … But handing out ‘cancer sticks’ is pushing it,” wrote Gerald Jones of DaGospelTruth.com at that time.
Johnson was named Billboard’s number one female gospel artist in 2012, and won best gospel/contemporary Christian music performance at the 2011 Grammy Awards for her debut single, “Jesus.”
“Preachers of Atlanta” also features female leader Kimberly Jones-Ponthier, who founded a movement called “Conquering Hell in High Heels.” Jones-Ponthier, who heads Church of the Harvest in Fayetteville as a “life coach,” is known for her rocker persona mixed with tutus and high heels.
“I preach better when I’m me,” she explains in the Oxygen preview.
The upcoming reality show will follow Ponthier as she prepares to meet her husband’s sons from a previous relationship.
Others to be featured on the broadcast include Judah Swilley of The Movement, whose father, James Swilley, a bishop, came out as a homosexual in 2010.
“People need to realize that morality has nothing to do with sexuality. There are gay people with great morals and straight people with horrible morals,” Judah Swilley contended to the Georgia Voice that year. “The idea of being gay is immoral has to go. In people’s minds, for some reason they can’t understand how you can be gay and a Christian.”
“Christians hate gay people,” his father claims in the preview.
Canton Jones, a nationally-recognized rap artist who leads Free Life Church in Fayette, is additionally among the five ministers followed in the reality show, as well as Corey Hambrick of Life Church Christian Center in Conyers, who also serves as a police officer and works with inner city youth.
The broadcast is set to air on Feb. 3 on the Oxygen Network. Public reaction has been mixed.
“Can’t wait to see this new series. It appears like the ministers are diverse and appear to be anointed,” one commenter named Annora MP wrote on the show’s Facebook page.
“Another disgrace to body of Christ!” exclaimed commenter Dorcia Soilberry.