Offstage: GMF Insider with Shirley Caesar

By Libra Boyd
Gospel Music Fever

Shirley Caesar

Pastor Shirley Caesar is multidimensional.  She is a singer and songwriter, a preacher and pastor, a former politician and forever a comedian.

A comedian?

“There’s a side of you that many people don’t see,” I mentioned to Pastor Caesar several weeks ago inside her sprawling office at Raleigh’s Mount Calvary Word of Faith Church. “A lot of people don’t know that you have a sense of humor.”  She bursts into laughter.

Since I opened the door, I figured she may as well take us on a tour of what it’s like to be Shirley Caesar offstage.

Libra:  If you were not a singer, preacher, or pastor, what would you be doing?

Pastor Caesar: Um…(long pause)…raising children.

Libra:  How many?

Pastor Caesar: Two.

Libra:  A boy and a girl?

Pastor Caesar: A boy and a girl.

Libra:  Do you have names for them?

Pastor Caesar: I like “Desiree,” and I like “Hope.”

Libra:  What’s the best dish you can prepare?

Pastor Caesar: (Laughs heartily)  I think my best dish would be spaghetti and meat sauce with all of the I mean I fix all of that from scratch.  I bake it, I fix it any kind of way.  And my rice.  I can cook rice and the grains are not gummy…yeah…and I can cook other stuff I just don’t.  I go out and eat everyday.

Libra:  Me too.  I don’t really cook, but I can make a really good peach cobbler.

Pastor Caesar: Really?  I cannot cook a lot of sweets; I can’t do that, but you know, some things I watched my Mom do.  My sister Anne, Anne was a cook, because Mama taught her!  She learned by observation.  Not me.  I was always running and breaking streetlights and doing something crazy when I was a little girl! 

Libra:  What’s your favorite thing to do in your leisure time?

Pastor Caesar: I have a Galaxy [tablet], and I have a lot of games on there.  There’s one game on there that’s called Tile Takedown.  It’s a word game, and I love words.  In fact, I saw it on the bed on the way to church, and I started to grab it!

Libra:  Do you have a favorite cartoon or fictional character?

Pastor Caesar: Favorite cartoon is Tom & Jerry, but I also like uhwhat’s that “beep beep”?

Libra:  Road Runner.

Pastor Caesar: Road Runner!  I love Road Runner, because he’s always trying to figure out a way to catch the chicken. (chuckles)

Libra:  Is there another product or service that you would endorse if given the opportunity?  (Pastor Caesar currently has endorsements with AARP and Medicare.)

Pastor Caesar: When I was growing up, we did not have a McDonald’s or a Burger King but I don’t eat red meat, and I’ve also become something of a health nut.  I could [endorse] the salads though.  I’d also maybe like to talk about cancer or some other cause like that.

Libra:  What’s the one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

Pastor Caesar: That because I’ve come from a family that wasn’t well-to-doI didn’t even have, uh, hardly a spoon, much less a silver or a gold spoon in my mouththat today, I give 50% of my earnings to the Lord, monies realized.  I try to help needy families.  I buy them fans in the summer and try to help them with heat in the winter; not because I’m trying to be different from anybody else, but I know where I’ve come from.

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