The Kennedy Center

JJ Hairston & Youthful Praise


They dynamic voices of Youthful Praise have been wowing audiences for over sixteen years. Formerly known as the Teens of T.F.T. they have grown within their home church of Turner's Faith Temple (Bridgeport, Connecticut), into an effective ministry that dazzles and delights through the gift of song.

Their debut release Awesome God (2001) was their stepping stone, followed by their mid 2004 release Thank You For The Challenge and their 2009 release Live! The Praise...The Worship featuring JJ Hairston. Youthful Praise has earned many recognitions, including the 2003 Stellar Award nominations for Choir of the Year and Contemporary Choir of the Year, the Soul Train Award nomination for Gospel Artist of the Year, the Gospel Music Workshop of America Excellence Award nomination for Choir of the Year, and the Gospel Truth Magazine Award for Contemporary Choir of the Year.

Youthful Praise follows the reputable vocal lineage of their pastor and first lady, Bishop J.C. and Evangelist Gloria White (former director and soloist of the renowned Institutional Radio Choir). The choir's television appearances have included Late Night with Conan O'Brien in 2002, and the Stellar Awards and Bobby Jones Gospel in both 2002 and 2003. Appreciated for their choral expertise, Joan Osbourne, Shirley Caesar, and Destiny's Child have all utilized this choir's ministry talent for performances.

JJ Hairston is the Director of Youthful Praise. He is a member of Turner's Faith Temple C.O.G.I.C., Int'l. in Bridgeport, Connecticut under the leadership of two gospel music legends, Bishop J.C. White and Evangelist Gloria White. A native of Brooklyn, New York, he attended Mt. Sinai Cathedral, C.O.G.I.C. where his grandfather, Bishop Clarence Sexton Sr., was the Pastor. However, his love for gospel music began at his current church when his friend, Shawn Brown, asked him to come to choir rehearsal. It was then that James gave his heart, as well as his voice, talent, and his feet to the Lord. Inspired by the writing ability of his friend Shawn and his pastor, Bishop White, James began writing his own songs such as "He is the Spirit" and "Garment of Praise." Since then, James has been called upon to write and direct for many well-known artists.

Mr. Hairston is an admirer of the songwriting styles of Thomas Whitfield, Rudolph Stanfield, Richard Smallwood, Donald Lawrence, Kirk Franklin, James Hall, and Melvin Crispell. He also admires the directing styles of Ricky Dillard, and James Hall. Mr. Hairston's goal is to be perceived by youth as an active young man and servant of the Lord, and example that you do not have to be old to be saved.
JJ Hairston & Youthful Praise