Gastonia twins turn Christian hip-hop into musical

Angela Houser and Tangela Brown continue to evolve their storytelling talent from singing to also performing their life’s greatest lessons.

The Gastonia twins, known as the Dream Team Queens, have been performing as Christian hip-hop artists since they signed with Tate Music Group of Mustang, Okla., in May 2010. Houser and Brown, along with nine others – including their children – will perform in their first musical play, “The Resolution,” in Gastonia on April 5.

Houser and Brown’s music expresses the difficulties of growing up in a broken home, where their mother’s drug addiction turned childhood innocence into adolescent dissonance. Eventually, the twins said they were faced with a choice: continue on this destructive path or change.

That change is expressed throughout their music and also in the play.

Brown and Houser said they decided to work with local playwright Cynthia Stitt, who approached them after their performance at Mount Pisgah’s Baptist Association Youth Revival in July 2013.

Brown, 31, said it took nine months of working with Stitt to complete the play, and they were impressed by her recreation of their story.

“Their performance that day was truly a visual experience,” said Stitt, 44, of the Myrtle community, who has been publishing books and writing plays since 2007. “I could see what they had went through and how they’d changed.”

“The Resolution” brings their past and present story to the stage in what they call “a faith walk” through the twins’ troubled childhood to their life as Christian entertainers and ministers now.

“We wanted to encourage people not only through education but experience as well,” said Houser, 31. “The play and our music does that.”

Five songs from their two albums – “Living Dream,” released in July 2011 and “Generated,” released in May 2013 – accompany the play. One of their most popular songs, “Pray 4 Me” will be part of the performance.

Stitt, a public health nurse administrator for Gaston County Health Department, said she believes Houser’s and Brown’s testimony is eye-opening. She said everyone has bad experiences but can choose to make them better. “That’s ‘The Resolution,’ ” she said.

Stitt said she looks forward to seeing her play reach more people during the performance.

Houser said they hope to sell 600 tickets to the play, raising $3,000 for the youth department at Mt. Moriah Baptist Church in Belmont, where Brown and Houser are ministers. It will help purchase new technology and support educational field trips.

While the play isn’t being performed in their church, it is being performed in their mother’s, near their childhood home in the Highland community.

Brown said they’ve made peace with their mother, and she will be at the performance. She also said their mother has undergone her own recovery and counsels others with addiction problems.

“I can’t live in my past,” Brown said. “We’ve both moved forward in life in many ways and express that vulnerably in what we do.”