In this article from the Jamaica Gleaner, Ian Boyne argues that "it is time that the radio disc jockeys 'free up' and release the hard-core gospel deejays whom they have imprisoned in Sunday morning slots marked 'gospel music.'" In Boyne's opinion, Jamaican tastemakers have failed to recognize that gospel roots reggae is of the same quality and significance as popular reggae, worlian or dancehall.
From time to time I hear, mostly in contemporary Christian circles, that the music is not up to par and can't compete with mainstream music. There seems to be a "knock-off" stigma, and I'm not sure if it has more to do with the actual music or the way the music is marketed ("She's like a Christian [fill-in-the-name-of-pop-tart.])".
I can't remember hearing anyone describe gospel music this way. Maybe that's because so many mainstream R&B/soul artists get their start in the church, singing gospel music. Maybe people don't necessarily compare gospel and R&B/soul, because the roots and sounds are so intertwined. I don't think the lack of "knock-off stigma" has much to do with lack of awareness, as seems to be the case with the Jamaican tastemakers Boyne addresses. I would imagine that many R&B/soul music aficionados would also have some awareness of the gospel scene, although that may be changing. Hmmm. Thoughts? Speculations? Comment, one and all.