Pastor Behind TikTok ‘Dance Cult’ 7M Accused of Brainwashing Congregants | Aici

Miranda Derrick needs you to know she’s doing higher than ever. She has 1.3 million Instagram followers. Her tan is deep and even, her blond hair modern and bobbed, her baggage Prada and Louis Vuitton. In a single current Instagram publish she dances throughout the white marble ground of a megamansion in patent-leather stilettos and a curve-hugging gown, shimmying to Earth, Wind & Fireplace’s “September” along with her well-known dancer husband. They’re glowing, backlit by the setting Southern California solar and smiling at one another. Derrick’s caption reads: “Chasing the☁️away☀️Dance companions for all times!”

In different posts, Derrick is popping and locking in entrance of the Hollywood hills. She’s twirling on the Santa Monica pier. She’s strutting alongside dance-world heavy hitters like Matt Steffanina and Montana Tucker. She’s a part of a tight-knit group of dancers who name each other “brothers” and “sisters” and pepper each other’s posts with supportive feedback and emojis. To the informal observer, Derrick is pleased — radiantly, unapologetically pleased.

She credit all this to her new administration firm, 7M Movies. The small group, based in Santa Ana final July, has taken off, reserving its dancers on every little thing from “The Ellen DeGeneres Present” and Toyota commercials to the Tremendous Bowl halftime efficiency.



However hints have emerged that Derrick’s storybook life is probably not what it appears. Manufacturers she has tagged in what seem to be sponsored posts deny having any involvement along with her. Her already slight body seems to develop thinner by the day. She’s blocked buddies on social media and lower off contact along with her household. In December, determined to see Derrick, her sister, Melanie Wilking, purchased a ticket to 7M’s “Hip Hop Nutcracker Christmas” revue below a pretend identify, a pal who accompanied her stated. When Wilking sneaked backstage, members of 7M’s administration workforce tried to maintain her and Derrick aside.

In February, Wilking and her dad and mom revealed a tearful 40-minute video claiming that Derrick and her fellow 7M dancers had joined a mysterious spiritual group that was isolating and exploiting them. “Another person is controlling their lives,” Wilking stated, “they usually’re all victims.”

Different family and friends members of 7M dancers have instructed Insider related tales to the Wilkings’, together with accounts of dramatic modifications of their family members’ habits and look, strained or inconsistent communication, and, in just a few instances, massive sums lacking from shared household financial institution accounts. These individuals spoke on the situation of anonymity within the hopes of defending their relationships with the dancers. (Insider is conscious of their and different nameless sources’ identities.)

James Derrick, also known as BDash, and Miranda Derrick pose at the American Music Awards in 2021

James Derrick, also referred to as BDash, and his spouse, Miranda Derrick, are managed by 7M Movies Inc.

Amy Sussman/Getty Photographs

On the heart of the controversy is 7M’s CEO, Robert Shinn, a charismatic pastor who claims to have a direct line to God. In 1994 he based a small nondenominational Christian ministry known as Shekinah Church. Over the previous 13 years, Shinn, 63, has spent his time away from the pulpit making an attempt to make it large in Hollywood. Along with 7M, he is launched a file label and a manufacturing firm that put out a slew of D-list movies together with “Random Encounters,” starring Meghan Markle.

However this 12 months, Shinn has lastly gotten a style of fame. After Derrick’s household posted their video, the web buzzed with conspiracy theories a few “dance cult.” 7M pushed again with an announcement insisting it was working in dancers’ finest pursuits. Paparazzi adopted Shinn and his household, catching the pastor cruising Southern California in his Bentley and hitting the fitness center for racquetball.

The highlight is new for Shinn, who has operated within the shadows for years. Insider spoke with 10 former church members who additionally requested anonymity, fearing retribution from Shinn and his group. They stated Shinn did not merely ask for devotion from his congregants — he requested for management over their lives. These members stated they’d come to imagine they have been “brainwashed” by Shinn by means of a cautious means of isolation, restriction, and intimidation. They stated he taught them to observe each other and report transgressions as small as utilizing an excessive amount of rest room paper, and that he oversaw marathon prayer periods the place they have been anticipated to run in place and converse in tongues. Some stated Shinn persuaded them handy over management of their private financial institution accounts and doled out allowances as diminutive as $15 per week for a married couple. He even restricted their diets, former church members stated, encouraging them to shed some pounds in order to seem godly.

In return, he promised them prosperity on earth and salvation in heaven. “I believed that once I left, I used to be going to hell,” a church member who left in 2004 stated. “That is how a lot they make you imagine that that is the one manner.”

“These allegations are false and defamatory,” a consultant for 7M and Shinn instructed Insider. “At no level has Dr. Shinn remoted anybody, restricted anybody’s eating regimen, required anybody to run, or had management of anybody’s checking account.” The consultant added that “Dr. Shinn doesn’t imagine, help or encourage the prosperity doctrine” and denied that Shinn claimed to have a direct line to God.

Watching the 7M media frenzy unfold, former Shekinah members ponder whether they’re witnessing the end result of Shinn’s yearslong plan.

“Possibly at first he had healthful intentions,” a former church member stated, “however when he noticed how simple it was to control and management, evil overtook him. He grew into this monster.”

Since Shinn started preaching, his rule has been strict and absolute, in accordance with former Shekinah members who spoke with Insider. They stated he instructed members of his church to chop household ties to dedicate themselves extra totally to serving God. A number of recalled being denied permission to attend household birthdays and occasions. Some even adopted new names — a gesture that represented their willingness to forsake their former selves. One congregant with no relation to the pastor’s household modified his final identify to Shinn. Daniel Pappagalo, one among Shekinah’s earliest members, legally modified his identify to Daniel Joseph in 2017, itemizing as his cause: “my new identification.” The subsequent 12 months his father was hospitalized following a coronary heart assault; Joseph refused to go to.

(The consultant for 7M and Shinn instructed Insider: “Nobody affiliated with Shekinah Church has ever needed to ask permission to do something or been assigned new names. Neither Dr. Shinn nor any of his affiliated companies are concerned within the private selections or household dynamics of anybody.”)

The pastor exerted management in different methods. Dedicated congregants have been inspired to maneuver into gender-specific group properties within the Los Angeles suburbs with names just like the Mighty Women home or the Eagle’s Nest and instructed to resign most of their possessions, typically “sowing” them to senior members of the church, individuals stated. Every home had a “captain” who equipped requirements and monitored residents’ actions. Along with providing 20% of their salaries to the church, members have been instructed to present no less than 10% of their incomes on to the Man of God, as Shinn was recognized. And a few former congregants say Shinn’s sister and second-in-command, Catherine Yi, had management over their financial institution accounts and wrote checks with out their permission.

One former member recalled giving a “first fruit” providing to the pastor when she received a brand new job. “You’ll give your ENTIRE paycheck (cashed) to Bob in order that your job/profession can be blessed/fruitful,” she wrote in a textual content message. (The consultant for 7M and Shinn instructed Insider that “giving tithes and choices” is “a routine observe for church buildings everywhere in the world, because the starting of time.”)

A lady who left the church in 2008 says what’s occurring to 7M dancers is “historical past repeating itself.”

Take Miranda Derrick. One of many first occasions the Wilking household started to suspect one thing was really unsuitable was final 12 months when Derrick instructed them she would not attend her grandfather’s funeral.

The mom of one other 7M dancer and Shekinah church member instructed Insider she started to note a drop-off in communication along with her son in 2019. All she knew at that time, she stated, was that he had joined a church whose membership was “by invitation solely.” When he did ship textual content messages, she noticed a change in his speech sample that led her to imagine he wasn’t the one writing them. Then he knowledgeable her that he now not recognized together with his given identify. (“7M doesn’t talk with its purchasers’ households on their behalf,” the consultant stated.)

“We have been a really close-knit household,” the dancer’s mom stated. “I imply, we weren’t excellent, however we supported our son’s dream. We by no means, ever thought that the church would change his trajectory fully.”

Public information present that most of the dancers live within the Los Angeles suburbs with Shekinah congregants.



In 2021, a small group of dancers’ dad and mom started speaking about similarities of their kids’s altering habits. They banded collectively to file complaints with California’s legal professional normal and the IRS, accusing 7M of draining their kids’s financial institution accounts with out their kids’s data. “Now we have data of two dancers who’ve handed over saving accounts. One in all which had $10,000 and the opposite had $80,000,” the criticism filed with the legal professional normal says. These complaints are pending. The consultant stated that 7M dancers had “by no means handed over their financial savings or surrendered their financial institution accounts to 7M or the church” and that the church and 7M had no data of such complaints.

The mom who seen a drop-off in communication along with her son stated that final spring he known as to ask for the password to a Roth IRA his dad and mom had arrange for him when he was a youngster. The subsequent time they checked the account, it had been cleaned out. “I imagine that they’ve full and full entry to all his funds,” she instructed Insider.

Earlier this spring, in a uncommon telephone name, her son instructed her the dancers’ computer systems, telephones, and houses can be more and more monitored for safety considerations.

“It felt like a warning,” she instructed Insider.

At first look, Shinn is an unassuming father determine, with a nasal voice and a modest manner of dressing. However those that knew him say his look belies a rare charisma.

When he is preaching, “it is like he believes it a lot that it makes you imagine it too,” stated Daniel Joseph’s sister Leah Pappagalo, one among Shekinah’s earliest members who has since left the church.

The small print of Shinn’s formative years are murky. He grew up in Canada, the place he was the valedictorian of his high-school class, and he obtained his medical diploma from the College of Toronto. He is stated he labored as a physician for seven years.

Pastor and 7M CEO Robert Shinn walks in a Southern California parking lot.

Former congregants say Shinn possesses a robust charisma, particularly when he preaches.

Jeff Rayner/Coleman-Rayner

His private tales typically had a larger-than-life high quality. One former congregant recalled Shinn telling them how the nurses and employees members at his previous hospital handled him “like royalty,” encouraging them to do the identical. Lydia Lee, a former congregant, stated Shinn bragged he was so good at martial arts that “individuals known as him Bruce Lee,” an anecdote the consultant for Shinn and 7M known as “false.” (In 2009, Lydia Lee, née Chung, sued Shinn, Yi, and Shekinah, alleging that they “exerted undue affect, thoughts management, coercive persuasion, oppression and different intimidating techniques” to defraud her out of greater than $4 million. Her go well with was dismissed in 2011 after a bench trial discovered no proof of “undue affect,” although the decide stated that the church “had practices that bordered on coercion” and that he disapproved “of what defendants did to Ms. Chung.”)

Shinn wrote on Shekinah’s authentic web site that in 1992, God known as on him to enter ministry full time, prompting him to maneuver to Southern California.

For his new life as a pastor, Shinn adopted the identify Israel, although he nonetheless typically glided by Robert. Sooner or later, his congregants would name him Doc, Prophet, and the Man of God. (He additionally added the second “n” to “Shinn” as a part of his naturalization course of in 2005.)

He based the Shekinah Church in 1994, holding providers for a few dozen congregants in an workplace in Santa Fe Springs. By 2000 he’d relocated to a white spiral constructing in Norwalk, California, that Shekinah rented half time.

Former church members instructed Insider that Shinn used his medical experience to justify an uncommon degree of bodily intimacy, providing to remedy abdomen aches or uneven posture with a contact. (The consultant stated Shinn had “by no means made these claims, nor does he imagine to have such capabilities.”)

One congregant remembers him popping worshippers’ pimples; others stated he would come up behind them to rub their shoulders and would greet sure younger ladies with a kiss on the lips. “He type of grooms them to be like, ‘I’m a dad, so this isn’t inappropriate,'” defined one lady who stated the pastor typically kissed her. (The consultant stated Shinn “has by no means inappropriately touched a congregant.”)

Shinn’s congregation was principally individuals of their early 20s — one thing former worshippers argue was strategic. “He wished younger, moldable minds,” a member who left in 2004 stated.

In lots of instances, new members stated they have been drawn in at a weak second — following the dying of a liked one or a household dispute, or whereas their immigration standing was unsure. “They stated, ‘We are able to defend you,'” stated a member who joined shortly after arriving within the US illegally. The consultant for Shekinah stated the church “has by no means claimed a capability to ‘defend’ anybody’s immigration standing.”

“I grew up in a house with out lots of love,” one other member who joined as a school pupil stated, “so I sought love elsewhere.

“You understand how individuals be a part of gangs? I joined a cult.”

Although Shekinah’s web site proclaimed it was “born with the calling of saving one billion souls,” former congregants say Shinn stored membership small to keep up management.

Each weekday, parishioners woke at about 5 a.m. to carpool to morning prayer. They typically began with well-liked songs just like the Seventies hit “We Are Household” rewritten with lyrics about their devotion to Shekinah. Then they’d launch into an hourlong ritual wherein they spoke in tongues and shouted phrases like “Cash, cometh to me now!” whereas working in place. Shinn sat within the pews behind them, watching them sweat.

Shinn was exacting about his congregants’ look. The concept, one former congregant stated, was “to be God’s picture.” In accordance with the pastor, being skinny and subsequently engaging to potential worshippers was simply one other solution to promote the gospel. Some former members recalled being chastised for consuming an excessive amount of in entrance of him. “Once I take a look at footage again then, I am so skinny,” one lady stated.

Lee’s lawsuit and several other different former members who spoke with Insider stated Shinn and Yi developed a “reporting system” in 2003. Each week, members emailed Shinn to replace him on which Bible verses that they had learn. These emails, a few of which have been reviewed by Insider, additionally included confessions of unhealthy habits, in addition to reviews detailing any infractions by their fellow congregants. Former Shekinah members recalled being reported by each other for utilizing an excessive amount of rest room paper, taking the final slice of pizza, or questioning church leaders. They even reported on their spouses. “It was like there have been three individuals in my marriage,” one member stated. “It was me, my husband, after which there was the pastor.” Shinn’s consultant denied his involvement in any such reporting system.

Through the years, the surveillance grew extra subtle, in accordance with each Lee’s criticism and sources who spoke with Insider. In about 2005 or 2006, Lee’s criticism stated, Shinn and Yi put in an “web monitoring system.” (The consultant for 7M and Shinn stated there “just isn’t and has by no means been an ‘web monitoring system.'”) One congregant recalled being requested to present her passwords to the church’s IT particular person.

“Somebody is all the time watching you,” one other ex-parishioner stated. “In the event you stated something that opposed them, it might get again to them one way or the other.”

A Google Earth image of the white, spiral Shekinah Church in Norwalk, CA

Former congregants say the carpets of the church constructing Shekinah rented within the early 2000s have been lined in sweat stains from their morning working ritual.

Google Earth

One former congregant who believed that Shinn disliked him as a result of he did not “submit” stated he was subjected to a six-month “restriction interval” throughout which he was not allowed to talk in church settings and different congregants ignored him. “It was nearly like I had leprosy,” he recalled.

Yi, who was often known as the Lady of God, was notably feared by some for her mood. She usually visited group properties to test their cleanliness, one former congregant stated. Two members stated they have been fined $20 for leaving jackets behind within the church’s sanctuary.

When reached for remark, a member of the family of Yi’s responded and instructed Insider that Yi wasn’t accountable for what occurred at Shekinah. “She was below his management and instructed and instructed by him on what to do and the best way to lead individuals,” the particular person stated, referring to Shinn. “She was additionally a sufferer of him and remains to be very damage and traumatized by all of this.”

Shinn idolized celeb televangelists like Kenneth Copeland, considered the wealthiest pastor in America, value an estimated $760 million. Shinn even preached on his personal public-access TV present known as “Millionaires Membership” (later retitled “Billionaires Membership”), a former Shekinah member who labored on the present stated. 4 individuals stated Shinn gave a lot cash to Copeland, who has a fleet of personal jets, that Shekinah was allotted a particular block of seating on the entrance of Copeland’s annual Believers’ Conference.

A key a part of Shinn’s path to riches was free labor. Shekinah congregants carried out duties equivalent to babysitting and home cleansing for Shinn and Yi with out compensation. At one level, a bunch of Shekinah members even landscaped each of their properties with out pay. One congregant who wasn’t a US citizen instructed Insider he was paid $100 a month to work full time for Shinn and Yi’s companies, as soon as for 30 hours straight.

By the mid-aughts, Shinn and Yi had 4 real-estate and mortgage corporations and two flower outlets staffed largely by Shekinah members. “We did not receives a commission or something,” a congregant who labored within the flower outlets stated. “We labored endlessly.”

“If anybody has carried out any work with out monetary compensation, then they might have volunteered or provided to take action as most human beings volunteer or assist others sooner or later of their lives,” the consultant stated.

In Lee’s lawsuit, she accused Shinn of improperly transferring church donations he had solicited from her into his company entities. Monetary information offered within the go well with confirmed a three-day interval wherein Shinn obtained greater than $320,000 in donations from varied workers, on prime of the salaries he was paying himself. (In a court docket submitting, Shekinah denied any improper use of donations.)

Lee stated that at one level Yi instructed her to maneuver along with her two daughters to a close-by condominium constructing to be “obedient to God.” Yi then moved into Lee’s practically $1 million home, which had a grand spiral staircase and sweeping views of the hills round La Habra.

By the late 2000s, Shinn and Yi have been driving Mercedes-Benzes and dressing in designer garments. A number of individuals stated they often rewarded their favorites with designer hand-me-downs or purchasing sprees at Nordstrom and Banana Republic.

“Everybody else is a bunch of employee bees contributing to a really choose few’s prosperity,” one former member stated.

Shinn might need stored his numbers small, however over three many years he constructed a big operation that made him thousands and thousands. In accordance with former congregants, Shinn thought of himself a genius businessman, however by some accounts his success was constructed on exploitation: Break individuals’s spirits, pit them towards each other, and get them to query every little thing they imagine in. He offered the American dream, however he was the one who profited.

“No matter he stated, you probably did,” a former congregant stated. “You have been educated to obey.”

Serving Shinn and serving God had come to really feel like one and the identical, former church members stated. So when the pastor, an avid racquetball participant, started asking sure congregants in 2007 for massages to assuage his sore muscle groups, it was an obligation they have been pleased to satisfy.

A congregant who stated he was chosen to present these massages for his power stated they have been “nothing bizarre” and functioned principally as one other alternative to report on his friends. Nonetheless, he stated that on the finish of their periods, which occurred within the again room of one among Shinn’s flower outlets, Shinn would typically ask him to ship in one of many younger feminine congregants for “non-public time with the Man of God.” (Shinn’s consultant denied this allegation and denied that Shinn had requested to be massaged.)

Robert Shinn walks with his congregants and business associates Shirley Kim, Christina Keller, and Hannah Shinn.

Shinn together with his congregants and enterprise associates Shirley Kim, Christina Keller, and Hannah Shinn.

Jeff Rayner/Coleman-Rayner

One other congregant recounted someday being known as with one other lady to Shinn’s residence for a therapeutic massage session. He instructed them to placed on blindfolds and are available into the lounge, the place he was mendacity on his again on the ground. The girl stated he inspired her to take off her bra, which she declined to do. When she began to the touch the pastor, she realized he was nude.

At one level, she stated, Shinn reached out and put his hand on her chest. She stated she hoped he would discover her coronary heart racing and finish the session.

As an alternative, she stated, he directed her to therapeutic massage his “heart,” telling her to maneuver greater and better till she was close to his “non-public space.” She recalled, “I used to be so brainwashed, and I am simply pondering, ‘How would that be sore?'” She stated she “tiptoed” round his groin, making an attempt to get as shut as doable with out truly touching his genitals.

Afterward, she stated, Shinn ordered her not to talk about the expertise with anybody else — not even the lady who’d been within the room along with her.

Lydia Lee stated she had an analogous expertise when she was requested to present Shinn a therapeutic massage in July 2008. “Robert instructed me, ‘Goal my testicles,'” she stated. “That second I knew one thing was actually, actually unsuitable. It was the second I awoke from this brainwashing.”

The consultant instructed Insider: “Two congregants provided to therapeutic massage Dr. Shinn, not at his request, as a result of he was in ache. There was no nudity or inappropriate touching.” Of Ms. Lee’s account, the consultant stated that “Lee unsuccessfully sued Dr. Shinn and sure harbors animosity. Dr. Shinn by no means requested to be, and by no means was, massaged by Ms. Lee.”

One Saturday in October 2008, the lady who’d given the blindfolded therapeutic massage was urgently summoned to Yi’s residence. About 20 different church members had gathered there, and the temper was tense. Yi and her allies had been calling the group’s younger ladies right into a small room one after the other. Some had emerged in tears. When it was the lady’s flip, two ladies sat her down and requested her the identical query they’d requested the others: Have you ever ever been inappropriately touched by the pastor?

A number of former congregants who spoke with Insider stated no less than 5 ladies shared tales that day of inappropriate sexual advances by Shinn. As they spoke brazenly for the primary time, these former congregants stated, the ladies appeared to expertise a disaster of religion. “We began sharing tales, and our eyes began to open up,” the lady who’d given the blindfolded therapeutic massage stated.

The subsequent day at church, Yi barged in along with her followers and demanded that her brother come down from the pulpit. Those that have been there that day described a chaotic scene as Shinn’s defenders encircled him, heading off Yi’s followers, who have been begging them to get up.

After the incident, which Shinn known as a “rise up” and a “hostile takeover,” about half of his 70 followers left the church, in accordance with a 2011 deposition in Lee’s lawsuit. Shinn, by means of the consultant, denied that he made sexual advances towards his congregants and stated the group of defectors consisted of 20 “disgruntled members.”

Shinn’s defeat did not final lengthy. With Yi gone, two fiercely loyal younger congregants named Hannah Lee and Shirley Kim stepped as much as fill the void. Kim had joined the church as a youngster, and, in 2009, after paying for Kim’s legislation diploma, Shinn married her.

Hannah Lee, who former congregants imagine initially joined Shekinah to attempt to persuade her sister to go away, took on a lot of Yi’s previous tasks managing congregants’ funds and monitoring their day by day lives. After Shinn divorced Kim in 2011, he began courting Lee. Former congregants say they’re now married.

In the meantime, Shinn centered his energies on bringing Jesus to Hollywood, a former congregant stated. A former member of Shekinah’s “media workforce” instructed Insider that Shinn typically spoke about inserting “sleeper brokers in each business” and infiltrating secular areas with robust subliminal Christian messaging. (The consultant known as this declare “absurd.”)

Days after the church cut up in 2008, Shinn based a manufacturing firm, Imaginating Photos. His D-list movies centered on healthful outsiders making an attempt to interrupt into the soulless world of Hollywood, together with 2013’s “He is Means Extra Well-known Than You,” with cameos by Jesse Eisenberg and Natasha Lyonne, and the romantic comedy “Random Encounters” with Meghan Markle. Shinn additionally dabbled in music, founding a file label to assist help the musical profession of his daughter Chloe, who carried out below the identify Kloë Julynn.

A movie poster for the 2013 film Random Encounters, starring Michael Rady, Meghan Markle, and Abby Wathen

Robert Shinn has produced 5 characteristic movies by means of his studio Imaginating Photos, together with 2013’s “Random Encounters,” costarring Meghan Markle.

IP Random Movie, LLC

Ultimately it was Shinn’s fourth and youngest little one, Isaiah, who lastly cracked the business. Working primarily in commercials and dance movies, he developed a kinetic, high-energy taking pictures fashion properly fitted to social media. Over just a few years, Isaiah went from being a teenage manufacturing assistant on his father’s movies to founding his personal firm, HiFreq Movies, in 2018.

By this work, Isaiah linked with two dancers named James Derrick and Kevin Davis Jr. who have been contemporary off a profitable run on NBC’s “World of Dance.” The dancers, who carried out as BDash and Konkrete, received their begin in Krump, a avenue dance motion recognized for its aggressive, unapologetic fashion. Earlier than lengthy, Isaiah was making movies with Ceasare “Tight Eyez” Willis, a cofounder of Krump. (Willis has since modified his stage identify to Tighteyex.)

Over the following 12 months, Isaiah expanded his community, constructing a roster of practically a dozen collaborators who had carried out with Beyoncé and Janet Jackson and appeared on reveals like “So You Assume You Can Dance.” Many have been {couples}. Past their expertise, these dancers appeared to have one factor in frequent: a rising curiosity within the Christian religion.

Isaiah’s timing was key. The pandemic had yanked many dancers’ livelihoods out from below them as stay occasions, excursions, and lessons have been canceled. They’d uncooked expertise, however they wanted capital and connections to maneuver ahead. Isaiah and his father provided a beacon of hope. Not solely did the Shinns present them assets, however in addition they gave them one thing to lean on once they might need been feeling notably misplaced and remoted.

In July 2021, the Shinns made their partnerships with the dancers official, founding the administration firm 7M Movies. To dancers who’d been making movies of their dad and mom’ dwelling rooms, 7M provided costly digital camera tools, lights, hair, make-up, costumes, and entry to a $14 million mansion wherein to movie. (7M briefly tried to hawk the property in video captions till viewers identified that it is unlawful to promote actual property with out a license. The itemizing brokers instructed Insider they partnered with 7M for one or two taking pictures days however don’t have any affiliation with Robert Shinn or his real-estate operations.)

The connections between 7M and the church ran deep. Daniel Joseph, now Shekinah’s affiliate pastor, turned 7M’s important producer. Shinn’s daughter Chloe offered soundtracks and musical coordination, and she or he even launched a single alongside Tighteyex in October. Hannah Shinn, the brand new Lady of God and Shekinah’s chief monetary officer, managed dancers’ schedules and bookings. Robert Shinn and Shirley Kim cosigned 7M’s company filings. The consultant stated “7M and the church are run and operated as separate entities aside from one another.”

7M’s dancers, a lot of whom had been fixtures within the Los Angeles dance group, grew withdrawn and typically even hostile, former dance colleagues instructed Insider.

Onlookers have expressed concern about a number of of the dancers’ bodily modifications, together with what some name “the cult lower” (a blond bob that some 7M ladies have) and vital weight reduction. 7M’s dancers ceaselessly take pictures and file movies in the identical Fullerton fitness center the place Robert Shinn performs racquetball, they usually typically publish about weight-reduction plan and fasting.

The dancers’ more and more spiritual content material, whether or not captions citing Bible verses or interpretive dances set to worship songs, additionally raised eyebrows. After which there have been the pioneers of Krump, instantly dancing to oldies and pop, utilizing disco- and swing-inspired steps. “To see them dancing to the Spice Women sporting dumb outfits, everyone is like, ‘Yo, dude, what the fuck are you guys doing?'” stated Joey Turman, who got here up with BDash, Konkrete, and Tighteyex in a Krump dance crew known as Avenue Kingdom.

Tighteyex performs with the Krump Kings in 2005

Tighteyex, previously often known as Tight Eyez, first got here to fame as part of the road dance motion often known as Krump.

Ethan Miller/Getty Photographs

A Los Angeles dancer recalled assembly Robert Shinn as soon as whereas working with BDash and Isaiah at Shinn’s North Hollywood residence. She stated he lectured them at size about God, cash, and the necessity to maintain churning out content material.

After that encounter, the dancer stated, BDash began to echo Shinn’s spiritual messaging in conversations and ultimately lower off all contact along with her. She stated different longtime buddies of hers had joined 7M, including, “What is going on is de facto unhappy.”

In early 2019, BDash began courting Miranda Wilking, one-half of the TikTok dance duo The Wilking Sisters. Associates of the Wilkings keep in mind BDash as quiet and non secular and stated they did not see any crimson flags at the beginning. The couple even spent a part of the pandemic dwelling with Miranda’s household in Michigan, making lighthearted dance movies along with her dad and mom.

When the sisters returned to Los Angeles, nevertheless, Shekinah started recruiting them, Melanie Wilking stated within the video wherein she accused 7M of being a cult. After Melanie Wilking missed a service to choose her boyfriend up from the airport, she stopped attending church and misplaced contact along with her sister.

In August 2021, BDash posted an image on Instagram that instructed he and Miranda Wilking had gotten married. Their household and buddies stated they weren’t invited to the marriage.



By a consultant for 7M, Miranda Derrick wrote to Insider, “My household reacted to my independence and my private {and professional} decisions by publicly attacking me, my husband, my religion and my administration. 7M represents me as their consumer and treats me as some other expertise supervisor treats their purchasers. I’m an grownup and pay my very own payments and taxes and I management my very own funds. I really feel blessed to have friendships with different 7M purchasers who share my religion and love of dance and am grateful for the alternatives to collaborate with different dancers and pursue my profession.”

James Derrick added by means of that very same consultant, “Each expertise administration firm within the business manages their purchasers’ schedules, bookings, appearances and logistics and my relationship with my administration is not any completely different. The accusations which were made about my administration, in addition to myself and my spouse, are false and ridiculous and we have now refuted them many occasions.”

The Wilkings say they will not relaxation till they’ve reconciled with their daughter. However 7M has gone on the defensive, portray them as a bitter household upset about their white daughter’s relationship with a Black man. On April 5, 7M filed a lawsuit towards Katherine Manske Paulson, a YouTuber who has lined the group extensively on her social-media channels. Shinn’s attorneys declare that Paulson defamed him and 7M by broadcasting allegations of sexual and psychological abuse, human trafficking, and fraud. Paulson has since filed a movement to dismiss the case.

Some manufacturers have pulled out of partnerships with 7M dancers, however the performers have continued to rake in followers and affiliate-marketing money. Internally, the criticism seems to have solely pulled their ranks tighter. 7M has spun “cult” accusations into extra content material, filming defiantly cheerful movies and skits accusing critics of being conspiracy theorists. Some households are supportive of their kids’s affiliation. The mom of the 7M dancer Kendra Oyesanya, Tighteyex’s spouse, instructed Insider: “My daughter is sensible and is aware of proper from unsuitable and is ready to make her personal selections. She is aware of what she’s doing and is with the particular person she loves. She’s trying higher, dancing higher, and I am pleased with her modifications. I don’t worry for her security nor do I imagine that she is in a cult.”

BDash and Konkete perform on the World of Dance Tour

BDash and Konkrete, who competed collectively on World of Dance in 2018, have credited 7M with serving to them financially.

Darren Eagles/Getty Photographs

As for Robert Shinn’s community, it is extra sprawling than ever. He and his associates have integrated greater than a dozen companies, in accordance with information reviewed by Insider, together with a plant-based-protein retailer, film-production corporations, and a ladies’s-garment producer. The church additionally seems to be laying the foundations for an expansive future. In July 2020 the group sought approval to construct an “outreach and internet-based Christian ministry” that may be “centered round reaching the leisure business” at a $4.4 million, 2.1-acre web site in Sunland-Tujunga. Whereas the church remains to be awaiting allow approval from the Los Angeles County Division of Regional Planning, the group has already established a manufacturing wing there known as Studio on the Mount and shoots a lot of 7M’s dance movies on the development web site.

One member who left in 2004 stated she understood that sharing the story of her time with Shekinah “type of makes you look loopy — like, why would not you allow one thing like that?” At the moment, she stated, “I pray on daily basis all of this involves mild.”

Former members are fast to level out that since leaving Shekinah they’ve discovered their manner again to what they think about to be a more healthy relationship with Christianity, which they are saying has nothing to do with Shinn’s teachings. They hope that talking out towards Shinn will assist households of 7M dancers reunite with their family members.

“It pisses me off that it is nonetheless happening and that he is taking the most effective years, essential years, of those younger individuals’s lives,” one former member stated.

It is “nearly like if you see mildew rising,” Lydia Lee added. “You do not actually acknowledge it at first, however instantly it is slowly popping out from behind the wall.”

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