What Happens When Urban Society Says, “Yes” and Churches Say, “No:” Embracing Christian Hip-Hop

\"JesusArticle by Guest Blogger, Yvonne Hatchett (AKA Shanky) |

This September Atlanta, Georgia, had the pleasure of finding out what happens when Hip Hop let\’s Christians in. The city of Atlanta hosted the 2014 BET Hip Hop Awards.

What made this award show different from the others? Not only was there a Christian rap artist nominated for an award but Christianity was also represented within the cyphers (freestyle rapping done in a group setting) giving mainstream Hip Hop culture a backstage pass into this religion. Yet, this was not the first time Hip Hop has embraced Christian (Christian Hip Hop (CHH). Earlier this year various CHH artists appeared on the MTV Rapfest, BET\’s 106 & Park and and other venues. For example, Click Here (explicit lyrics). Note that CHH artist, Andy Mineo, joins several mainstream freestylers and shares a powerful Christian message amidst several other messages that the other rappers gave. Some Christians see the mingling of Hip Hop with Christian Rap as sacrilegious. But, could it be an exemplary expression of being \”light in darkness?\”

To the average Hip Hop fan it was also shocking to watch as Hip Hop shows an openness to the once marginalized expression of Christian Hip Hop.

Think about it. Centering the self is commonplace in Hip Hop. Additionally, it is full of profanity, promiscuity, and carries a \”me against the world\” attitude. Culturally speaking, there seemed to be no place for CHH artist in HH. Yet, with the breakout success of CHH leading artist, Lecrae Moore, Hip Hop is not paying attention to CHH. Lecrae\’s success is opening room for many more talented CHH artists, such as Andy Mineo, to emerge to the forefront of mainstream Hip Hop. Some of Hip Hop\’s most respected emcees such as Bun B are seen on YouTube, Twitter and other forms of social media, giving street cred to CHH ( see video by Bun B).

But what about the church?

As a whole the church remains hesitant to embrace the reality of Hip Hop as dominating culture among today\’s youth. Many congregations continue to view Hip Hop as dark and evil. Many have taking the stance of not accepting it into their doors and especially not in their youth groups. The argument for why it\’s not allowed has always centered around the fact that the lyrics are no good, but what about now? These CHH artists are speaking about the same Jesus as the Christian church and living the lifestyles preached about from the pulpits. They are reading the same scriptures as the \”saints\” yet still not welcomed at home. Christian ministries such as Ex Ministries have painted them as evil and compromising for stepping into the \”secular\” arena. Some churches hold youth weeks and conferences focusing on showing why Christian artists are really not \”Christians\” because they chose to be in Hip Hop. All too often, Christian Hip Hop artists and young Christians who enjoy their music are treated as outcasts.

Shouldn\’t Christians show love? Conversely, the Christian expression of Hip Hop seems more welcomed in unChristianed society. What a seemingly contradiction!

What ever happened to going into the world and making disciples?

Isn\’t evangelism the heartbeat of the Church that Christ intended? This would include, taking the gospel to arenas that would never hear it in common ways that the previous Church experience commonly embrace.

What happen to loving our brothers and sisters? If Hip Hop is demonic, then Christian Hip Hoppers are taking the gospel into dangerous territory. Shouldn\’t the Church be there for the Christian Hip Hoppers to help them instead of hurting them with your slanderous words?

Why is the mainstream \”secular\” society more willing to embrace what they don’t understand?

I think that it\’s time for the Church to seize the opportunity to invade darkness rather than judging those who are doing it!

Dr. Antipas L. Harris
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