Above are two AA rappers from the West Coast: Manifest and Lyricks, in an impromptu piece entitled, “The Gift”.
One of the things that amazes me about Asian American culture (and even Asian culture for that matter) is the attraction to hip-hop culture. While of course, there are AAs of many stripes and colors, I have noticed a certain fascination with hip-hop culture– the dress, the music, the attitude, and other facets. Of course, I understand that this is not only an Asian-American phenomenon, but rather a cultural phenomenon that impacts Black and Latino youth as well, but I believe it to be a necessary bridge in being able to assemble a multi-cultural church.
There must be solidarity in culture first, and we are really beginning to see that in youth where spoken word, poetry, rap, dance, and art, even street art becomes a true medium for the Gospel to work through. I know that it is hard for the church to LEAD in this arena, but I wonder, can innovation indeed take place? Often, Asians have been known to imitate first and then begin to innovate, so I suppose what happens if/when we can actually begin to take hip-hop to the next level? Can the church be a part of that? Can the gospel that is being encouraged to take root in our youth inform that hip-hop culture?
Will Hillsong and Passion always be accepted and promoted as default worship music in AA churches? When do we as AA Christians begin to innovate the arts? We have the talent. I honestly believe with all the AA talent shows, with our parents pushing us to learn instruments and all that, we have the capabilities. Do we as people who believe in the truth, who have the talent to express the truth, do we have the forum to express our gifts? Or for the pastors and leaders out there, are we raising up artists, mouthpieces of God, to speak the truth? Can our churches do a better job of engaging the hip-hop culture?
When will the gifts begin to bring glory to body of Christ in this culture? When will Christ speak through your art? When will people who are not Christian, begin to see Christ in your art? Not a re-wrapped in Christian vocabulary, but inspiring art…original, innovative, bold, and yet…truthful.
Keep writing, spittin’, breakin’, flowin’, and all of that for the Truth. Soli Deo Gloria…