Well, my friends, we're almost there. This is officially my second to last blog on SOHH.com. At this point, I encourage even the silent readers who never responded to my blogs before to chime in.
Last Saturday night, I was watching "Showtime at the Apollo" and during the amateur talent show segment, I noticed that some of the artists understood that if they came out and sang a gospel song, their chances of being booed were clearly reduced, whether they could sing or not. I began to wonder, do we hide behind God's name in order to shield ourselves from public criticism? Think about it. Why does it seem as though artists like Michelle Williams and Tweet were totally satisfied singing about being "Bootylicious" and touching themselves ("Oops"), respectively, yet with the stroke of a pen, they flip-flop and praise the Lord in the name of gospel music and potential unit sales? I'm not suggesting that these particular young ladies didn't experience some life-altering rebirth or change; however, it did seem a bit bizarre to see Michelle Williams return to Destiny's Child to sing secular music after her change already occurred. And, I had the opportunity to be on a music panel with Tweet where every other word out of her mouth was "Praise Jesus."
You and I know that the power of gospel music consumers is solid and far-reaching, but it goes further than that. Even rappers are jumping in on the "use God as a shield" act. Or is it really an act? It doesn't seem as though rappers are concerned with appealing to that religious audience yet one of DMX's last singles was "Lord Give Me A Sign." Yes, this thing reaches further than any specific denomination, when even Lupe Fiasco proudly proclaims his Muslim faith as part of the reason for his unique outlook on music and culture. Don't get it twisted, in no way am I dissing any artist who announces their faith in their music and lifestyle. For even I use my co-authoring of "Jesus Walks" as part of the advertisement for Rhymefest as an artist. And like Lupe, I have publicly embraced my Islamic faith. Although, I personally have a difficult time calling myself a Muslim (one who submits his will to God) because I'm still striving to totally submit myself to God. So let's make this clear, sum it up and ask the questions:
1) Clarity: We're not talking about partial submission to God or using God's name as a marketing tool. We're talking about totally submitting our lives to the idea of a power greater than record sales, saving face in lieu of criticism or even our own physical lives.
2) Sum It Up: It seems as though every artist finds their spiritual enlightenment until shit gets poppin' again, from Pastor Ma$e to Gorilla Unit, from R. Kelly's "Feelin' On Yo Booty" to "U Saved Me" back to "Hit It Til The Mornin (ft. Do Or Die & Twista)" and many more to come.
a) Is this honestly just a natural part of human spiritual progression, exposed to the public eye?
b) How do you think God feels about us using him as a shield for our personal inadequacies?
c) Is it okay to invoke God's name, even if only once, if that message truly helps someone? Even if it's just once?
Talk to me...