The Confrontation of Truth and Knowledge
THE WORLD SATAN AND THE BLACK CHURCH
Part 7: Sacred Music Challenged: Spirituals/Gospels vs. Contemporary Rap & Hip Hop
In the name of God, Master of the universe, Ruler of the earth.
We continue to pray that Almighty God will grant us the wisdom and knowledge to know the just from the unjust. Therefore, we are committed in this Christian journey to distinguish good from evil and God from Satan. We bear witness that much of the contemporary Christian music is blasphemy and ungodly.
The contemporary influx of so-called contemporary Gospel and the Rap and Hip Hop music brought into the church is Satan. When we say the world and Satan in the Black church, we note that Rap music is a leading example. Our youth that have the potential to know God are now being exploited by greedy music moguls and low-down money-grubbing Preachers and church leaders.
In our previous article we discussed the impact of the sacred folk-songs called Spirituals. Our historical framework for our discussion thus began with Spirituals. A discussion of Gospels is our next topic before we attempt to qualify the negative impact of Rap and Hip Hop.
However, but, before we move our discussion to Gospels we will make an additional note on Spirituals to keep us in focus. Also we note that this brings up for review a different viewpoint than the view earlier noted by E. Franklin Frazier in his work on the Black church. Joseph Washington, one of our contemporary writers in Black Theology published, “Black Religion, The Negro and Christianity In The U.S.,” in 1964. Professor Washington offers the following comments on Negro Spirituals:
“Spirituals lie outside the Christian faith, precisely because they were expressions of religious fervor, related to situations of struggle which ended in 1890. As expressions of religion, rather than faith, some Negro Spirituals were songs of protest, unacceptable and thinly veiled forms of protest against the conditions of his life.”
Professor Washington also notes that Negro Spirituals involve African rhythms. He also notes the Biblical relationship of Spirituals to the King James’ version of the Bible. In the following statement Professor Washington seems to subscribe to the Black intellectuals noted earlier by E. Franklin Frazier who interpreted Negro Spiritual in a revolutionary sense.
“In addition to the African rhythms as a mode of expression, there are four fundamental elements without which Negro Spirituals are not fully appreciated. These four elements are the cataloging of historical events, the various forms of protest, the individual and personal reflections, and the worshiping expressions.”
As the journey of the Black man and woman continued in America, Black music also developed. Gospel music like Spirituals were a result of the Black experience in America. In all cultures you have creative art forms. It is for sure that the particular conditions of oppression have had a great Influence on the creation of musical geniuses in the Black community.
You cannot adequately discuss Gospel music without noting the impact of Thomas Dorsey. Brother Dorsey was born in 1899 in Villa Rica, Georgia. As the son of a Baptist minister he also was introduced to music and became a child prodigy. C. A. Tindley who wrote hymns was a great influence on Dorsey.
Dorsey combined the musical sounds of his environment and developed Gospel music. Thus, from his upbringing in the church he went from Blues, Jazz to Gospel. We also see the fusion of circus songs, vaudeville tunes, hillbilly ballads and the popular revival hymns. For a while he was involved with the careers of some well-known Blues singers, like Bessie Smith and Ma Rainey. However, he always stayed in touch with his church and his religious roots.
Dorsey came back to the church in 1932 and started writing Gospel songs. When he lost his first wife in childbirth in this year, he was inspired to write one of his greatest songs, “Take My Hand Precious Lord.” Dorsey has inspired and has been the inspiration for countless Gospel song writers and Gospel singers. Although there was a fusion of various musical art forms that went into Gospel, Gospel music has always been a sacred testimony.
For the record we note that many people during the Depression who first witnessed Gospel had negative thoughts. The fusion with Blues, and Spirituals was new. Also the tempo too many people was up-beat. However the FreedomJournal declares that Gospel music further reflected the Black experience. Therefore we would be remiss if we did not record that some contemporary Gospel music has been a further development of the creative juices that often overflow in the Black community.
However, all of the contemporary Gospel is not sacred. Also, we see that onslaught of other purely secular music invading the church. Thus as we continue this series we hope to make some analysis of these music art forms that we view as a negative impact on the Black church. The following framework of analysis has some utility in analyzing this problem. We see several things that one has to include in an evaluation of contemporary Gospel music and more especially Rap and Hip Hop. Lyrics are very important. So is style of dress. Also, the movement of the body. There is also a need to evaluate the musicians.
Cont. Part 8: What Is So-Called Christian Rap and Hip Hop Music?
Carl A. Patton, FreedomJournal