Friday, June 1, 2012
INTERVIEW: Houston Christian rapper Gifted da Flamethrowa discusses how he impacted public schools with his message over the last year
One such snapshot is the way that Christian rapper Gifted da Flamethrowa has used his personal story of triumph over adversity (including a violent period of his youth filled with near-death experiences and evacuating his New Orleans home for Houston due to Hurricane Katrina) to inspire young people at schools across the nation.
This year, after signing to the Adams Entertainment Agency (founded by former Harlem Globetrotter Melvin Adams), Gifted performed at over 120 schools and events for over 17,000 people.
“At times we can get too comfortable in the four walls of the church,” Gifted said. “The Great Commission [from Scripture] was to go out - not to stay in. How can we be a light amongst darkness, when we are too busy being a light amongst lights?
“Doing shows in schools and prisons is a calling I gratefully accept. It allows me the opportunity to reach people in a non-traditional setting.”
See Gifted in action in the short clip below:
After viewing this video online I noted that Gifted was rapping to a beat from his previous gospel rap album but with a different set of lyrics. Given the recent revival of the “Christian rapper” vs. “Rapper who is a Christian” label debate I figured I’d e-mail him about whether this choice was hiding his faith or selling out just to gain a bigger audience and stage.
You have a great ear. I loved the track that Sypreme produced for me so I just rewrote a new song on top of that beat. It’s a crowd mover.
Due to the separation of Church and State, I can't go into a school speaking about religious beliefs. And to be transparent, I never set out to be your average ‘church’ rapper.
I am not compromising the mission; I am embarking on a new mission. I am stepping into a field that is uncharted and ripe for seed sowing. I am not hiding my faith because my faith is better expressed by the life I live.
I provide the students with Godly principles. I express to them my testimony and leave the students inspired to chase their goals and treat themselves and others with love and respect. Since I have been touring the schools I have encountered a plethora of issues.
One school I worked in Midland, Texas last year had over 50 suicide attempts and about 12 or 13 successful suicides. Our kids are hurting and they may not come to your youth group, but they will be at school and so will I, provoking them to DARE to make a difference in their lives and the lives of others.
What are your thoughts? Is this an effective form of ministry or is removing direct references to faith a way of being "ashamed" of the Gospel of Jesus Christ?