It all started with a tweet last Sunday, then there was this article yesterday. Nicki Minaj is officially a fan of gospel music. She’s the reigning queen of hip-hop despite any report otherwise and fearlessly has an affinity gospel music! It may seem simple enough to simply shout out the artists but the tweet is mightier than the pen. This is huge, in a word…impact! Minaj has teetered ever closely to the line between artistry and sacrilege but in more serious settings seems to have never neglected her faith filled upbringing. She is an artist most parents love to hate, but also the artist who can easily reach impressionable youth. Such an enigmatic dichotomy, that singular tweet means so much to gospel artists and evangelism worldwide.
Quite naturally, you can expect sales of Tasha Cobbs and Jonathan McReynolds’ respective albums and their visibility in the secular arena to spike following the tweet. BET’s 106 & Park hosted rapper Lecrae and The Walls Group before dimming its light last year. Gospel music has had its share of true crossover acts as well as those with mainstream appeal but the appeal to Minaj is apparently true artistry and worship. Cobbs and McReynolds are two of gospel music’s purest singers; feathers in the genre’s proverbial cap, they boast undeniable giftings. The celebration itself also received a high level endorsement as it’d become embattled and even canceled before it was renewed for another season.
This column took issue with the direction of BET’s Celebration of Gospel chiding the network for its slant to its more urban/unchurched viewership in favor of alienating its ‘traditional church’ base. Minaj’s affinity for gospel music is no mirage. In many interviews, she references God in an atypical way. She speaks as a person who has had a previous experience with God and the Son, Jesus. Many of her interview responses seem cathartic as if she is answering her conscience in place of the posed question. Minaj’s tweet and direct reference of gospel artist was also cryptic.
What does she really mean? Did the show help her last Sunday morning only,or was it a precursor to a change of heart for rap’s Queen? Believers everywhere will be praying and waiting (perhaps not watching) to see. Another prodigal performer, 2015 Super Bowl halftime entertainer Katy Perry began her singing career as a Contemporary Christian Music artist. You can imagine the sheer joy the CCM community would express to see one of the most promising acts of the genre return to the fold.
The take away from this simple tweet? As an artist, be true to you! Be you and do according to your assignment, and let God add the increase.The gospel will speak for itself and does without additive. As the late Pastor Andraé Crouch sang: ”Tell them…”
*Special programming alert* You can catch the 2015 NFL Super Bowl Gospel Celebration tomorrow morning on BET at 10 am EST and at 2 pm EST on Centric TV.