Op-Ed: Hip-Hop Culture, Not Racism, Is the Real Threat

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the No. 1 cause of death for African-American males ages 1 to 44 is homicide.

No other racial or ethnic group of males in the U.S. has murder as the leading cause of death for these age groups. Moreover, this statistic does not include the murder of the unborn, which the black community also leads.

Over the years, as I have processed this information, I have reflected on my own experience as a black man growing up in a predominately black community and the most significant influence in my life before I came to know Jesus Christ: hip-hop culture.

Recently, star NBA player Ja Morant recorded himself on Instagram brandishing a handgun at a nightclub and in a car. On both occasions, Morant and his cohorts were clearly listening to hip-hop music.

NBA player Patrick Beverly stated the following regarding Morant’s behavior:

“I think music has a lot to do with this now, especially with this culture. Everybody holding a gun in the video is OK. … The culture now is, ‘Shoot ’em up, bang bang, bang bang, shoot ’em up.’ … That’s what the younger generation is, sadly to say. It shouldn’t be based on our music, but it is mostly based on what we listen to.”

He is correct. Founding Father Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and a supporter of the Constitution, once said, “We are able to discover the virtues and vices of different nations by their [music] as certainly by their laws. The effects of music upon the passions are powerful and extensive.”

Hip-hop music illustrates this well. Its lyrics, melodies, beats, etc., can conjure incredibly dark and evil energy.

Let me be very clear: Hip-hop culture does not discriminate. It affects racial and ethnic groups across the board. However, proportionately, it affects African-Americans the most. The majority of the artists and producers are black.

Why is hip-hop culture evil?

For starters, you have a drug subculture that popularizes becoming a junkie or drug dealer, resulting in many of our youth becoming addicts at an early age or imprisoned.

There is a sex subculture that normalizes promiscuity and the exploitation of women. And, of course, the fruits of promiscuous lifestyles are unwanted pregnancies, abortions and parents who are not equipped to be parents.

Then you have a violence subculture that lands many young black men in prison or leaves them dead. Hence, although the African-American population is only 12 percent of the American population, it makes up nearly 40 percent of the prison population.

These subcultures that flow from the umbrella of hip-hop culture are just added fuel to the fire. What do I mean? Every human has a sinful nature and falls short of the glory of God (Genesis 3, Romans 3:23). In short, we all (even apart from the influence of hip-hop culture) naturally want to rebel against the law of God.

However, when you have a culture that popularizes and promotes sinful behaviors to already cursed people, it makes an already bad situation worse. Moreover, because the content that pervades hip-hop culture is profoundly lawless, in my view, it is dominated and inspired by demons (1 Timothy 4:1, 1 John 3:8).

Ironically, with the above staring the black community in the face, many race activists, politicians, pundits, educators and even church leaders will emphasize that the central problem afflicting the black community is racism while ignoring the obvious. This is a smokescreen, distraction and delusion.

While there will always be racial prejudice on some level within individual people because of their sinful nature, it is not the core issue affecting the black community. Personally, I am more concerned about our youth becoming ensnared by the influence of hip-hop culture than a white supremacist group burning crosses in black communities.

So what is the answer? There are no quick solutions as hip-hop culture is deeply ingrained in society. However, I have several suggestions.

1. For those in the black community, you have a choice to make. Either continue to entertain this evil and allow society to degenerate, or stand against it. We must recognize hip-hop culture for what it is — evil. Ask Jesus Christ to deliver you from its influence and renew your mind.

2. Parents, you need to sit down and talk with your children about how this culture is unacceptable and goes against your values.

3. Church leaders (especially black church leaders) must teach about the subcultures within hip-hop culture and show from the Word of God how these behaviors are destructive to the individual and the community. 4. For those who are not religious but agree that promoting murder, drug use and promiscuity is wrong, especially for youth, do not consume or promote this content. Anything short of this would be hypocrisy. 5. Bankrupt the industry. Do not buy or consume the music. 6. Be proactive. Promote sound moral values, work ethic, and the importance of love and truth within the family and the community.  7. Lastly, pray diligently against the demonic forces that promote these behaviors and ask God to establish Christ-centered righteousness within our homes and communities.

Change will take time. But it’s better late than never.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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