How Hip-Hop Culture Correlates with Church Culture

Over the years Hip-Hop has become one of the most influential sub-cultures to entertain persons of every age, from every cultural background. Hip-Hop has struggled as a musical genre misunderstood among church cultures. Employment with a gospel recording label became a firsthand witness of the negative effects that Hip Hop music has on ministries. This particular gospel recording label adjoined a prosperous ministry, which founded its perception of Hip Hop music on personal opinions and stereotypical judgments alone. As one who has followed Hip-Hop music and grown up with the artists behind the music and their personal-life stories, through television, magazines and other media outlets, an acquired understanding of Hip-Hop music and the lyrical content it produces, seems to correlate with ministries. Hip-Hop culture is relative to ministry because Hip-Hop lyrics are comparable to testimonials spoken by church members, in addition to other adjoining and undeniable factors.

Hip Hop History

The Beginning of the Hip-Hop Movement

An article from Facts on File News Services defines Hip-Hop as “a popular art form, distinguished by spoken, rhyming lyrics that are delivered rhythmically over a musical beat.” This definition is the innocent foundation for which Hip-Hop was laid on when it began in the year 1970. In the beginning, Hip-Hop crowned itself as a positive platform for the urban community to stand on and verbally express themselves and the struggles they endured, over beats and rhymes that made everyone who listened to the music catch the vibe and want to stand-up and dance. Hip-Hop birthed and originated in New York City and became popular through the guise of every other genre of music that was already shaping and defining it as an independent culture. Some of the music that has influenced Hip-Hop is disco, funk, soul, rock and roll and rhythm and blues, and more important reggae music. Reggae music was the biggest influence on Hip-Hop because the Jamaicans, who immigrated to New York, brought the traditional sounds of their cultures music with them and passed it on to the pioneers who re-invented it and named the new sound Hip-Hop. In 1980, shortly after the inception of Hip-Hop as the term for the newest music to hit the scene with its conscious lyrics and rhythmic beats, Hip-Hop had become a household name in urban communities all over the world (Cited in Billet, A., 2010).

The Significance of the Hip-Hop Movement

The pioneers of Hip-Hop performed on streets, in local bars and clubs, on outside stages and in concert arenas all over the country, to uplift urban communities and empower and encourage the youth to become more productive leaders and citizens in society. In a time when societal struggles were prevalent in urban communities Hip-Hop became the catalyst that made it acceptable to speak openly about people living in less than standard conditions while opening the door to a plethora of wealth, success and fortunate opportunities through lyrical sounds and talents. Adults and youth alike enjoyed celebrating life through relational voices of people who seemed to have a refreshing birds-eye view into their homes and shared common interest in their lifestyle and cultural environments.

Hip-Hop as a Sub-Culture

Ironically, urban communities are not the only ones culturally affected and infected by Hip-Hop’s shift in the atmosphere of music. Collectively Hip-Hop has touched every race in the world and “With hip-hop culture more influential than ever before among young folks of all colors, that’s reason to be hopeful” (cited in Billet, 2010, p. 3). Every community around the world can relate to unfortunate conditions associated with producing something from nothing based on the lack thereof. Underclass societal norms range in every culture from Caucasian to Asian to Latino and the children of the struggle are no stranger to seeking a way out, even through the lens of Hip-Hop music. “According to The Source, a leading hip-hop magazine, 70 percent of rap and hip-hop music is purchased by white consumers, and it has recently outsold both rock and country to become the nation’s top-selling format of popular music” (Brown & Fraser, 2001, p. 2). The chart, “Commercial Music Sales in the U.S., 1995-2001” (See Figure 1) shows the Hip-Hop on the rise against other genres of music.

Hip-Hop has managed to embrace every culture in America and abroad with respect to breeding artists from various backgrounds. Hip-Hop is not just about the low living standards of a generalized population; rather Hip-Hop is a standardized population of people reaching for higher levels. “They saw access to the mainstream, not as an attempt to conform the nations of what was acceptable or palatable by the larger society (both Black and White), but as a way of transforming how Black experience might be interpreted by the larger society” (Munn-Joseph, 2010, p. 4).

hiphop

Hip-Hop Affects Every Culture

Hip-Hop has had a global effect on inter-connecting with diverse genres of people around the world yet there remains a cultural gap that could only stand to benefit in building a bridge for Hip-Hop to cross. “It perpetuates negative stereotyping of the black community and is not positive for the broader society either,” says Gerald Durley, a Pastor of Providence Baptist Church in Atlanta (Brown & Fraser, 2007, p. 3). This conventional way of thinking with consistency has been a common boundary between Hip-Hop and ministries of every religious background. Misconceptions with Hip-Hop music and the church lie in the content of the lyrics, the visual expressions of glamour, the exploitation of women, the violent, and sexual imaging. When looking at all these elements on the surface and from a negative angle, Hip-Hop can be obviously disturbing and leave a downbeat impression beyond any unreasonable doubt. The comparative truths behind Hip-Hop music, the words the artists produce and the images the music videos convey, are the factual ways of communication within themselves. It takes an open-minded, non-judgmental person or organization to read between the lines and identify the positive traits that are affiliated with Hip-Hops subliminal, true-life messages. The lyrics of Hip-Hop music are similar to the words a pastor or minister addresses to their congregational members, including the supporting scriptural substance. Hip-Hop music and ministry share the same design in imparting stories of overcoming unfortunate circumstances and surviving insurmountable outcomes to tell it.

Hip-Hop takes its testimonials a step further through the illustrations of grandeur and prosperous lifestyles as a diligent reward for surviving life’s struggles. Both Hip-Hop and ministry indulge in a faith and a belief that has stood the test of time in building a spiritually sound foundation to stand on and naturally overcome less than standard conditions. Hip-Hop is as much a benefit to the community as the church, if not more based on Hip-Hop being a career, which pays well enough for the artists to provide for their families and their affiliated communities. When ministries decide to take the limits off Hip-Hop, open the doors of the church to diversity and solid reasoning, ministries all across the world would profit at the expense of making factual judgments.

Hip Hop Music Sales

Hip-Hop Correlates with Ministries

The day ministries embrace Hip-Hop music as a tool to connect a generation of youth drawn into the light of Hip-Hop as a power, will be the day that there is no more separation between equals. In Oakland, California, Cat Chen, a youth director for New Hop Covenant Church conducted on the spot video interviews with teens at bus stops. Chen drew them into the discussion and opened up the dialogue with the question, “What’s the first thing you think of when you hear the word Hip Hop?” (Cited in Huyser-Honig, 2010, p.1). The teens gave several ideals which, defined their love for Hip-Hop that they defined through common interests such as “originality…struggle…graffiti…art…a lot of stories in one…cool beats” and individual style (Cited in Huyser-Honig, 2010, p. 1). Figure 2 “Music Genres” shows the percentage of school age youth who listened to various recorded music genres in an average day between grades 7th through 12th.

Clearly the youth have a different and innocently valid perception of Hip-Hop music as a positively motivating experience. Today’s youth view Hip-Hop as a force to reckon with inspite, and despite the superficial picture it paints. The best way to understand Hip-Hop is to look behind the scenes and listen to the messages of dreams becoming a manifested reality through spoken word. Hip-Hop brings as much richness to the urban community and its followers as a church choir brings to the congregation and its members. The similarities in Hip-Hops artistically creative boogie moves are as free-spirited as the worship and praise dances performed in ministries. Hip-Hop artist’s style of dress has also been an issue and has more to do with ministries constricting themselves from enjoying the culture with a need to look beyond the surface and revel in the artists’ creative style as the common denominator that lies underneath the clothing. “Hip hop boldly questions realities that the church and “the powers that be often neglect” (Huyser-Honig, 2010, p. 2). Hip-Hop has proven itself to be as powerful as ministries and can be as beneficial to the youth as a parent, role model, or public figure-head.

Conclusively, personal experience teaches that ministries can only afford to benefit from the productivity that Hip-Hop has maintained in capturing the entire world as an audience. When ministries become more aware of how positively influential Hip-Hop music is in expressing the most negative sides of life, the church will gain an authentic connection into Hip-Hops comparable culture, which is as relative to communities as the church. In the future Hip-Hop will become more of a positive influence on every church culture in the same manner that Hip-Hop has managed to affect and infect every other culture in the United States of America and countries worldwide. The mistaken cultural identity of Hip-Hop is nothing less than a positively motivating force for low-income communities all around the world, regardless of the surface images Hip-Hop depicts. Hip-Hop is about the foundational message behind the music and the people who have stepped-up in front of relational struggles. Hip-Hop is a lyrical force deserving of its place in society, to correlate with ministries and connect as a musical platform for empowerment, encouragement to enhance the survival techniques needed to uplift those in life’s every day struggles and challenges, in the same manner as ministries.

Ode to Hip-Hop

Complex is the simplest one-liner; iconic is the purest forum for power, eclectic is the all-consuming synergy; electric is the breath of the energy, from youth to adulthood I adore the way it moves, find resilience in the way it soothes, selectively my heart vibes to the grooves it chooses! ~Nikeeta M. Collins-Thomas

References

Billet, A.. (2010). Beats, rhymes, and power. New Politics, 12(4), 155-158. Retrieved June 30, 2010 from Atlanta-Press Watch (APW). (Document ID: 1966410591

Brown, W.J. & Fraser, B.P. (2001, January 8). Hip-hop kingdom come. Article posted to Christianity Today Magazine, archived at http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2001/january8/4.48.html

Hip hop culture (2009, July 6). Issues & Controversies on File. Retrieved Aug. 4, 2010, from Issues & Controversies database.

Huyser-Honig, J.. (2010 April 19). How and why churches use hip hop in worship. Article posted for Calvin Institute of Worship, archived at http://www.calvin.edu/worship/stories/hip_hop_bonus.php

Huyser-Honig, J.. (2010, April 19). Why churches are engaging hip hop culture. Article posted for Calvin Institute of Worship, archived at http://www.calvin.edu/worship/stories/hip_hop.php

Munn-Joseph, M.. (2010). The hip hop generation and parent/school relations. Race, Gender & Class, 17(1/2), 217-223. Retrieved June 30, 2010, from Alt-Press Watch (APW). (Document ID: 2039347141).

Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Retrieved August 5, 2010, archived at http://www.riaa.com/

Rideout, V. & Roberts, D & Foehr, U.. (2005, March). Generation M: Media in the lives of 8-18 year olds. Executive Summary posted for A Kaiser Family Foundation Study. Retrieved August 13, 2010, archived at http://www.kff.org/entmedia/upload/Executive-Summary-Generation-M-Media-in-the-Lives-of-8-18-Year-olds.pdf

For Colored Only

Colored OnlyAs a 42-year young, black woman, who has grown up as a citizen of the United States of America, all my life, I have been faced with dealing with the societal conflicts that we, the black people, have overcome and are still challenged with enduring. Over the years, while I am considered a direct descendent of slavery, I myself, have not been through the level of discrimination that elders and many others, being people of color, or for lack of better words, black people, have had to go through. I have no idea what it means to fight to go to a school, where only one race or color of people, being white, were allowed to go, because by the time I grew to school age and every year after, I have attended any school public and private, urban and suburban, thanks to those who fought for my right. I have no idea what it feels like to try to drink from a water fountain, but before making the unconscious decision to do so I would have to first be conscious of the fact that there is a sign posted above my head that either reads, “For Colored People Only” or “For Whites Only”, because by the time I grew tall enough to choose to drink from a water fountain, anywhere, anyplace, and at any time, the choice was already made for me, thanks to those who fought for my right. I have no recollection of ever being hungry, walking into a restaurant or a public establishment of any kind, and being turned away, refused service, or arrested for being at the “wrong place, wrong time”, because by the time I grew able to feed my hunger pains, my options were limitless, thanks to those who fought for my right.

Now, in 2017, after deciding that I would like to open a bank account with a black owned bank, which I recently became familiar with, I am faced with fighting to understand how and why, I feel like I am choosing to attend the school, drink from the fountain, and dine in the restaurant that has a “For Colored People Only” sign posted in front of me? Even after doing the research and finding the facts behind the reason black owned banks came to be, I am perplexed by the idea that in a sense, it seems that we, the black people, of the United States of America, have grown accustomed to people, places, and things, that are typically “for us” only. Ironically, I do not see a problem with this and I appreciate the benefits of being black, with respect to black owned banks. Especially, when the things that are “for us” have positive effects and are designed to build “us” up, rather than having producing negative results that can destructively tear us down. From what I’ve gathered, thanks to the civil rights movement and all those who were and continue to be involved, it is important to understand the facts and ultimately over-stand the “sign of the times”, that clearly distinguishes “us” from others, makes us different, but keeps us exclusive to who we are on an all-inclusive level, with respect to where “we have” come from and what “we have” been through and many still struggle to get in where “we” fit in.

My reality, as I have shared many times, being black and proud, is I grew up in a family where my paternal Grandmother founded an organization, Zeigler Habilitation Homes, Inc., in 1977, that has fed her immediate family, in addition to employing and housing many others, outside of her family, for 40 years. As the indirect descendent to the legacy that my Grandmother left, through a business that was established 3 years after my birth, I consider myself fortunate, thanks to my Grandmother who fought for my right, to see her name on a sign that speaks volumes and says more than “For Colored People Only”. Seeing the name of a woman and a family on a sign, is one of the foundational reasons, I am building my own legacy, with the maiden name of my Mother and the name given to me by my Father. While my sign is black and white, in color, the only color I really see gaining my interest, from the perspective of an entrepreneur, banking on white and black, is green, thanks to me, for giving me the right, to be black and never losing sight of being, “For Colored People Only”, and “For Whites Only”. C and Z Logo Revised

Know Your Brand & You’re Competition!

​In marketing your brand, recognize that there will always be opposition and you will always have competitors, but you should only recognize, grow on, and learn from the ones in the same industry as you. This is a Marketing 100 key and major fact. Anyone in business, but not in the business you are in, is not your business. The fact of the matter is, if a business is not working, producing or servicing in your field, they are not your competition! 

Build your brand the way you see you, in light of who you have the power and ability to be! Never lose sight of the value and worth of your company’s vision, and with respect to other top business models. The possibilities are endless! 

If your goal is to be a Fortune 500 company, follow Fortune 500 companies and nothing less. If your goal is to be a millionaire or billionaire, follow millionaires and billionaires, with a proven track record of failing to succeed. If you’re an online business, be an online business. If your goal is to be the next Walmart, Microsoft, or Forever 21, build your brand on who you are, do not be afraid to fail or to succeed and rise to the top! A lot of people are afraid to do one or the other, but few are afraid to do both.

Whatever your brand, product, service, or business is, be careful who you take advice from and who you listen to. If they haven’t been where you see your brand and company going, they are not representative of the personal and professional goals you should already have set for yourself! 

At Collins & Ziegler, we have a blueprint for our success. A blueprint that began in our mind, was written on paper, created as a PowerPoint presentation, and is manifesting as a corporate entity. A blueprint with God’s design, to build more than just ourselves up. A blueprint we have only shared with a handful of people and the most important, being those in our family business, who we respectfully believe in and paved the way for us. 

In 1977 (3 years after my birth), my Grandmother, Charlotte B. Zeigler, founded Zeigler Habilitation Homes, Inc. located in Toledo, Ohio. Zeigler Homes began as group homes for the mentally and physically disabled, a business that began from one home and even to today, progressively succeeds my Grandmother’s passing (March 20, 2005) and has grown to be so much more! 

The passion my Grandmother had to leave a legacy for her children, combined with providing direct care for others with special needs, is a driving force that propels the heart of who Collins & Ziegler is. While the vision my Grandmother had productively carries on, still to this day and for generations to come, our company is the first to expand on the hopes and dreams our Grandmother had for us to survive and thrive, on a national to international level. 

Even outside of our immediate family, who have their own branches of a business we have all known, to love and work for, and are fortunate enough to have grown from. Even as the offspring of parents, who have had several businesses and still have their own businesses, we have never forgot where we came from and can always go locally back to. 

The best part of being who we are is in addition to the legacy we were blessed with and will forever be a part of, we have worked with a vast variety of small businesses to large corporations, while venturing in a variety of cities and states, all around the United States. 

To our point, we have gained a wealth of knowledge and we have never stopped learning, growing, and building ourselves up! As we look at how far we’ve come, seeing ourselves on a competitive level, with so far to go to fulfill our life mission and reach our goals, our biggest challenge and greatest competition will forever be ourselves! No matter the opposition or how challenges present themselves, we see ourselves first and foremost, faced with being the heart of who we are, from start to finish!

“The way we start, is the way we finish!” ~Rita J. (Collins) Ziegler, Admistrator of Make-a-U-Turn, Inc. & my Mother

10-Step Homemade Gold & Diamond Cleaner

Things needed:

Cooking pot or microwave safe bowl

1/2 – 2 Cups Water

Dishwashing Liquid

Child Soft Toothbrush

Soft Hand Towel or Washcloth 

Jewelry Polishing Cloth (Optional)

Steps:

1. Make sure your jewelry is real diamond and gold, not gold-plated, or else it will tarnish. ( For example, 10k gold, 14k gold, 18k gold, 24k gold, yellow gold, white gold, rose gold, and green gold, are all genuine types of gold.)

2. Heat desired amount of water, 1/2 cup to 2 cups, (depending on how much jewelry is being cleaned), in a pot on stove or in heat-resistant bowl, using your microwave.

3. Bring the water to an easy boil.

4. Carefully, pour the water from the cooking pot into the heat-resistant bowl or remove the bowl from the microwave.

5. Place your jewelry into the bowl.

6. Squeeze 1 to 2 tablespoons of your choice dishwashing liquid in the bowl with the jewelry. (I prefer Palmolive, Dawn, or Sun with Oxy.)

7. Stir the jewelry around in the dishwashing liquid, with the child soft toothbrush, for approximately 60 seconds.

8. Let jewelry sit in bowl covered or uncovered, until the water cools to room temperature. )Approx. 30 minutes, give or take.)

9. To remove unwanted dirt, gently brush the jewelry, especially in hard to reach places and underneath genuine stones, with the child soft toothbrush.

10. Rinse the jewelry off in clean, warm to cool water, then place on a soft hand towel or washcloth, to dry. Gently wipe to dry.

If dirt is still visible on jewelry, repeat steps, as needed. 

For added shine, use jewelry polishing cloth to rub over gold areas. Jewelry polishing cloths can be purchased anywhere from your local jewelry store to online jewelry stores, for less than $10. (i.e., Tiffany & Co., $5.00 online.)

I have used this homemade method as a way to naturally clean my gold and diamond jewelry for years, to beat the cost of buying jewelry store jewelry cleaners, and in between getting professional jewelry cleanings. I have never tried my handmade solution on any other type of genuine precious metal, such as sterling silver or platinum.