Updated on February 18, 2017
Updated on February 18, 2017
This year’s Grammy’s has sent me on a roller-coaster ride of emotional reflection.
Chance the Rapper won! He won best new artist, rap album and rap performance. Chance makes music for free. You can’t purchase it. He said in an interview, “I realized my strength was being able to offer my best work to people without any limit on it.”
Never before has an artist been allowed to even be nominated for a Grammy if it wasn’t physically sold through traditional channels. They changed the rules, largely in part because of Chance. Then they nominated him for 7 different Grammy’s. He won 3, his firsts.
Chance did all of this in an unprecedented move as an unsigned artist. He won Best Rap Album for Coloring Book over Drake and Kanye as an unsigned artist. Against all odds, he won. And he won while praising God and singing How Great live on the Grammy’s. You should watch the performance if you haven’t yet. Chance the Rapper is Christ’s Ambassador.
He is not a Christian rapper. He’s a Christian who raps. He took a route that would not only defy the record labels, but change the entire culture instead of contributing to the already staunch Christian sub-culture. He is walking a path that changes the world at large with praise on His lips and the Kingdom spreading from his feet.
The first time I listened to “Blessings”, I cried tears of joy. I believe in the Kingdom of Heaven changing the world and culture around us. I believe it will be done in a way of love and praise instead of forced religion and lip service. The Kingdom will advance in all areas of society through those who do not choose the safety of the Christian sub-culture.
I feel called to write novels in the secular industry for everyone to read about redemption and the Kingdom. I want to see the lost and hurting and dying reached with my stories of hope and healing and life. Rumblings have echoed through God’s communities of such a movement for years. Dreams have been whispered of artists who walk with Jesus bringing the Kingdom to the mainstream culture, for years.
This isn’t our grandparent’s revival. It is one that engages in the current culture while Heaven rains down with love and deliverance. Chance the Rapper and his Grammy win is a dream realized.
“They want four minute songs
You need a four hour praise dance
performed every morn
I’m feeling shortness of breath,
so Nico grab you a horn
Hit Jericho with a buzzer beater to end a quarter
Watch brick and mortar fall like dripping water, ugh!”
Blessings, Chance the Rapper
Chance is a perfect example of how God’s Kingdom breaks barriers. God loves the world. That includes everyone in it. God breaks our chains. That includes everything that oppresses us. Psalm 107:14 says, “He brought them out of darkness, the utter darkness, and broke away their chains.”
God helped Chance break through this world’s barriers to win these groundbreaking Grammy awards. The barrier of being an unsigned artist and the barrier of being black shattered when he won Best New Artist. It is the world that makes these barriers. God destroyed the lie that anyone is less for any reason.
The King will not bow to our oppressive sin. The Kingdom will not give into to the world’s racism, sexism, greed, or hateful ways. We dream of a world filled with the freedom of Heaven. My heart beats faster seeing God inspired dreams come true.
However, this excitement is tempered by Beyoncé’s Album of the Year loss. I watched the Lemonade visual album twice in a two day period. I cried both times. There is not a single song on Lemonade that didn’t burrow into my heart in one way or another. I’ve always loved Beyoncé’s music. (Who doesn’t???)
Yet this album was different. Everyone knew it. The oft recluse songstress had never shared something so personal. She had never made music that so encompassed the black experience. Beyoncé dug into her veins and untapped her soul, painting each lyric red with her anger, pain, and hope. All of this was done while stretching her own creative genius.
She strolled through Rock, R&B, Blues, Country, Gospel, Electronic, and Pop as if she was the originator of each. Every song’s genre choice fit the lyrics and emotional weight. The album felt as self-exploratory as it was self-revealing for Queen B. It emerged with one of the highest levels of quality known to music. It inspired countless black women and men. This wasn’t the Best Album of the Year, it topped the decade. Everyone knew it, except The Recording Academy.
Already tons of articles have been written about this loss. People are asking, “What does Beyonce need to do to win Album of the Year?” I loved Adele’s 25. It just wasn’t Lemonade. Hell, 25 wasn’t even as iconic or groundbreaking as 21. Adele knew it too.
She used her acceptance speech to lift up Beyoncé as the brilliant artist she is. She turned from her glorious moment to shower love and respect on another woman who deserved it. Thank God she is wise and compassionate and real enough to have realized that was needed.
However, I wish she had gone more for the Academy’s blood during her acceptance speech. They need to be called out on their favoritism of white artists time after time. Breaking the award sent ripples of applause through the world. That still didn’t change how Beyoncé walked away without being honored by her career’s institution for creating the best collective work of last year.
I have never experienced that level discrimination. The injustice makes me angrier than I can understand. But I can support those who empower the black community and their stories. It is heartbreaking the Academy can’t do the same.The barriers are real. The racism in our institutions and structures has not crumbled like the walls of Jericho.
Nonetheless, we hear the horn blaring. It has been crying for some time. Most importantly, God hears. He knows. The Kingdom will break every chain upon not just a specific group of people, but our nation as a whole. Redemption and healing are attainable through King Jesus.
Our God is an awesome God and he will break down every barrier, every wall. One day institutional racism will be no more. One day freedom will reign in its truest form.
“Mystery Babylon, tumbling down
Satan’s establishment crumbling down”
How Great, Chance the Rapper,
verse by Jay Electronica