“Glory be to God!”
The 2017 Grammy Awards was the best I can remember watching in a long time.
Per usual, black music evaded the room in a way only black music can. When I say black music, I mean music. Rock & roll, rhythm & blues, neo-soul, hip hop, gospel and others came from the minds of black people.
Chance the Rapper, a 23-year-old rapper from Chicago’s south side, who epitomizes #blackboyjoy with his big smile and animated personality, threw the audience, myself and all of #blacktwitter for a loop when he won not just his first, but three Grammy awards, due to his game-changing 2016 album, Coloring Book. As a viewer, and avid tweeter during award shows, it seemed to me that black people in particular were caught off guard, amazed, and pleasantly surprised at the rapper’s open, public heart for God.
In ‘Blessings’, one of the many hits from his latest album, Coloring Book, Chance mentions that he speaks to God in public. And as an independent artist, currently not signed to anyone’s label, profits from tours, and his apparel, which includes his signature “3” hats and t-shirts that read “I speak to God in public.” So, his listeners knew from Chance himself that outwardly expressing his relationship with God is something in which he takes great pride.
But, speaking for myself, I did not know that he actually speaks to God in public – freely, regardless of the place, time, or audience. Chance the Rapper is, without question, a pure example of an unashamed child of God for my generation.
He is a breath of fresh air. Many of us who have been watching the BET Awards since its commencement, are familiar with the obligatory “I wanna thank God,” line artists will typically throw at the start of their acceptance speeches before proceeding to accept an award for their ungodly music – (no judgment; just saying). But Chance didn’t stop at “Thank you, God.” He let the world know that not a single part of his life would be possible without God by his side. Not only did he continuously thank God, but he praised God, during his speech and throughout his entire performance, which was a worship experience (including gospel artists Kirk Franklin and Tamela Mann) that could switch an atheist to a saint.
Watch his acceptance speech here
Chance the Rapper is living, breathing history. He is a product of his people, rooted in a past of negro spirituals and gospel music. Negro spirituals were sung to keep hope alive during the hopeless times of slavery, gospel music came out of our safe haven, our hiding place, the church, and hip-hop music was created by African Americans as another outlet, and form of expression. It’s been a way to express happiness, sadness, agreement, disagreement, love, dislike, indifference, and even anger. The young legend embodies them all. He not only talks the talk, but he’s proven that he chooses to unapologetically walk the walk.
He represents parts of the past present and future of African American people.
You can see his full performance here.
Thank you, Chance.