MIAMI — More than 150 fans, ranging in age and culture, form a standing-room-only crowd at the Legends Café in Hollywood, eagerly awaiting the opportunity to get up close and personal with their favorite hip-hop artists.
Fast forward to later the same evening, when thousands more converge on Miami Beach’s Fillmore — hours before showtime — in an attempt to get the best seats in the house.
Obviously some high-profile rappers must be in town to proclaim they’re the greatest of all time, right?
Wrong. Several of these artists still sport snapbacks and tattoos, but Lecrae, Trip Lee, Tedashi, Derek Minor, Andy Mineo, KB, This’l and Propaganda aren’t your typical rappers. What sets them apart is each of them will quickly tell you that Jesus Christ is the real Superstar.
Using hip-hop music and fun-filled events, Reach Records and GodIsObvious are infiltrating pop culture with the gospel message of Jesus Christ. The Christian entertainment groups collaborated on Oct. 21 to present a local meet-and greet autograph signing for fans before Reach artists hit the stage for the Miami edition of the Unashamed Tour, which is selling out venues across the country.
Both groups are a part of a growing number of believers who work in, or crossover to, the secular entertainment industry, but use their platforms, gifts and talents to reach the masses and to glorify God.
Aprille Hinnant, CEO of the South Florida-based GodIsObvious organization, believes it is her Christian duty to be a bridge between the secular world and the faith community. As a radio personality on 99 Jamz, as well as an internationally renowned dancer and highly popular event planner, Hinnant is the second generation in her family to work full time in the entertainment industry.
“The real mission and goal is to bridge the gap between unbelievers and believers, especially in the entertainment industry, so that we’re not just preaching to the choir,” Hinnant said. “I feel like the Lord is calling me to be a Joseph, just putting me strategically in Egypt if you will, to come and prepare a place for the people of God to be able to get before the unbelievers.”
Hinnant said that mission and calling made the collaboration with Reach to do the autograph signing a no-brainer because it’s always good to work with people who are of one accord.
Derek Minor, one of Reach’s artists, couldn’t agree more. Having been signed to the label for two years now, Minor said he and his label mates are always willing to work with people who grind for Jesus.
“They told us we had an opportunity to do a meet-and-greet with GodIsObvious and it was a blessing to do it. I feel like Paul. As long as cats are preaching the gospel, I’m down to ride. Anytime you see a believer that’s pushing the envelope, it’s a blessing,” Minor said.
Reach’s entire brand is built around Romans 1:16, the scripture that promotes being unashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Some might think that would hinder them from reaching mainstream audiences, but the opposite is true.
Minor said he believes their crossover appeal is so great, even to those who don’t share their faith, because people respect authenticity.
“Our music is organic and it’s real. We love Jesus and it’s not a ploy to get money or fame. This is our life that you’re hearing throughout the music and whether you agree or disagree with us you’ve got to respect it because we are being ourselves and we’re passionate in what we believe,” Minor said.
“I don’t talk about God because I’m trying to shove God down people’s throats. I talk about God because I love Him and I talk about Jesus because He saved my life. And if someone saves your life, “you’re going to talk about that in your lyrics,” Minor said. “Rappers talk about what they love. We talk about God because we love God.”
Finally, Minor and his label mates want to keep letting people know that God loves them just as they are and it’s not about their outer appearance; it’s about what’s in their hearts.
“With us people are seeing a movement of individuals that look like them, talk like them, like the same things that they like but love God. We’ve taken the chains off of what people think Christianity is,” Minor said.
So while you won’t always see them suited and booted come Sunday morning, you will always see groups like Reach and GodIsObvious clothed with the love of God and sharing it every chance they get.
“Our fans are family because we don’t see anyone as beneath us, we see them as our brothers and sisters. Everybody is valuable because they were made in the image of God. We don’t want people to worship us. At the end of the day we love them and want them to keep riding with us because it’s going down,” Minor concluded.