The Anniston Star

ANNISTON, Ala. (AP) — Hip-hop star Lil’ Jon shouts “Yeahhh” and “Okay!” when he gets crunk. Oscar-winning actor and R&B singer Jamie Foxx tells listeners to “blame it on the a-a-a-a-alcohol” when they are crunk.

But a group of young boys from Ohatchee are shouting “Hallelujah” and clapping, slapping and stomping in their crunkness.

They are Crunk for Christ and they praise the Lord by stepping.

While “getting’ crunk” is not something usually associated with Jesus, the term has morphed from meaning “crazy and drunk” to meaning simply having a good time or becoming extremely excited without the connotations of substance use.

“I started this group to give the young boys something to do that would bring them closer to God,” said Artesia Jones, 23, who choreographs the dances for the boys.

The boys in the group have been performing with CFC from one year up to three years, when the group began on July 27, 2007.

Jones, who is a machine operator, was throwing away a model of a copper rod that was used for a casino project at work. As he held the rod in his hand, he began stepping with it, and the idea for the Christian step group was born.

He first asked whether any young men at his church, Greater Ebenezer Baptist Church of Ohatchee, would be interested. From there, the word of the group spread and others joined. The current group of boys are from Gadsden, Ohatchee and Anniston.

“I just like stepping,” said 12-year-old Jordan Lindsay, who has performed with CFC for the last year.

Stepping, which is mostly affiliated with predominantly African-American college fraternities and sororities, is a type of dance in which one’s whole body is used as an instrument, though props like sticks and canes can also be used. The dance is usually a choreographed series of stomps, claps, turns and jumps. It has gained mainstream popularity with movies such as “Stomp the Yard.”

The boys perform all over the state at churches and community centers about twice a month, depending on the requests they receive.

“When you give the kids something to do, something constructive to do, then they know there’s a way out, that they don’t have to do what everyone else is doing,” Jones said. “(They learn) there are opportunities and all you’ve got to do is stay focused on God in whatever you do and you’ll be successful.”

Every CFC member said that if they were not stepping, they would either be at home bored or playing video games on their Xboxes.

The boys said that for them, the hardest part of being a part of Crunk for Christ is doing push-ups but Jones said the hardest part was “getting them to stay still long enough to teach them.”

“I just know that if I keep doing right and keep doing what I am doing for these young people, I see that it will be a very successful group of men,” he said.

He hopes that the group can provide the boys with benefits, like help with college funding, even after they are members with the group.

Every single boy said he intends to remain part of the group until high school, when they can join “a real fraternity.”

“I’m performing for God. That’s my main goal,” said Kaylan Banks, 13, who has been a part of CFC from the very beginning.

Any child interested in the group can join. There are no requirements or auditions.