The hip-hop spiritualists -- The Church Boys

Friday, January 13, 2006

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. used the Civil Rights movement as a vehicle to deliver a message of hope based on Christian principles. The members of the Church Boys are doing the same thing with rap music.

The group's founder and frontman Stafford Moore (Staff-D) describes their sound as a Gospel ministry with rap thrown into it. He and his cohorts Trevon Alfrod (Menace-Tree), Octavious Moore (T-Smoove), Chris Smith (GQ) and Rob White (Big Nappsta) have been together since 2002 and have played around 30 shows, including the City of Roses music fest. Like many of the messengers of good news in the Bible, their path has been often been fraught with tribulation.

"The biggest challenge is that a lot of churches don't feel that rap is a ministry God can use," Moore said.

But Moore understands that many youth turn a deaf ear to the Gospel message as it is conventionally delivered, so he and his group use rap as a vehicle to reach them.

"It's like a loophole to tell them about God," he said. "Our music's got the catchy hook, the rhyme, the melody and the rap beat with a Gospel message."

Moore added that the group's skeptics tend to come around once the music takes over. His fellow group member Rob White echoes his sentiments, calling the message behind their music a responsibility.

"As a Christian group, we have an obligation to minister to the people we play to," White said. "If we don't leave them with something, we're not doing our job."

White said a lot of people -- especially young people -- have the misconception that Christians can't have any fun, and the Church Boys want to change that.

"We want to show them you can have a good time," he said, "but at the end of the night, we want to show them that Jesus Christ saves, that He's Lord and that He's your best friend."

White explains that Christianity is the most important thing the Church Boys have in common with Martin Luther King Jr.

"One of Dr. King's objectives was to push not just African Americans but all mankind to live in unity," he said. "He tried to call us all to do better, regardless of gender, socio-economic status, religion and various other factors."

Moore agrees.

"Martin Luther King saw an opportunity for us to grow as a nation," he said, "to get the same rights for all people."

That rare ability, to identify opportunity and take advantage of it, as well as a powerful moral obligation to deliver hope to people, is something King and the Church Boys share.

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