Addressing Social Injustice with The Transformative Power of Hip Hop

Welcome to Church on the Block. Pastor Phil, along with co-hosts Pastah J and DJ Ruckus, had the privilege of engaging in a profound conversation that explored the rich tapestry of hip hop, faith, and social injustice. Joined by the insightful Dr. Daymond Glenn, they examine topics that are not only close to our hearts but also deeply relevant to our communities. And we are excited to share with you the insights discovered and the lessons we can all take away from this dialogue.

The Cultural Soul of Hip Hop

Dr. Daymond Glenn, the founder and senior pastor of the Cultural Soul Project in Portland, Oregon, graced us with his perspective on the critical role of hip hop in history and society. He shed light on the intellectual usefulness of hip hop, emphasizing its importance in academia and the church. Through critical analysis of power dynamics, structures, identity, and lived experiences, Dr. Glenn illustrated how hip hop serves as a lens to make sense of meaning, purpose, and identity, especially for marginalized communities.

Amplifying Blackness in the Narrative

The conversation naturally flowed into the origins of hip hop in the Bronx and its profound African American influence. The gentlemen discussed the necessity of amplifying blackness to counter the mainstream portrayal of black experiences as solely rooted in pathology and dysfunction. Dr. Glenn challenged us to recognize the complexity and beauty of blackness, highlighting the joy, imagination, and possibilities within the African American experience.

Race, Class, and the Commercialization of Hip Hop

The intersections of race and class were a critical part of the dialogue as they tackled the impact of poverty and the commercialization of hip hop. Dr. Glenn connected the struggles of inner-city urban living and the lack of resources to the way hip hop narratives are often exploited for profit, compromising authentic storytelling and representation.

The Prophetic Power of Hip Hop & Social Injustice

Throughout their discussion, the prophetic and transformative potential of hip hop took center stage. Dr. Glenn and our hosts explored its role in addressing social injustices and advocating for justice for marginalized communities. They also touched on the value of hip hop in providing social commentary and critique on societal issues.

The Interplay Between Hip Hop and Faith

Looking forward to the next segment, they anticipated exploring the relationship between hip hop and the church, and the intersections of race, class, and faith within hip hop culture. The gentlemen discussed the importance of authenticity and depth in hip hop, especially for artists of faith. Dr. Glenn introduced the concept of “knowledge of self,” urging artists to engage in existential questioning and self-reflection to create meaningful art.

Faith Institutions and Real-Life Issues

Dr. Glenn didn’t shy away from addressing the role of faith institutions in tackling real-life issues. He called for a holistic approach that transcends religious preservation to confront social and systemic challenges head-on.

The Transformative Potential of Hip Hop

The gentlemen agreed on the transformative potential of hip hop as a platform for societal change and personal growth. The hard work of self-reflection and authenticity is crucial for creating lasting and impactful art within the hip hop culture.

Faith as a Tool for Social Change

The role of faith in addressing social issues was a poignant part of the conversation. Dr Glenn emphasized the need for a prophetic response to contemporary challenges, using faith as a tool for eradicating systemic issues rather than seeking personal safety.

Envisioning Positive Change

Dr. Glenn also shared his insights on the prophetic gospel of Christ, highlighting the importance of speaking life and possibilities into our art and work. Pastor Phil referenced Frank Thomas’ concept of moral imagination, challenging artists to envision and communicate what change, health, and life can truly look like.

Seeking Safety and Abundance in Faith

Pastor Phil wrapped up the episode with a metaphorical story about a wealthy man seeking a limousine driver, which served as an analogy for the need to prioritize safety and distance from life’s edges. This story underscored the importance of drawing close to God and living a life that seeks safety and abundance in faith.

Connect with the Cultural Soul Project

As we concluded our episode, we shared information about how to connect with the Cultural Soul Project, inviting our listeners to engage with their church and online platforms.

Final Thoughts

This conversation was more than just a discussion; it was a journey through the intersection of faith, hip hop, and social justice. It emphasized the need for a prophetic response, moral imagination, and a focus on positive change and possibilities in both artistic and religious expressions. Thank you for joining us on this exploration, and we look forward to our continued conversations on Church on the Block.

Holy Culture Radio is operated by The Corelink Solution, a non-profit organization that aims to create a safe space for healing, foster unity in our communities and empower the next generation of creatives and leaders through spreading the gospel.

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COTB 01282024 Daymond Glenn and Michael Eric Dyson alt pic 1 (social injustice)
Dr. Daymond Glenn with scholar & activist Michael Eric Dyson
COTB 01282024 Daymond Glenn with Cornell West alt pic 2 (social injustice)
Dr. Daymond Glenn with Dr. Cornel West
COTB 01282024 alt pic 3 Dr. Daymond Glenn (social injustice)


Introduction to the show (00:00) Pastor Phil and Pastor J welcome the audience to “Church on the Block,” introducing the topics of hip hop, the church, and the streets.

Introduction of Dr. Daymond Glenn (01:57) Pastor J introduces Dr. Daymond Glenn, the founder and senior pastor of the Cultural Soul Project, discussing the church’s focus on race, faith, hip hop, and justice.

Critical Hip Hop Studies (03:49) Dr. Daymond Glenn discusses the critical use of hip hop in academia and its role in understanding power dynamics, structures, and identity.

Amplifying Blackness in Hip Hop (08:28) Pastor J and Dr. Daymond Glenn discuss the importance of centering blackness in hip hop to counteract mainstream narratives that often focus on pathology and dysfunction.

Intersections of Race and Class in Hip Hop (13:37) Dr. Daymond Glenn delves into the intersections of race and class in hip hop, emphasizing the need to amplify blackness and address marginalization.

Transition to Hip Hop and the Church (15:18) Pastor J and Dr. Daymond Glenn transition the conversation to discuss the interplay between race, class, and faith in hip hop within the church.

Using Blackness as a Metaphor (17:44) Dr. Daymond Glenn explains the use of blackness as a metaphor for anyone who has been shaped by life on the margins, connecting it to justice and the civil rights movement.

Hijacking of Hip Hop Narratives (21:52) Dr. Daymond Glenn discusses the commercialization of hip hop and how certain narratives profit over others, particularly affecting those marginalized by poverty and lack of resources.

Faith Emcees and Cultural Impact (00:21:54) Discussion about the impact of faith emcees on the culture and the need for a holistic approach to artistic discipleship.

Rap Skills and Authenticity (00:23:43) The importance of rap skills and authenticity in hip hop, with a focus on the impact of trap music and the need for genuine expression.

Maturation and Evolution in Hip Hop (00:27:37) Exploration of the maturation process of emcees and the evolution of content in hip hop, with a focus on the impact of personal experiences.

Hip Hop and Existential Questions (00:39:31) Theoretical framework of “knowledge of self” and the existential questions that hip hop artists should consider creating authentic and meaningful art.

Faith, Hip Hop, and Authenticity (00:36:39) Discussion about the need for authenticity and relevance in faith-based hip hop, addressing real issues and being genuine in artistic expression.

Faith Institutions and Holistic Care (00:43:23) Exploration of the role of faith institutions in addressing real-life issues and providing holistic care for individuals, beyond just spiritual preservation.

Faith as a Tool of Eradication (00:44:26) Discussion on using faith to confront and eradicate societal issues and confronting training institutions.

Prophetic Response and Possibilities (00:45:35) Exploring the prophetic response within the context of hip hop, progressive forms of hip hop, and the church.

Moral Imagination and Change (00:47:30) Exploring the concept of moral imagination in hip hop and the need for a vision of change and life.

Connecting with The Cultural Soul Project (00:49:34) Dr. Daymond Glenn shares how to connect with The Cultural Soul Project through various platforms.

Living Close to the Edge (00:51:12) Metaphorical interpretation of living close to the edge and relating it to faith and safety.

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