Ebony A. Utley, Ph.D. – Rap and Religion.
Dr. Ebony A. Utley studies the pursuit of power. As an associate professor of communication studies at California State University Long Beach, she’s fascinated by the way people use language to shift power – which has led her to study the language of the hip hop culture.
Her work, Rap and Religion: Understanding the Gangsta’s God (Praeger, June 30, 2012) tackles a sensitive and controversial topic: the juxtaposition—and seeming hypocrisy—of references to God within rap music. Hip hop culture and rap music in particular have been condemned for inciting violence, promoting misogyny, and perpetuating racial stereotypes. However, Dr. Utley argues that religion has always been an integral part of the urban environments that birthed rap music and she shows exactly how a God-sanctioned gangsta identity can be empowering. Dr. Utley sources lyrics, videos, award acceptance speeches, magazine and website content, liner notes, and survey data to provide an enlightening, representative account of how and why rappers talk about God.
Bakari Kitwana, Author of The Hip-Hop Generation writes, “A close reading of mainstream hip hop lyrics and artists of the last three decades, Rap and Religion uncovers the place where God, spirituality, and Christianity meet. Hip hop aficionados have long proclaimed that hip hop is a culture. If this is true, what is its spiritual philosophy? Ebony Utley offers a persuasive answer.”
Ebony A. Utley, Ph.D. is an expert in popular culture, race, and romantic relationships. Her book, Rap and Religion: Understanding the Gangsta’s God addresses all of the above by closely examining the juxtaposition—and seeming hypocrisy—of references to God within rap music. In her other research, Utley examines how Americans talk about race and racism, asks probing questions about women’s experiences with infidelity, investigates beliefs about marriage, and explores the tenuous relationship between hip hop and love. Her writing has appeared in a variety of high-profile publications, including Critical Studies in Media and Communication, Huffington Post, Truthdig, Ms. Magazine, Religion Dispatches, and Women and Language. In addition to national radio, print, and online appearances, Dr. Utley lectures at universities across the country and is an associate professor of communication studies at California State University Long Beach. She resides on the web at theutleyexperience.com.
Michael Sherlock: I Am Christ
With Easter around the corner, author Michael Sherlock joins us from Japan to discuss his book, I Am Christ: The Crucifixion – Painful Truths (this is Volume I of a series).
Sherlock asks, “Have you ever wondered what it is that compels an otherwise peaceful and intelligent human being to pick up a gun for either his country, or his religion and slaughter a multitude of men, women and children, whilst maintaining the delusion that he is carrying out a righteous calling? Or what it is that induces an equally peaceful person to strap a bomb to themselves in order to decimate thousands of innocent bystanders, not to mention themselves?”
Belief has the power to control the mind and actions of an individual, who becomes possessed by an idea that has been dictated to him by external forces, be they political or religious, Sherlock asserts. Once possessed, the victim of the belief is capable of behaving in ways that he would otherwise deplore.
In I Am Christ – which Christians might find offensive – Sherlock dissects the crucifixion and other religious mythology. He explores the origins of the gospels, chronicles the contradictions in them, and challenges readers to examine why they believe what they believe.
Born in Sydney Australia, Michael Sherlock has been living in Japan with his wife and two children for the past eight years. Michael sees himself not as a member of any religion or nation, but as a member of the human race. Each of Michael’s upcoming books are focused on the moderation of belief, as an aspect of human consciousness, which he hopes will lead to the emancipation of the human mind and heart from the various spiritual, psychological and cognitive prisons built and maintained by belief.
Show Time: Friday night, March 29, 2013, 6 Pacific / 7 Mountain / 8 Central / 9 Eastern (Additional time conversions at the World Time Server).
To hear the show live and participate in the web-based chat room: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/god-discussion/2013/03/30/rapping-with-jesus-a-look-at-the-gangstas-god-religion
How it works … When you visit the show page (linked immediately above), the podcast will automatically play out of your computer speakers when it is live. A SKYPE button will also appear that you can simply press and connect with the host (if you have SKYPE, that is). A web-based chatroom will be running contemporaneously with the show, where you can post questions and comments. To use the SKYPE feature and to participate in the chat room, you will need a free BlogTalk listener account (click the “Register as a Listener” option).
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