Arrested Development’s Speech Thomas is more than just a rapper from the golden era of hip-hop, he is also a believer, a minister, and an activist very much in tune with Black Lives Matter.

However, Speech wasn’t always what we’d call a “Christian.” He was someone who knew of God but did not experience the calling on his life until a later age.

“I feel like I knew of God since I was really young. In my young age, I talked to Him, I prayed to Him, I believed that He would protect me, I believed that He was involved with my existence and that He could control my outcome,” said Speech. “It wouldn’t be until I was 25 that I would truly understand who Jesus Christ exactly was.”

Growing up, he was told certain things about Jesus that made him a little wary of putting his trust in a Savior. Eventually, various rumors and false information about who Jesus were finally pushed aside as he began to learn the truth of what Jesus stood for.

In 1996, he was baptized and became a Christian. This also coincided with the break up of Arrested Development. As he found himself alone as an artist for the first time, the Lord made sure he never traveled solo.

Speech joined the ministry about six years after being saved. He has worked with small groups of singles, young and married, whole churches, and sometimes travels and preaches. He and his wife also help with financial counseling for people in the entertainment industry.

In addition to this, he wrote a book called “What is Success” which talks about the realities of success from God’s perspective and not the world’s.

Currently, Speech and his wife own an art school called 3 Spot. The premise is to teach people “integrity, dignity, and yet be artists and be out there, do your thing, and live your dream.”

When Speech became a Christian, he did not stop rapping, he just switched his focus a bit. However, one thing he admitted, was he would not consider himself a Christian artist.

“I don’t really get into the debate of it,” Speech said. “I clearly look at myself as a rapper who is a Christian as opposed to a Christian rapper.”

He continued, “But I’m not against a Christian rapper. I feel like each person needs to have their own conviction as to which one they feel is serving God, if that’s what they’re goal is, to serve God.”

Speech said he feels God has placed him in exactly where he is supposed to be. He said the goals set before him where “to find Him, and then to help find others for Him.”

“For me personally, I best feel to serve God as a Christian is that my personal walk with Jesus is one of striving to be righteous, striving to live a life that God would be proud of and that people could put a microscope under and still find inspiration,” he said. “At the same time reach people of all backgrounds which God has placed me on a pedestal to do. I’ve been on a pedestal since 1991, and that pedestal was not restricted to just other religious organizations.”


With that being said, Speech revealed that he does not really listen to Christian hip-hop at all. He feels Christian hip-hop is in a much better place now and a lot of it is compelling, but he doesn’t listen to it often.

His issue with Christian hip-hop, or Christianity in America, is that “perception of what Christianity is supposed to accomplish has been very manipulated in culture to where it looks very much like regular America as opposed to the Jesus I see in the Bible who was assassinated after three years of preaching.”

He continued, “What I find is there is a lot of fake Christianity around where it rarely tackles anything that is not fake to tackle, such as getting along with other people, being nice or politically correct.”

Speech said a lot of times the church is “afraid” to look at racial issues in a very real and tangible way. This is something that turns him off to not only Christian music but aspects of the church.

“Even in a lot of churches, the response to Black Lives Matter will be, ‘Hey, we just need to pray and God is going to take care of it all. God is still in control’. We agree with all of that, but where is the activism?”

The emcee said there is always a sense of urgency that a church wants to talk about something, but they “shy away from the division.” He feels it’s important for the church to be able to learn from both sides and confront issues that are tough to deal with to help the message of the church.

We can chalk this up to every era having a different group of people. The people Speech admires most are those who decided to stand up for injustice.

“Christians should get in the fight or, in my opinion, be afraid of the fight because of the cards that are dealt with you,” he shared. “You have to do something, one or the other.”

As far as racial issues in this country, there is still a lot of tension. Whenever someone says Black Lives Matter, someone will also throw in, All Lives Matter, Speech commented. “Black Lives Matter is a reality because All Lives don’t matter yet, and we have to make everyone matter.”

Speech summed up the movement with an analogy:

“If there’s two houses and one is on fire –you don’t say, ‘Hey fireman, go to all houses’. No, go to the house that’s on fire,” Speech said. “That’s how I feel about the Black Lives Matter movement. There’s a recognition that there’s a need. For anyone who’s defense says All Lives Matter, I would just point them to any other issue in this world. When someone has a cancer march, we’re not saying, ‘Well why don’t you have a blood drive march too?’ and we’re like, ‘No, cancer is the reason we’re marching right now, and that’s enough’.”

In closing, Speech wants everyone to know that Arrested Development is back and kicking. They dropped two albums in February that can be picked up at http://adtheband.com/

This has been a three part interview series with Speech Thomas. Check out part one and two.