Does Christian music suffer from a racial divide when it comes to categorizing music? In a recent interview with Da’ T.R.U.T.H., he and the interviewer spoke about how music gets labeled in the Christian sphere.
A self-admitted “old guy,” Tony Cummings of Cross Rhythms in the U.K., may have asked an often overlooked but very important question concerning Christian music – Is Christian music segregated?
“I don’t know whether it is the fault of Billboard magazine or the fault of the Church leaders or whatever but we’ve got ‘gospel’ meaning black artists and we’ve got ‘CCM’ meaning white artists and I’ve never been able to figure it,” said Cummings to the emcee. “And strangely, Christian radio is more divided on racial lines than non-Christian radio, which again is a scandal.”
Da’ T.R.U.T.H. replied, “You are preaching one of my sermons.”
He continued, “I started a company two years ago that was intended to focus on what I call hybrid artists; not CCM, not gospel, maybe a little bit of everything – eclectic artists. On one level, who needs another label? Except that there is a need that has to be met. The thing that inspired the label was exactly what you’re saying. Just kind of looking at how polarized the gospel music industry is.”
The rapper said Gospel Music has no top 40, which makes it harder to really get exposure to a variety of listeners. This in turn, affects how well their festivals coming, which are “dying” T.R.U.T.H. says.
“There’s CCM radio, there’s quote unquote “Black Gospel” radio. There’s the Dove Awards which is 99.9% white, and the Stellar Awards which is 100% black,” he said. “So we look at our industry and how polarized it is, and like you say, to me it all starts with radio. There are CCM stations; they don’t play the K-Love stations, not just music from African Americans, just different music. It’s not a black and white thing; it’s a cultural thing as well. And gospel radio stations are not playing any white music or any other music. But to me, that is the recipe for death because if genres don’t evolve, they die.”
The Complicated rapper says this divide is a “detriment” and “un-kingdom-like” and ultimately that makes the whole thing “sinful.”
“It’s rooted in prejudice, it’s rooted in biases, we could call it format, we could name it whatever we want. But at the end of the day, as Christians we have a greater responsibility to rise above the status quo and determine what needs to happen rather than trying to determine, ‘Well, if the white soccer mom is 35-50 and listening then we have to play Casting Crowns only’. I just think it’s sad, but that’s why I started my company, and I really hope to be able to be one of the leaders in that kind of creative outlet and a platform for artists who don’t fit into those paradigms.”
Read the full article here.
Also, what do you think of the discussion from Cross Rhythm? Do you see this as a major problem? Do you think it’s irrelevant? Discuss in the comments and we’ll revisit this in a few weeks.