The Living Testimony of John Gabbana Part 1: Hitting Rock Bottom
The ESV of Isaiah 44:22 reads, “I have blotted out your transgressions like a cloud and your sins like mist; return to me, for I have redeemed you.”
Often believers exclaim phrases like, “God can save anyone! Come as you are! Or the big one, “You’re never too far gone for God.” Has it ever felt like the truth though? I mean think about it, we are a very flawed people. So flawed in fact, that our creator had to send a perfect sacrifice in order to clear our names and allow us eternal life.
Still though, amidst biblical evidence that we have been truly redeemed and recovered, it doesn’t feel legitimate. Because why in the world would a perfect God go out of His way to save us? Even when we spit on Him, mock Him, ignore Him, and live lives riddled with rebellion – Jehovah Jireh still provides for us!
The answer is simple yet profound. Love and Grace. There is nothing we can do to earn it, and once attained nothing we can do to lose it. After accepting Christ Jesus as our Lord and Savior, our sins are spread as far as the east and the west. This remains even more prevalent in today’s age where we are seeing more and more celebrities give their lives to God.
From Kanye West, Chance the Rapper, and Justin Bieber, people who were once devout non-believers have transformed their platforms into preaching the Gospel. This brings my attention to the latest celebrity to follow Christ, John Gabbana who is fka Boonk Gang.
Disclaimer: John Gabbana no longer goes by his former alias but for historical context, while it is necessary, I will refer to him as Boonk Gang.
If you didn’t know who Boonk Gang was, chances are you weren’t a Millennial or a member of Gen Z in the latter years of the last decade. John Robert Hill Jr. also known as Boonk Gang, was an upcoming rapper/social media presence from Florida who started his platform in 2017. He would drop the occasional song or snippet but what really gave him a stake in pop culture were his viral videos that were either a prank or crime. He would do something absurd and then leave running while screaming “Boonk Gang! Boonk Gang! Whole lotta gang s***!” Quickly his videos began to gain traction among Instagram and Twitter. Here is a video for reference.
Almost immediately people began pranking each other or just running around with their phones while screaming Boonk’s catchphrase. I mean it was catchy! I was in high school at the time and I can remember running around screaming, “Boonk Gang! Boonk Gang!”
*Warning adult language*
Undoubtedly, however, one cannot deny that Boonk was meant to have an influence, he literally defined a whole era of social media with just eight words. And thus, Boonk ushered in the age of clout chasing.
Many other people became envious of Boonk’s platform and tried to find their own unconventional ways to fame. Young influencers all around the country began to do their own heinous activities in order to gain a following and become an icon. The definition of clout simply means, “Popularity or rank in the social structure. Clout chasing was a new trend, that by the looks of things still has yet to diminish.
However through it all, Boonk was at the top of the social ladder.
With over 5 million followers on Instagram, his influencer status was undeniable. But one day that I still remember, things took a turn for the worse. Boonk had posted to his Instagram story his night at the strip club, and all that was seen were sexual activities that he was taking part in. It was a shock to many including myself because, through all the shenanigans that Boonk had partaken of, you would’ve never guessed that he would do something like this. Especially on Instagram, I mean they don’t even allow porn at all so that was wild on its own.
By the next day, Boonk had lost his Instagram due to violating community guidelines. He then took to Twitter as his primary platform seeing that it was a slim chance that he was going to get his legendary Instagram back. From then on, it got very worse. There was a video of him during an interview in which he was clearly overdosing on an unknown substance.
It was apparent that what had initially given Boonk his following was hollowing himself from the inside out. Fans were heartbroken and disappointed. The hashtag #pray4boonk was trending as followers were demanding that intervention and action be taken on behalf of Boonk. And for what it had seemed like, he was soon out of the social eye for a while. Until things hit an all-time low.
*Warning adult language*
In the summer of 2019, Boonk had been back to his regular.
He was back to pranks and escapades just like before. Though unlike the other ones, this particular prank had a lot more for Boonk than Boonk had for the prank. In this particular video, Boonk is seen getting a blow to the face after a small conversation with a few men. That night, Boonk posted that his jaw had been broken and he was in dire need of surgery. The internet was quick to laugh and make fun of the situation. People had grown tired of his antics and were saying things like this was a long time coming.
Others, however, hoped that he would be able to finally receive the help he actually needed. Here was a man, who rose to the top through viral unruly videos, posted himself engaging in sexual activities, a struggling addict, and now severely injured. Boonk was now a broken man in front of all who had built him up in the first place. He was truly at Rock Bottom and it had seemed like all hope was lost.
But it wasn’t.
God had a plan for Boonk Gang. A plan that He wanted everyone to witness. And witness we did.