Music helps me communicate things words alone cannot. After spending a semester studying the utility of YouTube to educate (specifically as a forum for literature read aloud) it is neat to see religious conversations happening through video. More than a series of singers singing alone, the collection of religious music on YouTube is an ensemble of credos. Thanks to MeezInsider for getting me started thinking about this with Poetic Pilgrimage–Definition of a Pilgrim (or, as they called it, Hip Hop Hijabis):
YouTube serves as a forum for religious expression not only for small artists, but also famous singers like Kanye West. What I remember about the video below are the lines:
They say you can rap about anything except for Jesus
That means guns, sex, lies, video tapes
But if I talk about God my record won’t get played–Huh?
Well, let this take away from my spins
Which will probably take away from my ends
Then I hope this take away from my sins […]
YouTube provides a (mostly) uncensored forum for discussing religion being one of them. It allows artists to find niche markets to play to, performers of like mind and faith with whom to jam. While Kanye West does not need help reaching his audience, YouTube’s community can provide support for smaller artists in finding their voices and audiences.
This mulitmedia approach to faith is not new. A scene from the 1989 Kenneth Branaugh version of Shakespeare’s Henry V reminds me of this. After the battle of Agincourt, Henry and his men are going to bury their dead page-boys. They start singing:
Non nobis, Domine, non nobis, sed nomini tuo da gloriam.
(roughly: not to us, Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory)
It is a powerful end to the movie, because there is something about music which connects and sums up and clarifies (at least for me). Including this song in a movie of a play about a historical battle seems pretty multimedia to me, but it all seems to fit together:
Music and faith have been fast friends for millennia–seeing how they interact and will continue to interact with social media will be fascinating. Whether Islamic Hip Hop, Christian Rap, or whatever the next faith/music cross turns out to be, I would be dollars for donuts that it will spread fastest and farthest on social media.
I’m no idealist to believe firmly in the integrity of our courts and in the jury system – that is no ideal to me, it is a living, working reality. Gentlemen, a court is no better than each man of you sitting before me on this jury. A court is only as sound as its jury, and a jury is only as sound as the men who make it up.
To Kill a Mockingbird