Death Of the Megachurch?

Ok so… This blog is about the “death of the megachurch” EXACTLY. *Laughs out loud* But I thought the title was catchy and that idea is a part of my overall premise. One thing I’ve noticed as social media has quickly taken over the world, is the decimation of the “supporter” and the rise of the “mover” in the Lexington, KY community. Large social media followings and presence have allotted platforms to the most unlikely, unassuming, and overlooked people in the community. More rappers, more models, more party promoters, and even more churches have popped up at alarming rates in the last 5-7 years.

I’ve seen this modern phenomenon as a “gift” as well as a “cure”. The gift being, that more “movers” creates more diversity platforms as communities continue to diversify, and more streams of income for more people. Instead of everyone choosing from the same pot (even when most of the pot isn’t to their liking) now there are much smaller but more relatable pots to choose from. I’ve noticed the era of mega churches slowly coming to a close as smaller churches have been able to form and connect with people that connect more with their way of worship.

The curse of the rise of “movers” in the community is that the rise of competition often leads to decrease in support. Instead of 2,000 people packing the same UK Homecoming party thrown by the most credible party promoter on campus, we now see 10 promoters, who are trying to capitalize off their social media presence, throwing homecoming parties as well. So instead of one super swole and epic homecoming party you have 10 small, and not so LIT homecoming parties.  That type of gauntlet can also lead to a crab in a bucket mentality.  Another negative is the decline in quality or impact hurting said market. It’s hard for quality independent musicians to book gigs or be taken seriously because of the huge influx of BAD artists that have infiltrated the scene there for hurting the reputation of the music scene at large.  I suppose those pros and cons can be debated and it remains to see whether this recent trend is good or bad in the Lexington community. This is just something I’ve noticed! Would love to hear your opinions!!!

All I Wanted Was A Reference Letter....

So let me tell ya'll what just happened.......

 

As most of you know, I've developed my #PowerOfWords presentation over the last couple of years and have recently taken that presentation/performance to college campuses... I've recently had the opportunity to speak at UK, Berea, Transy, EKU, & will be speaking at Asbury in the coming weeks... I think it's pretty unifying & dynamic to have a hip hop artist come into college classroom or lectures settings to share his experiences about community involvement, the power of words, inequality, etc.. In order to ensure more opportunities in the future I ask professors to write me reference letters. Those letters are important because they legitimize my message to professors that might be skeptical of a rapper coming to speak to their class.. This has never been a problem. Well, until a visited one of the aforementioned colleges recently.. I requested a reference letter a few days after my performance/lecture and was given the run around for a about a month. Finally after following up yesterday he responds " I will not be able to provide you a reference letter. Best of luck.." With ZERO explanation or context for his reasoning as to why he wouldn't write me a reference letter.. This is after this particular professor talked to me about how much he loved the performance as well as getting involved in some of the other things I had going on. Funny thing is, I've had several of his students contact me already about different things from helping with our #FreshWaterForFlint innitiative, coming out to one of our poetry events, and a couple just sent emails to thank me for coming and speaking. So the connection was made with whom my presentation was intended for... What hurt worse was he was a BROTHER! smh. It's hard enough trying to advance as an African American male and move & around in regular precincts let alone a hip hop artist trying to make his inroads in the college circuit to try and enligthen this younger generation.. In a lot of situations we are held back unfairly so why in the world would we hold our own back?! I wasn't asking for an honorary degree bro, I was asking for a reference letter...lol I usually don't share things like this but I was truly taken aback.... As much as I want to bring up Willie Lynch mentality, I'll digress and try to think the best.... Maybe he just lied to my face in fear of hurting my feelings and my presentation/performance wasn't that good as he said it was..... Yeah I'm sure that's it....... ;) Anyway... Just a little more motivation to keep pushing forward!! #BelievingInForever

Crab vs. Crab, The Bucket Wins!

One of the most effective components of the infamous “Willie Lynch Doctrine” was the strategy of divide and conquer. If slave masters could create an environment where slaves fought against each other as oppose to the institution of slavery in would make them easier to control. 400 years of progression and the remnants of Willie Lynch still linger on today in many different ways. Nothing worse than seeing nonprofits hate on each other because they are in the running for the same grant.. Community activist battling it out via social media because they don't agree on how to stop the violence. Or hip hop artists leave after he or she performs without supporting the next artist on the bill. Churches shooting subliminal shots at each other from the pulpit because their philosophies differ. If a drama riddled status on facebook gets 200 likes and over a hundred comments, a praise report should get about 500 likes and 300 comments right? You would think so but from what I see on my TL everyday that is not the case. Negative images, fight videos, and people down on their luck seem to get more attention than the positive stuff. But as I get older and realize how important unity and community is, it hurts me too my soul to see anyone fight especially those with similar goals and aspirations. Why do so many of us feel that another person’s demise is synonymous with our own success or vise versa?! When did the focus shift from the objective at hand to out dueling the next person? Jay-Z said it best in the Blueprint album standout “Heart Of A City” when he calmly rapped “What you eat don’t make me sh*t… Where’s the love?!” Praying for someone else's downfall so that we feel better about our own shortcomings just creates a cycle community sabotage, burned bridges, and infinite negative karma that ultimately hurts those that are in need and those that are providing service. Have we forgotten the “golden rule” in Luke 6:31? “Do to others as you would have them do for you.”

In this social media age where the smallest things like the amount of comments on our profile pictures to our score in fantasy football are glamorized, everything becomes a battle for supremacy! But through that constant battle, we lose the very ingredients that make this world great. We should find joy in the successes of those around us because wishing good fortune upon others is taking on the heart of God! Also, if God is blessing those around us that means that we could be next! Stay prayed up and prepare yourself to receive your blessing instead of questioning or frowning upon the blessings others are receiving! If more non profit organizations worked together those in need would receive more service.. If 2 factions of local community activism have different ideas on solving problems then BOTH ideas should be supported because a war isn't one with just one kind of weapon or strategy. It's won by front line units, snippers in the hills, armored tanks, etc all working together. If musicians rooted for each other and work together their respective fanbases would diversify the music scene would grow. If politicians stopped mud slinging and creating gridlocks, more people would benefit and engage in the system. Life changing opportunities can arise in mere seconds… A single moment could change a life. So if every single moment counts, why waste a second on wishing for another person’s demise or speaking negative energy into the atmosphere? That moment of hate could have been the unifying moment of love that changes an entire community. When somebody around you get a raise, a promotion, a new car, found a new boo thang (lol), etc praise God with them and rejoice with them or from afar. The devil’s design is to have us fighting each other and through our battles we start forgetting who the true enemies are. Stay positive kings and queens.. Your time is coming! Love thy neighbor and uplift all of those in which you come in contact today. I love ya’ll. Ok, I got some work to do today before I lose the morning.. lol Peace

Monday Mourning..

This weekend my hometown of Lexington, KY saw another young teen victim of senseless gun violence. My heart is definitely in "mourning" this Monday morning.. Torn between wallowing in that sadness and being motivated to do more within my community. It's definitely a balance in how we move forward after such tragedies.. We can't desensitize ourselves to the senseless violence going on around us but we also can't make it about us & lose sight of the reality. Often times we see non family members & close associates try & enhance their connection to the deceased to draw attention to themselves.. Pay homage from a far (if you weren't close to the victim), pay your respects, and then use your grief to get to work on making sure it doesn't happen again! I've lost many friends, associates, & ex-classmates to gun violence over the years but i found myself becoming almost numb to it.. Tweeting "RIP" like a rap lyric or something.... It almost became a fad to post on my dead friend's Facebook wall about how much I will miss them only to carry on with life unmoved until it happened again to someone else I knew. God gives us all unique gifts or opportunities.. It's up to us to use those to make our families, communities, & world BETTER! We don't need a million Shaun King's & Deray's (who I love btw).. We just need a million individuals using their unique gifts & resources to uplift our communities.. Couldn't even imagine having to bury one of my children..... smh. Sheesh. Don't allow these young deaths to become nothing more than a one day social media memorial. After your grieving process is over, turn the pain and anger, and sadness into ACTION! I send my condolences to Jamaal Gossett and his family and loved ones. I will continue praying for you. It takes a village to raise our children. Let's come together. 

 

 

The Ruler's Back!

Welcome to the mind of an ADHD, aging artist who is a big kid masquerading as an adult.  My name is Devine Carama and I am an indie hip hop artist and director of Believing In Forever Inc. People catch feelings on FB & the 140 character rule usually leads to my overall message getting lost in translation on Twitter. But here?! You will here me roar! lol Check back daily to here my rants on everything from politics, movies, music, and even gummy bears! 

November 22nd, 2015