American rapper Lil Nas But this is not just a cheap provocation. It is also an act of empowerment.
It is not new that the use of religious symbols in popular culture causes controversy. In the 1980s, there was a reprimand from the Vatican over Madonna's song “Like a Prayer.”
Christian organizations have revolted against the alleged Satanist Marilyn Manson, and in black metal it has become almost necessary to attract accusations of blasphemy from civil society.
Lil Nas X: Bird of Paradise
In this way, American rapper Lil Nas His new single “J Christ” will be released on January 12. The title is provocative and what's more is a promotional image that Lil Nas X shared on social media.
Then he recreates the crucifixion of Jesus. He himself was hanging on the cross, surrounded not by Roman soldiers, but by young people of color (PoC).
Religious feelings can be deep and existential. The reactions of people in the comments column who think someone is mocking their god are also violent.
But: Lil Nas X is a devout Christian himself. He dedicated his single “J Christ” to the man who made the greatest comeback of all time. A reference to the resurrection of Christ.
The photo has nothing to do with sarcasm or sarcasm, Lil Nas X wrote. Images of Jesus have been used in art around the world throughout history. People should stop guarding religion.
That's why this image can also be read as an act of liberation theology, says Dorothy Adrian, religion editor at the SRF. “Liberation theologies are not about moving away from faith, but quite the opposite: bringing religion into your own boat.”
As long as religion has existed, it has also been used to exclude people. In the USA in particular, right-wing evangelical populist movements have repeatedly tried to shape Christianity by certain standards and claim it for themselves.
“This is also our faith.”
Liberation theologians defend themselves against this exclusion. In recent years, an increasing number of people wearing the guise of Jesus have appeared at PRIDES, the LGBT community's global parades. The message is clear: “God is on the side of all people. Also on our website.
Including equality work
According to Lil Nas, when he shows the crucifixion scene with an African American actor, he is uniting Christianity with his world. In this sense, the image can also be understood as a comprehensive act of empowerment and equality.
This isn't the first time Lil Nas When he recorded “Old Town Road” with Billy Ray Cyrus in 2019, he ventured into what was probably the most conservative genre of music in a pink cowboy hat: country music. Good luck. The song became an international hit. It remains to be seen whether the single “J Christ” will bring him the laurel or the crown of thorns.
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