Have you heard a song on the mainstream radio or any other platform that you assume has to be a Christian artist? Odds are likely to show that most of us do, like every day.
The new world order has taught us that a pop artist can be a Christian and a Christian artist can move into focusing on the secular world. This isn’t a new concept.
But there has been a lot of talk about whether a singer is a Christian artist who just doesn’t primarily focus on a Christian audience, or is just a secular or ‘religious’ person so keen on winning a Christian vote. Best-case scenario has been musician Jah Prayzah, whose Muchinjiko song from his latest album does not only just sound like a typical gospel song, but has even crossed over to chart on regular gospel music charts.
The song will leave an impact on everyone listening to it. Thematically and sonically, it even starts and sounds like a typical traditional gospel song. Throughout the song, Jah is appealing to a higher being who he’s proclaiming in a bold way as a King. There’s a talk of the cross, the afflictions that ‘Jesus’ literally went through on his way to Golgotha. There’s a mention of ‘Mweya Unoyera‘, who most of us translate as the Holy Spirit. The musician also encourages believers to pray, and at one time indirectly talks about Jesus’s resurrection case where he left the burial clothes.
Nevertheless, the song is surrounded by objectionable content to pass the ‘Christian’ bar element. Inasmuch as the sonic can be gospel-ish, it will be myopic to overlook its Jiti influence. Also note carefully, there’s no part where he mentions Jesus Christ who’s the author and the center of the Christian faith.
Nay, we really want this song to be Christian, so lets us not be hard on the man. So let us look at his religious life. Over the past years, Jah Prayzah has never been clear about his relationship with Jesus. All he has always reiterated is his name means someone who praises JAH, which in the Rastafarian religion is short or name for Jehovah. He has also been reported to be a host for an ATR spirit.
But we would go far away from the truth to say we have been following the musician’s social life recently at least to tell how his life has been going, except, of course, for what’s there on the tabloids. Things may have changed since then, who knows. Maybe he got christened.
This, however, isn’t on Jah alone, many secular artists are doing it. The real question, therefore, becomes, why are all these mainstream artists taking a liking to God and Christian-y stuff?
In today’s society, it feels like every ounce of God is being squeezed out of mainstream media whether it be news, movies, TV, or music. Being a Christian has certainly become a “cool” thing at the moment and star performers such as Jah Prayzah, Dr Tawanda, Killer T, Alick Macheso are making it a point to declare an aspect of their faith in their works regardless of what their actions or general niche indicate.
Perhaps they want to be Christians. That being said, what would it take for these performers to be considered Christian artists? Would they have to put out an entire album of songs like that? What are the parameters of being a Christian artist? If these songs done by non-Christian artists are touching people and bringing people to Jesus, then wouldn’t that song be a form of ministering?
It is a rather interesting development and something that needs some discussion because it is becoming more noticeable. With Zimbabwe increasingly becoming a ‘Christian nation’ every day, has to make Christian art become cool because it’s profitable? Has culture become more accepting of Christianity if it’s packaged in your favourite artists’ catalogue? Or maybe it is in fact that Christian music’s infiltration of mainstream music is touching other artists. Whatever the answer or non-answer is, there are a lot of questions to be raised.
What do you think? Christian themed music, a fad or genuine?