Last night I suffered through a Toby Mac concert. I was mortified, leaving the arena feeling like I'd just watched the film Fruitvale Station. Okay, maybe not that bad but you get the picture. I was disturbed as I watched this European American man describe his music as a "pot of gumbo" that included soul, funk, hip hop, etc. And then as he rocked the stage with the "Diverse City" band, Toby Mac, rapping and whispering songs as commonly done in the hip hop community. I took to Google and learned that [51 year old] Toby Mac actually considers himself a hip hop artist. Between that and the nearly sold out arena of European American brethren going wild when the African American drummer kicked of the evening by proclaiming "white lives matter, black lives matter...all lives matter," in that order, I nearly lost it.
It is far too common for European Americans and Euro-dominated structures to appear to love black culture but not black bodies. I watched folks get down in that arena but question when the last time they noticed that both K-Love 104.5 (the tour sponsor) and Spirit 105.3, the local FM Christian radio stations, lack black lives in their line up. While there is a lot of Toby Mac in rotation - who is clearly heavily influenced by black culture - there is no Lecrae, no Trip Lee, no T. Haddy, no Bizzle. There is no Tasha Cobbs, no Kirk Franklin, no Mali Music. What there is, are campaigns to raise and send money to African and Asian countries experiencing high poverty, but no mention of families having led-poisoned water legally entering their homes in Flint, Michigan. There are, clips celebrating Nancy Reagan and her commitment to the war on drugs which disproportionately criminalized and penalized black people versus providing treatment (which is still a contributing factor in disproportionately today).
I wish I could be pleased with the presentation last night, I really do. But that representation was another reminder that my European American family loves to appropriate black culture and announce that all lives matter in predominately Euro spaces, in my black face (even if it is the black drummer who does it), but deny my history, not know my history, not have to know my history, resent me for sharing my history, and then block or ignore the historical blocking of access and opportunity for those that look like me.
Let me conclude this by saying that I am unashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and that Jesus is my Lord, my Savior. And that we, believers in Christ Jesus, must do better.