Rap reaching young people with positive message

By Krystal Allan - bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - It's a movement with a message pulled straight from scripture.

"I felt like if we wanted to reach the street, we had to go to them with a language they understood," says Anthony Thompson, Pastor of Tabernacle of Faith Ministries.

Local ministers, community leaders and artists like The Otherside, are stepping up to take the raunch out of rap and get young people back on the right track.

"Stray away from the music that's gonna make you wind up in jail, music that's telling you to  rob somebody, music telling you to sell dope and ride on 24's.  We're going to tell you to praise God, and give it all to God. That's what we're gonna tell you," says Myrtis Horne with The Otherside.

Young people seem to be getting the message.

"You can turn something that people say is bad and you can use it for something good," says Rachel Winston of Atlanta, GA.

"At least they (adults) can say that the kids who listen to it get a point out of it," says Octavia Gordon of Biloxi.

Though the music promotes positive lifestyles, the two ministers backing the effort realize everyone won't understand what they're trying to do.

"If you go back over the years, when they first started doing gospel the way we know it now, it was negative back then.  Anything you do that's going to change people, you're going to have a fight, and I'm ready to fight," says Pastor Thompason.

Though the music might not move everyone, some say it seems to resonate with those who need it the most, the young people of South Mississippi.

"God is saying okay it's time to go forward now and take my streets back," says Horne.

Pastor Thompson agrees.

"Instead of criticizing us, just pray for us as as we go endeavor to go and win back the streets," Thompson says.

Crystal Alliance Music Group organized the effort. The goal is to have shows like this in outdoor parks and churches throughout the state in the summer. Elder Lori Thompson of the host church and Pastor Anthony Thompson of Tabernacle of Faith Ministries in Gulfport are the pastors overseeing the effort.