“White Kid/Black Culture”. I want to share some of my story since I grew up a lot different than most white people and have had unique experiences that many have not gone through. My prayer is that these posts would help encourage many and bring about more unity in a divided country. I’m going to make this a 3 part series so please be patient with me. I plan to ultimately get to more current situational stuff with this.
In my early years my life was like most white Americans and I was surrounded by mainly white people and very little minorities. I admired African-American athletes such as Michael Jordan and Barry Bonds but I was pretty sheltered. Then in 3rd grade that drastically changed when my Mom and my 3 brothers moved to inner city Pittsburgh. I started going to a diverse school called Colfax Elementary in Squirrel Hill. I hated it at first and was bullied and called honkie by black kids at school. I cried every morning telling my Mom I wanted to move back to the suburbs but then after a few months I actually began to love that school. Thanks Mom for not allowing us to grow up in sheltered cozy America. I became good friends with many black kids and from then on I have to say that black culture helped raised me.
My favorite shows were In Living Color, Martin and Living Single. Some of my favorite movies were New Jersey Drive, Hoop Dreams, and Above the Rim. And of course I was immersed in hip-hop culture. I’d sit by the radio every night dubbing the Top 8 at 8 on the WAMO station to cassette tape. Every day after school me and Tim would watch Rap City and Yo MTV Raps watching our favorite rappers. Nas, Smif N Wessun, Wu-Tang, 2Pac, Common, Mobb Deep, etc. I wore Cross Colours, Karl Kani, Mecca, Pelle Pelle, Boss, and a few years later First Down,Ecko, Phat Farm, Enyce, Fubu, etc. In the 5th grade I joined the African-American Quiz Show team at Colfax and helped our school win 1st place in the city. I studied material from Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, MLK, W.E.B. Du Bois and many others. I also memorized numerous accomplishments, inventions, and historical facts about many great African-Americans that led to us dominating the competition. This helped instill in me tremendous respect for the history of the African-American struggle in American and the many great accomplishments made despite insurmountable odds.
In 6th grade I attended Reizenstein Middle School which was 85% black and known for being one of the most rugged schools in the city. There were lots of fights and can’t lie it was intimidating. Remember I was a 6th grader and was a little bol before I was gettin swole lol. I was the only white bol in my class. Dudes in my class would clown me for being a virgin. Yes in 6th grade I’m not lying. Then for 2 years we moved back to the suburbs where I went to a school that was the complete opposite demographic. I got constantly made fun of for my dress, musical taste and was called “wigger” on a regular basis by the white students. That didn’t deter me from being who I was though. I didn’t change my style up one bit.
I attended high school in inner city Pittsburgh at Taylor Allderdice High School (where the likes of Curtis Martin, Wiz Khalifa, and Mac Miller went). It was a diverse school and was one of only a few white kids on the basketball team. My love for hip-hop continued to grow, particularly underground hip-hop. I would wild out at parties and freestyle but didn’t write or perform any actual songs. I was a nominal Christian who thought I was a good person since occasionally I would attend the same church Mr. Rogers went to and would check out “Our Daily Bread” before bed sometimes. Turns out I was dead in my sins and in need of a Savior.
Then in college the Lord saved me and the dude who lived right next to me always bumped Christian hip-hop, which I had never heard of before except for DC Talk. I went to church with him at a faulty oneness pentacostal church (until Tim told me how faulty it was and I bounced). I helped serve in a black Christian organization called Warriors for Christ and my closest friends in college at the University of Delaware were black.
I would drive up to Philly on a regular basis to fellowship with Timothy, Shai, DJ Essence, J-Silas and many others. The rest is history- I started rapping for the Lord and have been putting out music for the Lord for the last 15 years spitting all over America and the entire world. I’m grateful to have been able to have a platform via hip-hop that was started by black people in times of struggle. The reason I started rhyming for the Lord was to reach people who were suffering in particular and I’ve always felt that was the lane God wanted me in. So right now, I am here for my friends who are suffering due to injustice and police brutality in America.
I stand with them in the fight for justice. Christ Jesus cares about justice and He is going to bring justice. It might look different than we expect but I know He cares.
Isaiah 42:1-4 “Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights, I have put my Spirit upon Him. He will bring forth justice to the nations. He will not cry aloud or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street; a bruised reed he will not break and a faintly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice. He will not grow faint or be discouraged till he has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands wait for his law.”