Nigger, B*tch and AMEN: Why Meek Mills’ Use Of Biblical Words are Hate Speech

I have to provide some context for the following information. I was on the phone with Pastor Jomo K. Johnson yesterday on a totally unrelated business call. At some point during the call, the subject of his boycott for the song “Amen” by Meek Mills came up. I was immediately intrigued because I have had conversations within my household about this song.

The very first day that I heard it, I almost lost it, right there in the car. Did he just say, “She wanna fuck and I say church (Preach)”? The first time I heard it, my daughter was in the car and she was singing along. Immediately, we had to have a family conversation about the use of words and their context.

There is no doubt that the word, “Amen” is usually reserved for the confirmation or ending of a prayer. Most people who use this word are in the christian community, who live by a certain faith.

Even when the word is said outside of prayer by Christians it is used to mean, “it is done” or “so be it”. A more relaxed (slang) look at the use of the word within the faith community may mean, “yes” or even a substitution for Hallelujah, a word meaning the highest praise that you can give to God.

For me personally, I have used the word interchangeably when I receive what I consider to be good news. “We are going to hire you to speak” may receive an “Amen” or a “Hallelujah” as a sign of acknowledgement and thanksgiving to God.

With hip hop, many people believe that “it’s just a song!” But since this particular song involves some themes that are of the christian faith I believe that it is relevant for me to break down why I find his use of these words to be freedom of hate speech.

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The Lie

A popular poem in school that we were introduced to as young children says, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” We know as adults that not only do words hurt but psychological, emotional. and verbal abuse cannot happen without words. Words can be used to manipulate, distort, desensitize, minimize, provoke, and victimize others. They do hurt individuals and groups of people.

Confronting Meek Mills

In the below video, Pastor Jomo Johnson was on the air as invited to confront Meek Mills about his song and to say that he wanted the song banned. Meek Mills was disrespectful to Pastor Jomo as a man. I’m not focused on the pastor title although this too should be acknowledged, Meek Mills was immature, and unable to hold a sensible conversation; a discourse about how his words may affect the community of listeners that support him.

Instead he acted like an erratic drug addict who was being scolded about their addiction while he was looking for the next fix. He began to shift blame, and to focus on the thousands of coats and shoes that he delivers to the “hood”. To this I say, bull malarky. Meek Mills (without me having a personal assessment of his finances) does not have enough money yet, to go saving a whole city from economic ruin. Stop it!

Pushing Jesus

Unfortunately in that interview Pastor Jomo could not get a word in edgewise but when he did, he immediately told Meek Mills to turn from sin. Many Christians were taken aback including me, who heard the interview. Turn from sin? What?

My husband, daughter and I listened to the interview together. I kept silent because I wanted their reaction, and immediately there was opposition about his “repentance” approach.

Many Christians do not understand that unbelievers do not subscribe to your language. They may not believe what they are doing is sin. Let me give you an example. Teenagers have raging hormones, and they are often irresponsible and make poor decisions especially when they are under pressure. To teach my daughter about not having sex, I did not throw the bible at her and tell her she was going to hell everyday.

Instead, I talked to her about her value, and found parables to help her to understand what her choices were and how keeping herself holy was increasing her value. I do not have time to dedicate to that subject, but I did not pressure her or call other girls names if they were promiscuous. I simply focused on who God made her to be.

Children are smart! She came to me one time and asked, “Well if God will forgive you of your sin, why do my friends’ parents tell them they are going to hell if they have sex?” Their approach did not work, but that is altogether another article.

Pastor Jomo used his time to convey the message that he thought was important. As he said, “I’m a preacher!” He intentionally shared the message that confession was necessary and he should repent of his sin and change his life.

I DO NOT BELIEVE IN GOD

Some fans and bloggers have tried to say that Meek Mills said, “I ONLY believe in God,” but that is a lie. The radio station confirmed, and my ears heard clearly that Meek Mills admitted that he does NOT believe in a GOD.

But this is not the only song that he references words that are christian faith themed. I will prove that later. Meek even said in the interview with Jomo that his grandmother went to church, and that his family was christian. He was not too upset to speak, he said exactly what he meant.

On the hit BET show “106 & Park”, he said it again only he added that half of his family is Christian, and the other half is Muslim. He never said that he was a believer of any religion, he never claimed affiliation with any deity.

What is Hate Speech?

Hate speech is a communication that carries no meaning other than the expression of hatred for some group, especially in circumstances in which the communication is likely to provoke violence. It is an incitement to hatred primarily against a group of persons defined in terms of race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, religion, sexual orientation, and the like. Hate speech can be any form of expression regarded as offensive to racial, ethnic and religious groups and other discrete minorities or to women. – Source

What is a Hate Crime?

A hate crime is a traditional offense like murder, arson, or vandalism with an added element of bias. For the purposes of collecting statistics, Congress has defined a hate crime as a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, ethnic origin or sexual orientation.” Hate itself is not a crime—and the FBI is mindful of protecting freedom of speech and other civil liberties.

The Argument

As the FBI says, hate is not a crime. However, hate speech is what we can call the “Amen” song because of the widely viewed offense that this expression has had against the people in a particular faith or religious group.

In addition, Christians in response to Pastor Jomo’s interview have become a target for persecution of judgmental name calling by unbelievers.

In other words they are making reckless comments stating that Christians are judgmental when in fact, their name calling and foul comments are actually perpetuating hate speech. Just check out the comments sections of the blogs, and videos that I have included in this article. Many of the comments are unfounded and unnecessary.

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Many times people feel judged when they are wrong, reprimanded or confronted. This happens in every area of all our lives, not just a religious community. I do not agree with the approach that Pastor Jomo chose, but I do not believe that his way had any ill intent nor do I believe he was “wrong”.

Nigger, Bitch and Amen

This article is my personal perspective on the issue with the song. The word nigger was used as a derogatory term, and was used during slavery. As a result, there are still arguments among black people who feel that this word carried so much pain, segregation, and slavery in it, that it should be buried, unspoken and unable to be used in our current slang as Nigga.

What has happened however is a complete desensitization of the word, and now you will hear white men say the word on television, and in movies. Debates have ensued about the difference between, “Nigger” and “Nigga”. This word, Nigger is one that represents racial inequality.

The word Bitch is a word that men often call women. Over the years, this word has evolved from a taboo word that would start a girl on girl fight to, use by women for their closest female friends. There is nothing endearing about a woman being called a female dog. I have even started hearing women call men bitches.

The word is derogatory but somehow the more that it is used, the more that society accepts it. This word is the only thing I really can not stand about Kevin Hart’s stand up comedy. The word bitch is an example of gender inequality, even in men. Now that women have started calling men this, the meaning behind it is to propose that the man is acting like a woman or that he is effeminate.

While Nigger is racial inequality, Bitch is gender inequality, I believe that the use of Amen is religious inequality. It is not just the use of the word, but its placement. Additionally, he has been very forthcoming with stating that he does not believe in God. If this be true, why use words that mock who we believe in?

His actions are not better than if  a christian were to burn a Quran because they did not feel that it was important. Or, a Muslim to burn a bible. Not only has this song desensitized non believers to the church and relationship with God, but it has desensitized believers.

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Music has power. In fact in the christian faith it is believed that Satan was in charge of music before being thrown out of the kingdom of heaven. Music has a way of influencing you. This is why your friends tell you not to listen to sad songs when you have just broken up with your boyfriend or girlfriend. There are various categories of music based on how the music makes you feel. Some people focus their energies on the beat but I have taught my daughter to listen to the lyrics.

Meek Mills is childish. He feels picked on but he’s not. There are other songs out there the are sacrilegious, and blasphemous. Those songs are not acceptable either however the boldness with which “Meek shall inherit the earth” (another line where he inserted himself biblically) has written and released this song leaves the entire christian community questioning why this kind of speech is acceptable.

There is a very big difference in catchy punch lines, and mocking someone’s God. I guess we do have freedom of hate speech. I believe that this kind of music should be intolerable. Keep the beat, sell it to someone else and create an amazing song, but this one has to go!

Reverence

The real argument is the fact that the word amen and holy ghost are not used in reverence. I would NEVER mock someone’s God or their most precious elements that make up what they believe. I may not necessarily agree but I would not make fun of someone else’s God whether I believe that they exist or not.

For many, their spiritual practice is what keeps them grounded and is the foundation of who they are. If by your mocking someone they were to respond in shock (pressured to figure out who they are simply because you do not approve of them) it really could send them into a whirlwind of uncertain experiences. We need to be sensitive to people and their practices. Do not mistake me for saying that you should agree with them, because that is not my point at all.

When you take any word that is holy (whether perceived by you or another group of people), and you overuse it in a derogatory statement, you desensitize people to its power.

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I hope that people will set aside the thought of the word being linked to Christianity, and see it for the spiritual relevance that it holds for a community who feels disrespected by your use of words that you do not identify with. And because you do not identify with them, you may not understand that the word is perceived to be holy.

Rappers who use the comparison of their work, and the holy ghost mock God. You think you have a hot metaphor when in fact you are comparing yourself with what YOU believe (because you said it), to be an omnipresent being to which you are not.

The song is obviously irreverent but the undertone of the song, the uncaring freedom of hate speech in the song is what is scary. There is no differentiation between the church experience and the world with this song.

Boycott Amen

By the time I am hearing about this (in October), the boycott was ended because Pastor Jomo received an apology indirectly from Meek Mills.

I’m not sure that I would consider Meek Mills’ appearance on BET as an apology, nor would I stop because of the apology, but I do hope that some of Meek Mills’ listeners remember that he is a man, not God and hear the counter-perspective  on his music.

“And me, I wasn’t trying to disrespect no religion or anything like that,” he added. “My whole family is Christian. I have a half Christian, half Muslim family. The situation, the song, that’s what energy it felt. And if anybody feel disrespected, I ain’t do it in that way and I ain’t drop the song with bad intentions. I did it just because it was a good feeling — that’s the feeling it gave me so I said, ‘Amen, church.’ “- Meek Mills, Rapper

Based on what Meek Mills says in this supposed apology, I believe that he drives home my point. Our relationship with God begins in the spirit however emotionally we feel good as a result of this energy.

There are many things that we do in life that are not performed with ill intentions but that is not a determinant of its fallacy. Further, we as Christians are not supposed to live by our feelings but by our spiritual walk.

There are many Christian songs that are led by their flesh that I will not listen to. There is no spiritual evidence for me in the music. There are many examples of experiences that offer us a good feeling but are not spiritually right. I am sure we could all come up with a few examples.

Many people play the “blame” game with this and no one did it better than Meek Mills during this situation. He brought up Eddie Long’s child sexual abuse grooming during his interview, and he even asked Pastor Jomo about his past. None of which had anything to do with the song.

From a spiritual perspective we are asking that the words used to identify the God that we hold as the creator and GOD, would be respected, reverenced and preserved. Just as I would never say anything disrespectful that would devalue what Muslims hold to be true in Allah. Making fun of each other’s God causes wars and it is immature. The my God or No God is better approach is dangerous.

Using the “feeling” that others get when they are in church to attach to a song that promotes anti-church themes is morally confusing, and corrupt. It is true that no one is perfect. It is true that we all make errors and we have an opportunity to correct them.

This song is deeper than a christian stamp on a secular message.

“We are teaching our children to be confused,

and to “feel” like church when you “feel” like sinning.” – Ressurrection

I can say this because he used multiple words including church, sin, Lord, and amen in his songs, but he is not a christian. For the record, even if he were a christian it would be wrong and this song would still be anti-christian because of the content.

I believe that Pastor Jomo should revisit this boycott and form a petition on change.org.

Nigger, Bitch and Amen: racial, gender and religious inequality.

If someone used words out of context, that you hold reverent in your spiritual language, would it be important for you to counteract the freedom of hate speech with your own freedom to speak?

About Me

Ressurrection is a child sexual abuse prevention and healing relationship mentor. She has authored several book including her memoir, Identity Crisis, Identity Christ Is: A Journey to Love and has created the only online healing program for incest survivors. Ressurrection is a speaker on child sexual abuse grooming and the role of spiritual abuse in sexual violence. She also speaks upon request and is available by email at: ressurrection dot wordpress at yahoo dot com. Subscribe—–> on the right!

 

About Ressurrection

Ressurrection Graves is a Child Sexual Abuse Grooming Expert and H.E.A.L.E.R. (Healer, Educator, Activist, Life Skills Expert, Empowerment Speaker, Relationship Mentor) Her website reaches readership in 188 countries. She is available for national speaking engagements, radio and television interviews. She can be reached at: 202.717.7377 or send your request to: ressurrection dot wordpress at yahoo dot com or comment on http://www.ressurrection.wordpress.com
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4 Responses to Nigger, B*tch and AMEN: Why Meek Mills’ Use Of Biblical Words are Hate Speech

  1. Stacie says:

    Powerful and well stated points. I agree and thank you for having the courage to not only write it but post and share with the world.

  2. Pingback: Rapper Meek Mills’ Rape Lyrics | Love, Life, and Relationships: Overcoming Emotional and Child Sexual Abuse

  3. Some great points here, will be looking forward to your future updates.

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