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Regent University Sponsors Hip-Hop Conference

Regent

University, headed up

by religious man Pat Robertson is sponsoring a conference on "The

Hip-Hop Nation", to try to help adults understand "Urban

Youth Culture", and its appeal on teenagers. “Churches don’t

get the rap thing,” the Rev. Eugene Rivers III, the conference’s

featured speaker, said Friday. “They still don’t get rock ‘n’

roll 50 years later. They still don’t get Elvis Presley.”

“Rap and hip-hop

are the voices of the post-civil rights generation, for kids black

and white,” Rivers said. About 100 people attended the conference’s

opening session Thursday night. “We’re interested in how faith

and culture interact,” said organizer Benson Fraser, who is teaching

a class on hip-hop culture this semester. “We feel faith can

help shape culture but often doesn’t, especially in the arts.”

Rivers said churches

mistakenly condemn some hip-hop music as obscene without understanding

the reasons behind the lyrics. “Obscene lyrics are in more cases

than not a product of obscene circumstances,” Rivers said. “If

I’m going to decry the obscenity of the lyrics … I must decry

as vigorously the obscene conditions which provoked the lyrics,

such as poverty." The conference ends this week.

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