Black Jesus: Did The Game Ghetto-rize the Gospel?

“Religious images destroy the psychology of the Black Man/Who is crucified then vilified” – “Crucified”, Professor Griff

Last month, rapper ”The Game” raised eyebrows when he released the cover art for his upcoming CD, Jesus Piece, which featured a thugged-out “Black Jesus” wearin’ a bandana. The controversy was further fueled with the weekly “Sunday Service” pre-release teases that featured songs like “Holy Water” and “Black Jesus”, in which the Game portrays himself as The Ghetto Messiah.

In interviews, The Game has talked about his strong Christian beliefs and how Jesus Piece is about the conflict that arises when you are trying to do good in a world that rewards those who do evil.

I get that.

But the question becomes, is it necessary to Ghetto-rize the Gospel in order to reach the young Black males in the ‘hood? Wouldn’t it be more beneficial to give the youth the true image of “Jesus,” instead of tryin’ to make the Prince of Peace an OG?

The Game is not the first to try to make the Bible more appealing to young folks by replacing the King James version with a more King of Rock style.

In 1993, P.K. McCary published the Black Bible Chronicles, in which she tried to make “The Word” more hip. Not to mention the attempts by gospel artists like Kirk Franklin to mix Hip-Hop with their music in order to reach the people in the clubs on Saturday Night who might not make it to service on Sunday morning. Also, a more socially conscious, “Black Jesus” by Tupac and The Outlawz was released in 1999 that begged a more laid back Black Messiah to come save the ‘hood.

But as the scriptures teach us, it is the Truth that is going to make us free. And the truth is that the image of the blue eyed, blond haired Jesus is just as historically inaccurate as The Game’s CD cover, and this image has been more destructive to Black children than gangsta rap ever was.

This is the story that must be told.

The idea that the historical Jesus (Yeshua ben Yosef) was Black is not new, and its origins can be traced back as far as Bishop Henry McNeal Turner who, in the 19th century, preached about the importance of Black people embracing a Black deity.

During the early 20th century, this was also echoed by Marcus Garvey of the Universal Negro Improvement League and Archbishop George McGuire of the African Orthodox Church. According to William Mosley in his book, What Color Was Jesus, during the 1924 UNIA Convention, McGuire ordered that “all white pictures of Jesus and Mary” in homes and churches be “torn down and burned.”

The ’60s saw the creation of Black Liberation Theology, which was advocated by ministers and theologians such as Rev. Albert Cleage (Jaramogi Abebe Agyeman) author of The Black Messiah, and Dr. James Cone (Black Theology /Black Power). It must be noted that most of the early practitioners of the theology spoke of a “Black Christ” merely in symbolic terms.

However during the late ’80s and early ’90s, with the coming of the Afrocentric movement, historians such as Dr. Ishakamusa Barashango (Afrikan People and European Holidays) and Dr. John Henrik Clarke (The Boy Who Painted Christ Black) began to give historical proof to challenge traditional Euro-centric image of Yeshua.

According to historian, Dr. Yosef ben Jochannan in his work “Our Black Seminarians and Black Clergy Without a Black Theology”, it was Michelangelo who painted the first pictures of a White Jesus, using his cousin as a model in 1512 at the request of Pope Julius II.

Furthermore, Dr. Barashango pointed out that, contrary to popular belief, Yeshua was actually a revolutionary who was crucified for the crime of stirring up the people against the Roman Empire. This is contrary to the fragile looking White person who only preached about “turning the other cheek” and “loving your enemies.” Neither philosophy is very popular in a community plagued by racism and police brutality.

A few Hip-Hop artists have been bold enough to challenge the image of a Caucasian Christ. One of the first was Professor Griff back in the early ’90s with his song “Crucified”. Also on “B.I.B.L.E. (Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth)”, Killah Priest claimed that one of the most popular images of “Jesus” was actually Cesare Borgia, son of Pope Alexander VI. More recently, in 2004 on the remix of Jadakiss’ “Why”, Nas asks the question, “Why is Jesus Christ never played by Black actors?”

However, most rap artists have – skillfully – avoided the issue, parroting the same line that Pastor Johnson gives: “What difference does color make?” While ignoring the obvious, “if it didn’t matter why was he painted white in the first place?”

Even on “Jesus Walks,” although Kanye West rapped about Jesus walking with “drug dealers and even the strippers,” when it came to challenging the false European image, he said, ”I’m not here to argue ‘bout his facial features…”

Rappers know which lines not to cross.

What The Game must realize is that the Black-on-Black violence that he talks about on “Black Jesus” can be directly attributed to the lack of kinship that our youth feel with the Creator. And it is easy to kill someone who you believe was not made in the image of God. Also, it’s hard to tell people to stand up against racism when they believe that the deity whom they worship condones it.

We must not be afraid to speak the truth to our children who are looking for answers as to why African Americans are suffering disproportionately from long prison sentences, police brutality, unemployment, and other social ills.

Like ‘Pac and The Outlawz said:

“We need help out here, so we search for Black Jesus.”

Don’t we all, brothers? Don’t we all…

TRUTH Minista Paul Scott’s weekly column is “This Ain’t Hip Hop,” a column for intelligent Hip Hop headz. He can be reached at, on his website,, or on Twitter (@truthminista).

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  • king

    Now that’s church…..

  • 2050AA

    @truthminista I applaud you on your article which raises the question of how can we really spread the truth to the youth without, I guess, devaluing the truth with the imagery Game is putting out there. But putting the “truth” out there for the youth is something the youth should find out for themselves. As opposed to a person who’s existence is questionable anyway (from what I find he doesn’t exist) at least let the youth discern for themselves before these black “leaders” coerce them into painting a black face on a being that they, the youth, might deem questionable.

  • game is a fool. if you are chistian you should be completely disgusted by it.

  • “And it is easy to kill someone who you believe was not made in the image of God.” yeah i dont think that has anything to do with it.

  • white peole think jesus was white black people think jesus was black lol.. both are foolish. i wonder what asians think jesus was? HA Do rabbits think jesus was a rabbit? Do mice think he was a mouse?

  • Oknas

    People dont like the truth because it makes them feel stupid to know they were wrong, who wants to feel stupid? lol Ignorance is bliss, I came to accept the fact that if i dont know something im not going to come up with my own conclusion and make it fact and tell people that’s a fact. That’s why it’s always good to keep an open mind about things, i say make truth,positivity and life be your religion not something that was written on text( by man). If “god” wrote the bible why dont “god” come down here right now and tell us that instead of writing it in a book thats been remixed by many men? lol

    • KnowlegeisPower

      If you cracked open the BIble, you’d know the answer to your own question. Fool.

      • Oknas

        No it wouldnt fool cuz its man made fool

    • Ade Oba Tokunbo

      SPIRITUALITY is truth, positivity, and life. religion is falsehood, negativity, and death.

  • MiiUziWeighsATon

    Whose truth you speaking on…..Isa ibnul Maryam (Jesus the son of Mary) has been the object of lies since Paul created the lie of the trinity to appeal to the polytheistic/demigod worshipping Romans…the Gospel been ghetto-tized since black folk got a hold of it….go to any black church and look at the show that gets put on….mafukkaz jumping, shouting, fainting and farting in the name of the Holy Ghost…sort of reminds me of what used to happen when 50,000 fans saw Micheal Jackson moonwalk….Game is just doing what he is conditioned to do…capitalize off his faith just like Pastor James and them….it should be no gripe about how Game views his false diety…you can not blaspheme against a god that aint God, The One True God,The Creator of All that Exist, The One who created Adam from dust and Created Isa (alaihis salaamu) from His Word Be in the virgin womb of His abd (slave) Maryum (alaihis salaam)…

    • RasAfro

      Jesus was Never Created, He was there In The beginning! Just because the Gospel has been Ghetto-rized, It doesn’t mean that The True Gospel does Not exist. The True Revelation of who Jesus Christ is comes through Himself (God Almighty) so I wont waste too much time trying to act like I got it all figured out but I believe wholeheartedly that He is Who He says He is..The Son Of The Living God, that the Highest rank Beside God, not a prophet…

      • MiiUziWeighsATon

        Believing and knowing are two different things…The One True God was there before the beginning as we know it…The One True God then brought forth His Creation…the angels, the shaitaan and his race called the jinn…the heavens and the earth and all that exist in between and nowhere is Christ mentioned textually…when Allah created Adam alaihis salaam He called everything created forth to bear witness to His greatest creation, which was Adam alaihis salaam and none of those who came forth was Christ because Christ did not exist…the myth of Christ alaihis salaam being the son of God is just that, a myth and a myth is a made up story, in essence a lie…to say Allah has an offspring as man and animals do is to debase God and it brings him to our level and if God is like us then He would not be worthy of worship, praise, etc…Allah is free from the lies Paul made up to feel important homie…The trinity is a myth like Zeus impregnating Hercules and Perseus’ moms is a myth but if Paul was going to have his made up religion accepted by Ceasar he had to come with something familiar and the Trinity is that something…nowhere does Christ call himself the son of God in original text, he said he was the Son of Man…however…in the stripped down, fabricated text of the various Bibles (over 1500 different Bibles that all vary textually) anythings possible…if Isa ibnul Maryam alaihis salaam was God why did he pray, why did he become fearful when the Romans came for him, why did he bleed and cry out…Allah is free from such things…God is much more than that and if Christ were the son of Allah wouldn’t he too be free from such things…of course he would, why would the son of God be fearful of his dads creation…common sense homie, common sense…and no man can bear the burden of another…Christ didnt die for you and I, if he did their wouldnt be any further need for pray, belief, no one would have to stand before God for judgement…there would be no devil or Hell…

      • KnowlegeisPower

        Bravo, bravo. You clearly do not seem to know where Islam came from since you are pushing Allah so hard. Trying to kick knowledge like a 5 but sounding like a misguided 85er. lol

      • MiiUziWeighsATon

        First off the 5% are five percent of nothing….Islaam is the religion or Deen of Allah, taught by all prophets and messengers and concluded and finalized with Muhammad ibn Abdullah…not Elijah Poole….not Fard Muhammad both false prophets…actually Fard was a con man who used religion to dupe his victims…see The Assassination of Malcolm X by Karl Evanzz, a former Nation of Islam member….the 5% Nation of whatever being an offshoot from the Nation…nothing you can tellme about it…was born in it, not sworn in it…my dad ran with Dean Shabaaz and Farrakhan and the rest of them thru out the late 50s up until he died in 78 bruh….was a 5% for a short spell as well back in the day and the shyt just didnt sit right within my intellectual range…so I moved on and Allah gave me Islaam in its true form….I know mine homie…I suggest you seek out yours…if what I said stings ya heart the truth will do may not be your truth but that fact doesn’t make it any less…Allah seals the eyes, the ears and the hearts of those who make a mockery of His truth…u seek to debate not learn…and I do not entertain that…u want to debate, go to college and join a debate team….ilm or knowledge, when sought out with sincere niyyah or intentions, you talk less, listen more, enquire and do the research

      • RasAfro

        Islam base most of its claim and reference to the Bible but it has remixed the truth…that what makes it false the book of Ezekiel, No being in Heaven is forced to Worship God, they do so out of free will, when Shaitaan/Satan vowed 5 times that he will make himself higher tham The Most High God thats when he messed up and do to his pride and deception he fooled 1/3 of the angels that got kicked out of Heaven with him Get your Facts straight…(and nowhere did satan ask for respite from God)

        2) Like I told you before, Explaining the divinity of Jesus Christ to you would be a futile exercise, coz evidently you are a staunch Muslim and not only that, It is through divine revelation that you may understand who Jesus Christ really is, but you have to seek by praying and reading the Bible (and not by simply rejecting it). Me telling you this thing here won’t help.

        3) I know it is hard if all your life you’ve been taught to believe one thing, and someone comes along and tells you another thing, it is natural to reject the new…but again my brother, I do not know how busy your life is, but make some time and start studying the Bible and Pray to Jesus Christ, earnestly and dilligently out of thirst for the true God, and He will reveal Himself to you..coz what we are doing here is touting our faiths..but there is my challenge to you,

      • RasAfro

        The Trinity explains and represents the 3 dispensations God Almighty have used to manifest himself towards mankind, In the beginning Man walked and talked to God, when Man sinned, he was separated from God, but God used prophets to further his message and to prophesize HIs Coming as the Messiah (the saviour, Cristos aka Christ) so He came through the Person of Jesus Christ born through a Virgin birth and as a Man to demonstrate, what a perfect man and how man should live like, HE WAS WITHOUT ANY SIN! (a claim no one in world history has made)..Jesus ascended to Heaven but sent the Holy Spirit (who is GOD=Jesus) so basically it is God in three forms God the Father Almighty, God in form of the Son (Man) who is Jesus Christ, God in form of Spirit (Holy Spirit) Thats why Jesus is Worthy to be Worshipped!..and Let me correct some things in your thread

        1)shaitaan/Satan/Lucifer..Used to be an Arch angel in Heaven, who led a section of angels in worship, but was kicked out of heaven after he vowed to be greater than God, him and the angels (who later became demons/jinns in arabic..majini in swahili) that he deceived were whooped and chased away when a war erupted in Heaven when Michael (an Arch Angel in charge of protection) kicked the devils ass and the Bible says he (satan fell like lightening) this is in the book of Ezekiel

      • RasAfro

        Remember when the Pharasees, were amazed when they saw Jesus Heal and drove out unclean spirits (jinns=demons), something that had not been done in the world before, not even in the Old testament…and they asked themselves what new doctrine is this? He speaks with authority, heals the sick drives out unclean spirits and claims to be God? Remember in the Gospel on Luke when Jesus cast out demons from the mad man? and the demons=jins begged Jesus to send them to the pigs coz it was not their time to be punished and they referred to Jesus as the Holy Son of God.

      • MiiUziWeighsATon

        Symbolism will not make what you are saying factual…

        All the Prophets and Messengers were infallible…all of them perfect…as Christ was…

        Christ ascended to heaven then sent the Holy Ghost which is he back to earth….you’re words and they are non-sense…this statement has no truth to it…First there was God who is Jesus according to you, then he fathered himself, appeared in the womb of Mary as himself but he’s his own father, then he died, ascended to heaven and then sent himself back as the Holy Spirit…non-sense and it goes against the very essence of our ability to reason…but to each his own

        And you cant teach me anything Allah hasn’t…Angels are beings God created to serve his every beck and call, they worship, praise and exalt His Name relentlessly without tiring…they do not uave free will…shaitaan or the devil however when commanded to bow down to Allah’s greatest creation, which was Adam, shaitaan REFUSED arrogantly before his Creator, is why shaitaan is cursed and is why he became an avowed enemy to man because the shaitaan blames man for his falling from grace with his Lord and God…shaitaan asked Allah for respite, to give him a chance to prove man’s unworthiness as being labeled Allah’s greatest creation and Allah granted shaitaan that…shaitaan then proceeded to decieved Adam and his wife/companion with the whole forbidden fruit, etc

  • MiiUziWeighsATon

    I also wanna know this….if King James’ depiction of Christ is false…then who is this gay looking, big lipped nigga with the perm supposed to be….just curious….who “Created” this false image of Christ…see this is why Allah commanded Musa (Moses) alaihi salaam with the 10 Commandments and the second Commandment speaks on taken graven images for worship whether they are cut from stone or painted…false dieties presented in false imagery to be falsely worshipped and to be used as a device to lead the ignorant further astray…this picture of Black Jesus is just as damaging as the white image…none of us knows what Isa alaihi salaam looks like EXACTLY…what we do know is he was born without a father by miraculous standards, he was born a prophet of Allah, he taught spirituality and morality and he did not come to change that which came before him, he ate, slept, urinated, defecated, and was human thru and tbru…in fact we know Is shares no Divinity because ash shaitaan picked him up in his arms and carried Christ like a baby, all the while trying to tempt himvto denouse Allah for the treasures of the world, which was a lie in and of itself because shaitaan owns nothing of Allah’s Creation, so he was attempti.g to decieve Isa…my point is this…if God created the devil how did Isa or Jesus get carried by his Creation…..there’s a blasphemous lie in this very story and a proof that Isa is not God nor does he share in any of Allah’s Divinity…how can the devil CARRY GOD, WHO IS THE ALL MIGHTY, ALL POWERFUL, ALL ENCOMPASSING AND CAN NEVER BE SURPASSED, CONQUERED OR DEFEATED…Ima stop here…wake up

    • KnowlegeisPower

      I suggest you study the origin of your faith…that is if you are a Muslim, I presume. Knowledge is power. Your looking to educate and yet you seem to lack an understanding where your own beliefs stem from. Maybe YOU need to wake up. There is so much wrong with your statement.

  • Jesus of Nazareth was a jewish carpenter. enough said.

    • Stack309

      That’s right!

    • Ade Oba Tokunbo

      Yeshua bar-Yosef was a Zebulunite carpenter. nuff said.

  • silviomaiasilva

    is ’bout FAITH and JUST LIKE, 2012 years IS the same thing…

  • brotha_man

    The instinct to believe is identical with the instinct to survive. To the skeptic, religion may be a constant cause of doubt, but to the believer,it is an ever present help. – Manly P. Hall-