Since its humble beginnings in the 1970s, Hip-Hop has had spiritual connections to established religious groups like Islam and Christianity.
However, legend Doug E. Fresh has emerged as the first Hip-Hop artist to publicly embrace the controversial faith known as Scientology.
Fresh confirmed the news via an interview with Essence Magazine, and stated he has been practicing the faith for the last 8 years after being introduced to it through former girlfriend and Hot 97 radio personality Miss Jones.
The faith was founded in the 1950s by L. Ron Hubbard, and uses a mythology centered on the belief that all humans are immortal through a life force/source known as theta.
Through the religions teachings, followers are taught to reach spiritual enlightenment by becoming one with their soul, known as the thetan.
Fresh, who has been an ambassador for Hip-Hop culture for over 25 years and has also incorporated religious themes in his music.
According to Fresh, he is the first Hip-Hop artist to join the religious movement.
“I am the first Hip-Hop artist to do it,” explained to Essence Magazine. “Isaac Hayes was a former coworker of Miss Jones and he told her about it,” said Doug E. Fresh. “I went with her to one of the classes. Miss Jones stopped going but I continued. I found it fascinating. It changed how I thought. I’ve learned how to look at things and not judge them but respect them and use it in a way that people understand that I respect them, show them love and respect their reality.”
Scientology is the object of much media scorn due to reports of brainwashing and a rejection of modern science for illness treatment.
But Doug E. Fresh is hopeful that he can educate those whove never studied the faith for themselves.
“Scientology is not a White religion. It is not just for White people,” Fresh told Essence. “Scientology is not written with disrespect toward God. It doesn’t worship something that is evil. It is scientific, mathematical, and spiritual. The Black community has to check it out and see what’s there. I’m not saying it’s for everyone, but you have to take a look. You may be amazed at what you get.”