Regent University Sponsors Hip-Hop Conference


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.