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.