Chance the Rapper’s God-centric Grammys Performance Was an Important Reminder of the Role Faith Plays in the Black Community

LOS ANGELES, CA – FEBRUARY 12: Recording artists Chance The Rapper (L) and Kirk Franklin perform onstage during The 59th GRAMMY Awards at STAPLES Center on February 12, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

It was a moment to celebrate a part of black culture that rarely gets its props in the mainstream.

Chance the Rapper thanked God like a trillion times in his acceptance speech for Best New Artist at Sunday night’s Grammys. Then he took the Grammys to church with a passionate, gospel-filled performance that featured a poppin’ choir, Kirk Franklin, and Tamela Mann. It was a rousing, meaningful on-stage moment for the 23-year-old Chicago rapper, who won his first three Grammy awards that evening with no record sales. 

Performing a medley of “How Great,” “All We Got” and “No Problem” from his groundbreaking album “Coloring Book,” Chance was playing no games. The show was slowly creeping into its third hour, but the rapper was was not only brimming with energy, he was demanding it of the audience, too.

“Hey y’all better stand up right now, stop playing,” he bellowed halfway through the performance. “I’m talking about God!”

The story of black people and God, or at least the Christian God, is obviously fraught. It was the Bible and Christianity that were ostensibly used to as tools towards the enslavement and colonization of Africans. But it was the same Bible, the same God, that stood at the center of so many spiritual and political movements that helped black people become free. It’s complicated.

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SOURCE: Zeba Blay 
Huffington Post