Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Interview with Imade iN Truth, Part 3

And now, here is the conclusion to my interview with none other than Imade iN Truth!

The SOUL of a Soul Music Lover

peculiar VIrtue [pVI]:  You like to refer to yourself a “Jesus lover” so tell me about the impact He has had on your life. We can just call this Testimony Time! *smile*

Imade iN Truth [IiT]:  I feel speechless because no words can describe how much the love of Jesus changed my life. I never liked God growing up. He was like Joe Jackson to me. I felt like every time I would get a dance step wrong, there was big ol’ Joe Jackson with his belt. Jesus illuminated God’s character to me. Jesus is a man I could entrust my heart to. He completely destroyed the spirit of religion that ravaged my life. He took the biggest burden known to man, self-reliance, and put it on Himself. Now I can be free to make mistakes, quit my job, and passionately love Jesus in unconventional ways. I actually love God now. I’ve never done this before, but I call God my Dad. I trust His heart because He sent His only Son Jesus to die for me. And as a result, this death thing isn’t as frightening, because I know that God will raise me up just like His Son.

pVI:  *raises hand in the air* Yesssss!  LOL  So, because of your spirituality, some readers may have certain expectations for your writing and musical content. I’ll admit that one of your posts that made me do a double-take in that respect, and I’m guessing that others also voiced concerns because your next immediate post was The Imade in Truth Manifesto. Can you share your strategy in using non-Christian music to lead others to Christ? How effective has it been?

IiT: Yes, sure. This strategy first surfaced in my article, Is Christian Hip Hop Wack? I proposed that we go from ridiculing the bride of Christ (and ultimately the people He died for) to nourishing, protecting, and cherishing it just like Christ (Ephesians 5:29). Also in my Imade iN Truth Manifesto, I highlighted how I want to be a bridge between secular and Christian music in order to bring people closer to Jesus.

I learned that the best way to be irrelevant to the world is to know nothing about them. Another way to be irrelevant to the world is to not call out the beauty within them. My blog serves to cover those two responsibilities: to present the most edifying soul music and affirm and encourage artists.

So far, this “strategy” has been working.  Non-Christian music allows me to raise issues that may not always come up in church. I love celebrating the divine beauty in an artist’s music. I try to make my blog a safe place where artists, Christian or non-Christian, can share their spirituality. I’ve talked to mainstream artists who gushed about how their song was really about God and I’ve supported artists who are hoping someone understands their unconventional Christian music. I think that artists have been so psychologically battered by negative thoughts of insecurity. I want my blog to celebrate their creativity and affirm who they are as children of God

pVI:  OK, so this is your unique style of ‘witnessing’. But are there any boundaries or red flags with respect to the music that you feature?

IiT: Yes! If the meaning [message] of the song isn’t clear, or if it is overly sexual and trivializes sex, then I won’t use it.


Visions of the Past, Present and Future

pVI:  What visions do you have for your future in this industry? Any ultimate goals? Fears?

IiT:  Great question! One of my goals is to find a paying job as a music journalist. Yes, the bar is that low! Writing is often considered a “donation”, not a work of art. I’m praying to find paid avenues so I can make writing the focal point of my career. I also want to gain experience in the industry by working side by side with mentors. In my short time as a writer, Sketch the Journalist, Josh from Sphere of Hip Hop, and DJ Pdogg from Reach Records have all invested their time in me in giving great advice. I pray these types of relationships continue. Another short-term goal is to develop my writing voice through expanding my knowledge of music journalism and Christian satire. Writers like Anne Lamott, Donald Miller, and Jonathan Acuff have all influenced my journey to discovering my “voice”.

On the long term, I want to have my editorial pieces syndicated on larger platforms within the Christian and non-Christian music industry. I hope to make my blog more of a multimedia destination where my commentary continues to be the foundation, but more interactive elements such as exclusive listening sessions, concert photos, and video interviews are included. I also would like to write more about the intersection of African-American issues and the entertainment industry. But we shall see!

God has been keeping my fears in check despite how sketchy my current life is. It’s crazy! I do have occasional stress-attacks, but it’s nothing close to how bad it would be if I didn’t feel God’s presence. My greatest concern is not being able to pursue my dreams and support myself. I’m willing to flip burgers for my passion, but I know that I can’t do that for the rest of my life. At this point, I’m moving into my momma’s crib to downgrade and regroup before my next decision. I haven’t had any sky opening signs, but I trust the wisdom He’s given me.

pVI:  Isn't that the way God 'works', though? *smile* Speaking of working, do you have any projects on deck right now? What can readers expect in the near future?

IiT:  Aside from some editorial pieces for a Christian website, I don’t have anything in the works right now. But, readers are always welcome to submit new music!

pVI:  For the benefit of others who would like to make music writing their personal ministry what are some things that you wished prayed someone had told you before you started? Is there anything that, in hind-sight, you now see with 20-20 vision?

IiT:  Having a thick skin is a mandatory requirement. Just because I work in the “Christian” music industry doesn’t mean that I’ll be treated in a Christian way. That was unbelievably disappointing. I wish I learned that many people don’t read or think critically. We like surrounding ourselves with people who tell us what we want to hear. So as a writer, I try to be very clear about my viewpoints in the fewest words possible. I try to guard my heart by not dwelling on negative comments that are not edifying or constructive.

pVI:  Wow... so you mean church folk ain’t *gasp* NICE? #sarcasm  I’m truly sorry to hear that, though. How do you respond to harsh criticism?

IiT:  You know, I got hammered for “Is Christian Hip Hop Wack”. After reading the first couple of negative comments, I just stop. Sometimes responses run the range of human emotion and that helps me inform my writing. 

pVI: That’s a good way to look at it! Now, if you had an ideal project--one in which you controlled all of the variables--what would it be?

IiT: Oh, I know. It would be an in-depth interview with Tonex. It would be a two-part piece: in the studio and in the church with him. My goal for the interview would be to humanize him; get into his thoughts to find out what got him to the point of “B-Slade”

pVI:  I would definitely read that, girl! I really liked Tonex back in the day... Well, before we wrap things up, any final thoughts?

IiT: Simply this: start where you are with what God puts on your heart.

pVI: Excellent advice, girl! Thank you SO much for your time and willingness to do this, and God bless you in all that you do! 

IiT:  Thanks, and God bless you, too! 


  1. I enjoyed reading this interview. Look at you getting your Diane Sawyer on. You go girl :)!

  2. As we would say here in the VI, "Ah tryin' a ting!" [Translation: I'm tryna do a lil sumthin', sumthin'! LOL] So glad ya liked it! :o)