Kevin Hart Takes on the Cancel Culture

For decades comedian-actor-producer Kevin Hart has been a Hollywood box-office cash magnet.

Hart has starred in a string of successful films, including “Think Like a Man,” “Grudge Match,” “Ride Along,” “Ride Along 2,” “Central Intelligence,” and the “Jumanji” franchise.

In 2015 Time Magazine saw fit to include him on its annual Time 100 list as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

In his latest film release, “Fatherhood,” Hart expands his range of character portrayals by taking on the role of a man who struggles to raise his newborn baby girl all on his own, after his wife tragically passes away shortly after giving birth.

In addition to acting, the Hollywood A-lister has also had quite a bit of experience in hosting awards ceremonies. Two major ones in which he can boast include the 2011 BET Awards and the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards.

Following his 2012 MTV host experience, an optimistic Hart appeared to be looking forward to engaging in more work as an emcee, telling the New York Times, “Hopefully after MTV, of course we’re talking Emmys, Oscars, whatever.”

A three-time “Saturday Night Live” host, Hart went on to co-host, along with Dwayne Johnson, the 2016 MTV Movie Awards.

Then in late 2018, he almost got to check another dream host gig off his wish list. It was announced that he would be the host of the 2019 Academy Awards.

The initial excitement over the announcement would be short-lived, though. The cancel culture wound up roaring into Hart’s life in a fierce way.

After 48 hours of social media outrage over some eight-year-old tweets, Hart extricated himself from host responsibilities.

In January 2019, after receiving some strong support from previous Oscar host Ellen DeGeneres, he thought about reconsidering.

However, social media activists were not about to pull back on their attacks against him. Once again Hart announced that he would not be hosting.

The 2019 Academy Awards ceremony was ultimately held minus a host.

It was refreshing when Hart recently made the decision to weigh in on cancel culture. He made headlines for remarks made during an interview with the British Sunday Times.

“When did we get to a point where life was supposed to be perfect? Where people were supposed to operate perfectly all the time?” Hart asked. “I don’t understand. I don’t expect perfection from my kids. I don’t expect it from my wife, friends, employees. Because, last I checked, the only way you grow up is from [screwing] up. I don’t know a kid who hasn’t [messed] up or done some dumb [things].”

According to Hart, because comics are too afraid of being cancelled, comedic arts have suffered a severe blow.

“You’re thinking that things you say will come back and bite you on the [posterior],” he explained, pointing out that people often misunderstand the intent of comedy practitioners.

“There’s an assumption it’s always bad and, somehow, we forgot comedians are going for the laugh,” he added.

News media and social media trolls summarily attacked and ridiculed Hart for daring to question the stifling effects of cancel culture. Strangely, many tried to do so by belittling the actor’s success.

Hart used his twitter account of 37 million followers to respond.

“I rarely talk s***… but I felt the need to today,” Hart posted. “Stop believing these headlines and read the actual articles … you guys fall for the banana in the tail pipe trick every d*** time.”

Social media saboteurs also attempted to claim that Hart is not effective at accomplishing the primary goal of a comedian; that is to simply make people laugh.

“The ‘He’s not funny’ slander is the best … I have been the highest grossing comedian in entertainment for years now … I have also been the highest grossing comedian in the box office with over 4 billion in earnings …,” Hart posted.

Hart’s Christianity has no doubt helped to anchor him in troubled times.

In 2014, during an interview with Oprah Winfrey, he recalled a time early in his career when he was financially unable to pay his rent. He leaned upon Nancy, his faith-filled mother, for help. All she would say at the time was, “Have you been reading your Bible?”

A week went by and things looked like they were going from bad to worse. But Mom kept repeating the admonition, saying, “When you read your Bible, then we’ll talk about your rent.”

Reluctant at the time, the good son nevertheless complied.

“I go home and say, ‘Man let me open this Bible up,’” Hart explained to Winfrey. “Open the Bible up, six rent checks fell out. She put all my rent checks in the Bible.”

Hart would come to realize that more than mere rent had been paid. His Savior had paid his debt to God.

After a serious car accident in September of 2019, he expressed his profound gratitude to God for refocusing his life.

In a video post on Instagram that begins with news broadcast footage reporting the details of the accident, Hart narrates the post with some powerful and heartfelt words.

“When God talks, you gotta listen,” he says. “I swear, life is funny, because some of the craziest things that happen to you end up being the things you needed most.”

“In this case, I honestly feel like God basically told me to sit down,” he says. “When you’re moving too fast and you’re doing too much, sometimes you can’t see the things that you’re meant to see. But after my accident, I see things differently. I see life from a whole new perspective.”

Hart ends the video post with words we can all cling to, saying, “… I’m thankful for God. I’m thankful for life.”

Chuck Norris Is Living the Meme

Chuck Norris has achieved a level of Internet fame that could make a Kardashian turn green.

The multi-dimensional Norris is recognized internationally as a martial artist, actor, film producer, best-selling author, and authentic digital phenom.

His fame began when a friend and fellow actor invited him to portray a villain in a martial arts movie. The film is called “Way of the Dragon,” and the friend who encouraged him to take the role was none other than martial arts legend Bruce Lee, who plays the lead.

Norris has scores of films to his credit, including roles in “Code of Silence,” “The Delta Force,” and “Firewalker.” And he has had major success on the small screen as well, playing the long-running title role in the television series “Walker, Texas Ranger.”

One of Norris’s sterling attributes is courage, which has served him well in his capacity to speak his mind in a straightforward and bold manner, without having someone else provide him a script.

He recently criticized the current administration for policies that deepen America’s dependence on China. Norris zeroed-in on the effects of the ballooning national debt, the harm to the economy, and the potential threat to national security.

“There has been much said and written about the White House’s new world-record-breaking $6 trillion dollar budget. But what I have to say will absolutely convince you the fiscal insanity coming from the Oval Office will cripple our economy and your future and family, too,” Norris stated.

“The size, scope, growth and communist political regime of China make it the No. 1 threat to U.S. economic and national power, stability and security, according to Market Watch,” he added.

Norris’s words carry a great deal of weight, thanks to his additional status as an Internet icon.

Satirical bits about the actor-martial artist began to spring up on the web in early 2005. Initially, college students were the ones who shared the memes, but the trend soon spread to people of all ages and backgrounds.

The amusing linguistically sophisticated one-liners, referred to as “Facts about Chuck Norris,” have taken on a life of their own, and over the years have grown into a massive collection of exaggerated tongue-in-cheek statements about Norris’s superhuman capabilities.

Choice “Facts about Chuck Norris” examples include the following:

–“Chuck Norris threw a grenade and killed 50 people. Then it exploded.”

–“Chuck Norris counted to infinity. Twice.”

–“Chuck Norris’s computer has no backspace button. Chuck Norris doesn’t make mistakes.”

–“Chuck Norris makes onions cry.”

–“Chuck Norris can strangle you with a cordless phone.”

–“When Chuck Norris enters a room, he doesn’t turn the lights on. He turns the dark off.”

This phenomenon continues to spread far and wide, permeating the pop culture with books, video games, and advertising campaigns.

Norris himself has appeared on major television talk shows, commenting on the “Facts” sensation, and even making it a point to visit military fans stationed in Iraq.

He is a faithful unapologetic Christian, whose official website includes a comprehensive Christian Resource page complete with audios, videos, articles, and downloadable books to assist believers in their daily walk.

One of the many Internet “Facts” actually prompted Norris to share his personal Christian testimony.

Appearing on the web for all to see, the spoof typified the hyperbolic humor of the Norris “Facts” mania. It read as follows: “Chuck Norris’s tears cure cancer. Too bad Chuck Norris has never cried.”

He responded by talking about a real person, who has supernatural healing power.

“There was a man whose tears could cure cancer or any other disease, including the real cause of all diseases – sin. His blood did. His name was Jesus, not Chuck Norris. If your soul needs healing, the prescription you need is not Chuck Norris’ tears, it’s Jesus’ blood.”

Norris’s relationship with God was kick-started at the age of 12, when he attended a Billy Graham crusade. He has freely shared his experiences with the trappings of celebrity, which are riddled with distractions and obstacles to faith’s path.

“Unfortunately a lot of times in the entertainment industry, sometimes you lose sight of what’s really important in your life.”

When he paid tribute to his 100-year-old mom this past Mother’s Day, he shared the importance of intercessory prayer in relation to his own life experience.

“My mother has prayed for me all my life, through thick and thin,” Norris explained. “When I was born, I almost died from complications. When nearly losing my soul to Hollywood a few decades ago, she was back home praying for my success and salvation. She even prayed for me to find a woman to change my life, and it worked.”

Interestingly, one thing Norris’s admirers and detractors can agree upon is that this extraordinary man has led an impressive life.

In an interview with CBN’s The 700 Club, Norris gave credit for his life’s blessings to the Creator.

“It’s amazing because people come up to me and say, ‘Chuck, you’re the luckiest guy in the world to be a world karate champion and a movie and TV star.’ When they say this to me, I kind of smile because luck had nothing to do with it; God had everything to do with it.”

Dennis Quaid’s ‘Blue Miracle’

Dennis Quaid is one of the rarest of Hollywood celebrities. Folks truly view him as the grinning guy next door who just happens to be a big-time movie star.

Standing apart from many Left Coast dreamers and achievers, there seems to be an additional attribute that Quaid possesses. He is one of the charmed ones in life who is blessed with an immensely successful acting career but is also gifted with the wherewithal to be able to sustain it.

His launch to stardom began in the 1980s with a string of hit movies that include “Breaking Away,” “The Right Stuff,” “The Big Easy,” “Innerspace,” and “Great Balls of Fire!”

Along the fame path, though, he remained committed to being part of family friendly entertainment, as evidenced in the films “The Parent Trap” and “Footloose.”

More recently, Quaid has chosen to be a vital part of Hollywood’s subcategory of movies, faith-based films, taking on major roles in movies such as “Soul Surfer” and “I Can Only Imagine.” In the process, via his participation in uplifting projects, he has established quite a track record within the faith film genre as a verifiably bankable star.

“Surfer” reportedly cost about $18 million to produce and earned more than $47 million in global box-office revenue. And “Imagine,” with a budget of a mere $7 million, has taken in more than $86 million since its release. Both films got the head-turning attention of movie executives, due to their remarkably sizable profit margins.

Quaid is also working on some yet-to-be-released faith-based projects, which includes “On a Wing and a Prayer,” a film based on a true story in which a Dad (played by Quaid) attempts to save his family from an impending plane crash.

One of the producers of the movie is Roma Downey, whose credits, along with her husband Mark Burnett, also include the highly successful television series “The Bible.”

“Imagine”’s directors Jon and Andrew Erwin tapped Quaid to star in another upcoming film project, “American Underdog: The Kurt Warner Story.”

Regarded as one of the greatest stories in NFL history, Warner went from being an undrafted free agent to playing professional football for 12 seasons and in the process became a two-time Most Valuable Player and a Super Bowl MVP.

In observing Quaid’s career, I see a kind of enfolding of his faith within his work. He was raised a Baptist Christian. In addition to the art of acting, he is also a music artist and has written a Christian song for his mother, titled “On My Way to Heaven,” which was included in the “Imagine” film.

Quaid discussed his involvement in Christian artistic expression in a promotion video for the film and his song.

“It’s a connection to my faith roots in the sense that I grew up in the Baptist church, went to Sunday School, and got baptized when I was nine. I always loved the music from the church,” Quaid shared.

In “Imagine,” he portrays Arthur Millard, the difficult and sometimes abusive father of Bart Millard, the lead singer for the Contemporary Christian Music group Mercy Me.

In an interview at the National Religious Broadcaster’s Convention in 2018, Quaid spoke about how playing Millard’s father led to trusting in the Almighty.

“After Arthur, I started having the thought of not judging anyone else and that included myself. Because you just let God take that over; let him take care of that all. It frees you up in life,” Quaid explained.

The actor talked about a long quest that he had undertaken to find an answer to an important question.

“I went around the world in my late 20s and the question I had was ‘Who is God?’ I became a seeker. I read the Bible cover to cover and for me, the answer is Jesus,” Quaid said.

He is presently the co-star of a yet another more recent redemptive project, the newly released Netflix film “Blue Miracle.”

The script is based upon the true story of a Christian orphanage in Mexico, which suffers from severe financial troubles. Quaid’s character Wade Malloy, a past two-time tournament champion fisherman but now a gruff individual long past his glory days, reluctantly teams up with a guardian and his kids for a chance to win a lucrative fishing competition.

Malloy’s coaching helps him grow beyond his past while simultaneously creating a bond with his fishing team of underprivileged children.

“Blue Miracle” follows a framework seen in many children’s sports movies, except that the sports related activity is not the usual hockey, baseball, or martial arts. Instead it spotlights the universally beloved sport of fishing.

The movie is ably executed and features the type of highly creative variants that allows it to end up being both satisfactorily entertaining and warmly endearing.

In a recent discussion of the film, Quaid spoke about his faith and how the virtue of humility unlocks “God’s miracles.”

“God hears me every time, I pray to God and He will help you listen,” Quaid told Movie Guide.

The actor’s character in “Blue Miracle” discovers that humility is a prerequisite to fulfilling the team’s destiny.

Quaid was fortunate to experience the same virtue outside of his movie life.

“By being humbled, that’s when God’s miracles are allowed to work. Once we get out of the way”

May we all be so blessed.

Taylor Swift Re-records Herself Because She Can

In 1965 legendary country music artist Johnny Cash was involved in a very public dispute with his record label, Columbia Records.

The bad blood created between Cash and his label resulted in an abrupt end of the relationship in 1986, when after 26 years Columbia unceremoniously dropped him from its roster.

Singer-songwriter John Fogerty wound up in court after being sued by his record label, Fantasy Records, for alleged plagiarism (otherwise known as copyright infringement).

It all happened over a song that Fogerty, the co-founder and front man of Creedence Clearwater Revival (CCR), had released as a solo artist. Fantasy Records claimed that the tune was merely a CCR song with a different title.

Prince had a very open feud with his record company, Warner Bros. The musical artist and performer extraordinaire made an appearance in public with the word “slave” written across his face. The entertainment industry dubbed him with the new royal title of “The Artist Formerly Known as Prince.”

Taylor Swift has had a long public battle with a music executive connected to her career. The country-turned-pop superstar recently made the decision to re-record and re-release her second album. The move was prompted in part by the attenuated dispute.

All of the above artists that have been involved in fights with their respective record companies have something quite interesting in common. They were extremely upset over a fundamental issue, one that carries great weight with human beings across time and around the globe – property rights.

The right to the private ownership of property is a hallmark of civilization.

Just like she famously is able to do with her song lyrics, Swift encapsulated the private property notion in a recent Instagram post.

“Artists should own their own work for so many reasons,” Swift wrote. “But the most screamingly obvious one is that the artist is the only one who really knows that body of work.”

A term that almost always appears in contracts between musicians and record labels is “master recording.” It refers to the complete, original, or official recording of a performance fixed in a tangible medium, from which copies are made.

The ownership of master recordings is at the heart of Swift’s desire to re-record her music.

Back in 2005, 15-year-old Swift signed with an up and coming label, Big Machine Records. The terms of her contract gave the company the rights to her original master recordings.

The Nashville-based independent label signed Swift to the roster shortly after the company had formed. Other artists who also recorded with Big Machine include Rascal Flatts, Florida Georgia Line, and Sugarland.

When Swift’s contract expired in November of 2018, she switched companies and signed with Universal’s Republic Records. However, Big Machine still maintained ownership of the master recordings of Swift’s first six albums.

As her fans already know, Big Machine sold the master recordings to a private equity group that is owned and controlled by a powerful music manager and executive named Scooter Braun.

Swift reacted almost immediately to the purchase by Braun, posting the news to her massive social media following. She alleged repeated bullying by Braun, sounded off bitterly over the fact that her artistic output was controlled by an individual not of her choosing, and called the situation her “worst case scenario.”

In 2019 Braun sold off the rights to the Swift master recordings for a reported $300 million.

Swift had promised that someday she would re-record and re-release her original six albums in order to obtain ownership over her music. In December of 2020, she started to make good on the promise, beginning with her 2008 release “Fearless.”

She gathered the same musicians who had worked on the original album and re-recorded the material a second time. The result, “Fearless (Taylor’s Version),” was a re-do of the 2008 album with a bonus of six new songs.

The re-release worked out swimmingly for Swift. Not only does she now own the new re-recorded versions of her songs, but the newly released album hit number one on the Billboard 200 chart, giving her added incentive to continue the re-recording trend.

Swift’s 2021 release of the same music that she had recorded back in 2008 may sound the same. But the ownership and control of her music is as different as it can be.

Television Goes to the Movies

The lines between television and movies continue to become more and more blurred.

Even though today’s streaming programs are still called television, they have nothing in common with traditional broadcast or cable TV programming.

The made-for-streaming variety of entertainment fare is generally commercial free and able to avoid the strict timing with which traditional TV has had to contend.

Feature films almost always have a formulaic rhythm to their plotlines that locks them into fixed time slots with which the story must mesh.

With viewers binge-watching entire seasons, series that stream are able to feature similar production values as those of feature films. This allows for them to be financed with larger budgets similar to the ones that studio motion pictures enjoy, while also permitting more flexibility in the pacing of plots.

A case in point is Amazon Studios upcoming “The Lord of the Rings,” a so-called television series that is currently in production. In 2017 Amazon was able to obtain the rights to J.R.R. Tolkien’s beloved Middle Earth tale with the goal of creating a streaming series along the lines of the very successful “Game of Thrones.”

It is expected that the “Rings” fantasy streaming series will end up expending the kind of cash layout typically associated with big league studio movie projects.

As money soaked Silicon Valley companies descend on Hollywood, budgets to release long-form streaming of what used to be called television are actually expanding.

There has been a record-breaking first season production cost for “Rings” of an astonishing $465 million, according to the Hollywood Reporter. This is not a number that anyone in the industry would previously have associated with a TV production.

The project is being filmed in New Zealand, and the budget numbers were released as part of the New Zealand government’s Official Information Act, confirming that it is the highest amount spent on a so-called television series.

By comparison, HBO’s “Thrones,” with a budget that was considered groundbreaking for its time, had a tab of about $100 million per season.

Despite the massiveness of the “Rings” budget, this sum does not include the $250 million that Amazon reportedly paid to acquire the rights to the Tolkien material.

With more than 150 million copies sold, the epic fantasy novel from which the series is derived is one of the best-selling books ever written.

The Middle Earth historical saga is of particular interest to Christians in that the work features multiple Christian themes, such as the struggles between good and evil, death and immortality, and fate and free will, as well as the addictive nature of power, the virtue of hope, and the value of redemptive suffering.

Tolkien himself wrote that his book “is a fundamentally religious and Catholic work; unconsciously so at first, but consciously in the revision.”

Tolkien’s Catholic Christianity also had a profound influence on his close friend, another beloved Christian author, C. S. Lewis. Both had taught at Oxford and were members of the same literary group, and both became known for writing fictional narratives that featured Christian themes and principles.

In his autobiography “Surprised by Joy,” Lewis described himself as “the most dejected and reluctant convert in all of England.”

In September of 1931, Tolkien and Lewis, while walking together with fellow professor Hugo Dyson, were discussing the subject of mythology. It was one of those discussions between intellectuals that can go on for hours. It actually did.

Chatting into the wee hours of the morning, Tolkien posed the proposition during the conversation that the story of Christianity is a myth, which happens to be true.

A few days later Lewis wrote to a friend, stating, “I have just passed on from believing in God to definitely believing in Christ, in Christianity… My long night talk with Dyson and Tolkien had a great deal to do with it.”

Hopefully, the streaming series will stay true to the Christian themes that Tolkien painstakingly placed in his works. After all, if Amazon is spending $465 million to produce the “Rings” series, keeping the Christian audience would not only be a sound business strategy but a necessary one.

The official description of the new series gives an indication that “The Lord of the Rings” streaming series will continue in the tradition that Peter Jackson established in the film versions.

It will reportedly have a story line in which “…kingdoms rose to glory and fell to ruin, unlikely heroes were tested, hope hung by the finest of threads, and the greatest villain that ever flowed from Tolkien’s pen threatened to cover all the world in darkness.”

Look for Amazon to debut the series later this year.

Disneyland Gets Ready for a Grand Re-opening

In the early 1950s, while on an outing with his two daughters to Los Angeles’s Griffith Park, Walt Disney had an inspiration to create a family-friendly theme park that would be unique in its array of attractions.

Thirty-five miles south of his movie studio in Anaheim was where Disney happened upon the perfect location for his latest brainchild.

He was able to arrange the financing, which included a portion of his own money, and dreams quickly began to materialize. The designers and animators who would work on the project would ultimately come to be known as the “Imagineers.”

Disneyland opened its gates in July of 1955, with a kick-off ceremony that lit up TV screens across America for 70 million people.

Zooming over to 2021, a sign that times may be getting better in the Golden State is the upcoming re-opening of the “Happiest Place on Earth.”

The entertainment industry giant was dealt a severe blow by the lockdown, with its theme parks and resort businesses taking the hardest hits.

While Walt Disney World in Florida and other Disney parks have already re-opened, the iconic California theme park that launched the others has been a literal ghost town for over a year.

Employees and fans galore have been anxiously waiting to hear when California’s major theme parks would be brought back to life. Well, there’s a date now.

The Disneyland Resort, which includes Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park, are set to re-open at the end of April. Unfortunately, everything is going to look wildly different from the pre-COVID Disneyland.

In order to comply with governmental requirements, Disney will manage attendance through a new theme park reservation system, which will require that all guests book dates in advance.

Masks for guests over the age of 2 and requisite social distancing will also be a part of the re-opening plan.

One huge wrench in the works is that initially only California residents will be allowed admission.

While Disneyland could have technically re-opened on April 1, plenty of lead time was needed to re-train the approximate 10,000 cast members who will be returning to work.

Challenges are still presenting themselves, but there doesn’t seem to be anything on the near horizon that would be insurmountable.

A long list of health and safety rules exists, which must be adhered to. There is a reduced number of guests that are going to be admitted at any given time. And Disneyland will only be able to re-open at a maximum capacity of 15 percent, which is a lower percentage than the 25 percent capacity of Florida’s Walt Disney World. This is expected to significantly impact the park’s attractions, shops, and dining venues.

Bob Iger recently spoke out about the theme park’s upcoming re-debut.

He told Deadline that “there’s something so symbolic about Disneyland reopening.”

Iger is right about the symbolism, especially when it comes to the Disney brand, which has traditionally been associated with optimism.

The former Disney CEO noted the pivot that Disney had made during the lockdown, with its newfound emphasis on its streaming platform, Disney+.

“When COVID hit, we at least had something to turn to, and I think it kept the company vibrant because there was a beacon of hope,” Iger said.

To its credit, Disney is now moving to instill a sense of optimism and hope within its own ranks as well as the Southern California community.

Shrugging off the unprecedented adversity of the last year, the company is not only re-opening, but it has just announced plans to expand the Disneyland Resort, with new attractions and multi-use areas.

On the west side of the Disneyland Resort, the existing theme parks of Disneyland and California Adventure will be expanded under a game-changing project dubbed “DisneylandForward.”

According to the project’s website, inspiration for new attractions could be based on “Frozen,” “Tangled,” “Peter Pan,” “Zootopia,” “Tron,” and “Toy Story Land.”

The DisneylandForward plan may take as much as two years to come to fruition, because the company is seeking to modify development approvals that it received from the city of Anaheim back in the 1990s.

Disney has made it a point to emphasize that the company is not seeking any public funding for the expansion, which is predicted to add thousands of new jobs to the beleaguered Southern California economy.

It’s pretty much everyone’s hope that this signals things are going to be moving closer and closer to normal.

This, no doubt, will be music to Mickey Mouse’s ears.

Music to Crossover Artists’ Ears

Music is the soundtrack of our lives. Or so it’s been said.

But there really is something to it.

Music makes us happy when we’re feeling low. Dance when we didn’t know we could. Rest when there’s no way to sleep. Try when we’ve already given up. Laugh when we feel like screaming. And cry when the tears have run dry.

For a lot of us the music soundtrack has been cradle lullabies, toddler rhymes, grade school chants, high school musicals, college choirs, graduation themes, heartache tunes, romance ballads, wedding marches…Then it starts all over again.

The soundtrack of our lives is typically personalized for each of us, i.e., it takes on different forms for individuals and societal groups. In the music business, this is what the industry calls “genres.” Grammys are handed out in the different genres, or categories, by the droves.

There is one category of music that started out rather small, and in relative terms, not that long ago. It slowly grew in popularity and at one point seemed to take off like a race car.

The official category is Christian Music. In contrast to the musical and vocal performances that were heard in the traditional hymns of the past, contemporary Christian Music has a style that, aside from the lyrics, is many times indistinguishable from Billboard’s Pop, Rock, or Country categories.

Christian Music grew from a folk rock fringe type of music in the 1960s to become a major genre, which has been embraced by a huge segment of the population that is seeking positive-oriented music as well as lyric content that sets forth faith expressions and timeless truths.

“Crossover” is a term used in the music business to describe a performer or song that appeals to two or more types of audiences that represent two or more types of musical genres.

A Christian Music performer is catapulted into the arena of crossover artist when he or she starts out being marketed to Christian-oriented outlets and venues, but additionally finds that sales of recordings are selling in other mainstream markets as well.

The reverse may sometimes also come to fruition. An artist who starts out as a mainstream pop performer, but whose music and/or lyrics contain themes that Christians can relate to, may also find a newfound audience in one or more crossover categories.

Amy Grant was one of the earlier Christian artists to make the leap into crossover. In the 1980s and 1990s, Grant segued from a sole Christian audience to an additional pop music audience as well.

In 2001 a little known Christian performer named Katy Hudson released an album to Christian outlets, but the recording didn’t quite lead to the desired success. Crossover magic happened when Katy Hudson changed her marketing strategy, and her name, to Katy Perry.

Carrie Underwood became a mainstream success after winning the 2005 fourth season of “American Idol.” She highlighted her Christian faith in many of her recordings, including “Jesus, Take the Wheel,” “Temporary Home,” and “Something in the Water.” In 2020, Underwood released a faith-filled Christmas album titled “My Gift” that added to her crossover credentials.

Other notable Christian crossover artists from country music ranks include Alan Jackson, Alison Krauss, Rascal Flatts, and Brooks & Dunn.

The notion of the Christian crossover artist reached unprecedented heights rather recently with the popularity and success of two super star level artists: Lauren Daigle and Kanye West.

Two-time Grammy Award winner and multi-platinum selling Christian music artist Daigle is a consummate crossover, having expanded her audience from her original Christian fans to the world of mainstream pop.

Daigle’s single “You Say” experienced record-breaking success on the Christian and Pop Billboard charts. The song held the number one position for all of 2020, its second straight year, and is the longest-running No. 1 title ever to appear on the weekly Hot Christian Songs chart.

For the last three years in a row Billboard has named Daigle the Top Christian Artist.

Then there’s Kanye. He’s not only one of the best-selling artists of all time, he’s among the most critically acclaimed artists in the whole world. Winner of twenty-one Grammy Awards, Kanye has earned praise from music critics, industry peers, cultural figures, and fans from Hip-Hop to Christian.

Kanye’s song “Follow God” placed second on the 2020 Billboard Hot Christian Songs list. His album “Jesus Is King” landed number two on the Top Christian Albums year-end chart. He was the leading Christian male artist of 2020, according to Billboard, as well as the year’s top Gospel Artist. His album simultaneously placed high on multiple charts.

Kanye is best known as a super star rapper, but over the course of his career he didn’t shy away from featuring his Christian beliefs. After his song “Jesus Walks” became a hit, he was quoted in the New York Times on the nature of his faith.

“I will say that I’m spiritual. I have accepted Jesus as my Savior. And I will say that I fall short every day,” Kanye shared.

During a recent appearance on Jimmy Kimmel’s late night show, he was asked by Kimmel if he would consider himself to be a Christian music artist, now that he had committed himself fully to Christianity.

Kanye replied in a way that may have been thought provoking for the host and viewing audience as well.

“I’m just a Christian everything,” he said.