Chance the Rapper’s Grammy performance was definitely Gospel, but make no mistake about it, authentic Gospel music is rooted in unapologetic Blackness.
I came to see that this might be how he, a middle-aged black man in America, knew how to say “I love you” to me, his black son, who was going out into the world often unaware of the unimaginable dangers that often surrounded me.
Our symbolic shows of solidarity with hurting communities are a great start, but unless we follow that up with actual, tactile action, we are nothing more than spiritual placebos in a world in desperate need of open-heart surgery.
If our desire is simply to engage in an awareness campaign to bring the eyes and ears of the nation and world to the problems that plague communities of color then our rhetoric can be as bombastic and heavy-handed as necessary. However, if our desire is to engage in the work of reconciliation - of building new communities from the ground of transformed relationships - we must stand in the precarious gap between communities in conflict and to point towards the reality of the Kingdom of God which radically reforms human relationship.