Local News

Gospel Singer Uses Rap to Spread Word

Posted February 2, 2007

— Shirley Caesar , an 11-time Grammy award-winning gospel singer and preacher, is taking a new approach to make sure her message is still being heard.

These days, the Durham native is using rap to spread the word to everyone, especially young people.

"I've been preaching Jesus to them and now I've got to come down on their level and talk to them where they are," she said.

Caesar's ability to remain a force in gospel music is one reason the Triangle Urban League is honoring her with its first lifetime achievement award.

"Everybody wants to be appreciated and I want to thank North Carolina, the Triangle-area Urban League for showing some love," she said.

Caesar has shown love to the community all her career.

"All of these years, I've taken anywhere from portions to half of my income, and I've given it back to the community to be a blessing one way or the other," she said.

Caesar just kicked off a nationwide tour. She will perform some hits from her album, "I Know The Truth," on her own independent label Shu-Bel Records.

"I'm going to do my own rapping, and I'm going to go way back and get oldies like 'Jesus, I Love To Call Your Name,'" she said.

Although her four-decade career shows no signs of slowing down, Caesar is thinking about her legacy.

"I'd like to be remembered as the person who cared," she said.

Caesar will receive her award at the Triangle Urban League's Legends Gala presented by WRAL-TV on Friday, Feb. 16 at the Embassy Suites in Cary. WRAL's Gerald Owens and Pam Saulsby will serve as emcees for the evening.

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  • cnsallen Feb 2, 2007

    Are you a Christian? Maybe you need to listen to Christian music. You definately have issues with bigotry. God is for everyone. Why even question the type of parent I am. My kids are in Church 3 days a week. We pray before every meal and ask for God blessing. My kids also like contemporary Christian music. We cannot keep Rap music from our kids. We cannot combat the TV, radio or the internet either. Face it, ALL OUR KIDS are influenced by it. We as GOOD parents take it and turn it arould to be something positive. We definately do not need to teach them bigotry and hatred. God Bless.

  • raswph Feb 2, 2007

    Shirley...if you every need any help let me know...no I can't sing and I surely can't rap....but for every child or teenage or adult you bring to the Lord....so be it..........sometimes you got to go where the sinners are......Jesus didn't sit with the saints and upright....he always sat around the sinners...you go girl... I love your work and all the your are....I will pray heartly for you....Thank you for your love of teenagers....they are my heart........GOD BLESS!!!!!!!!

  • narck9 Feb 2, 2007

    swamprunner. I have spoke with several black leaders in the community about this idea. The problem is finding a church that will agree to the terms and conditions of the program and then willing to fund the project. My church would be more than willing to help fund the project but it is in a rural area that is not easily accessible to the southeast Raleigh community. The building needs to be within walking distance for the southeast community so that they can get without depending on someone to give them a ride. Believe me, I am trying. Unfortunatley the wheels of progress are slow.

  • Miss.Understood Feb 2, 2007

    this is great. and for once, i'm not being sarcastic. i think its a great idea to get down to teens' levels and if throwing in a gospel rap can help change some, even just one, young person's live...then that's fantastic.

    for the record, all rap isn't trash and "scum" mugofstout.
    the majority of it is, but not all of it.
    its upbeat, and can get anyone going ;; the opposite of most old church songs.

    more power to shirley.

    "from the stained glass window ... to the steeple.
    put some Jesus in these people."

    what you think about that freestyle.

    quit hating on her because you didn't think of it first. its a genius idea and has a very positive consequence.

  • xrayscnu Feb 2, 2007

    Kelvin- I did read the whole forum, but I was answering & responding to what you said, "Why should she be faced with the responsibility of trying to be community activist too". We agree on what the overall point is, though, I do believe.

  • swamprunner7630 Feb 2, 2007

    bradfordfamilyus if you think she could "better" utilize the church, speak up. I am sure they would appreciate some new ideas and new blood so to speak. We all have our own opinions on the subject and if they are positive you should see about implementing in you church if you have one and if you do not find one.

  • mugofstout Feb 2, 2007

    If you let your kids listen to enough of that garbage to learn to love it, you can't be much of a parent anyway. Our youth can only be as decadent as we let them become. And yes, I do like a mug of stout on occasion, but still have not lowered myself enough to think I need to talk to my kids on a thug level to get them to understand me.Nor to allow them to listen to something that I loath as you put it. Therefore, I do not see why anyone else should.be a parent, not a friend, step up to the plate and take a swing for decency.

  • kaecee Feb 2, 2007

    imhopinion2, my sentiments actually exactly when you said what difference does it make. I thought it was a good thing and didn't see anything wrong with it and then someone starting putting down what she doing. I hope you clicked the view more comments sections and see how this forum (as I call it) has gone today.

  • kaecee Feb 2, 2007

    bradfordfamilyus, hold that thought for a about an hour or so and I'll be right back with you.

  • xrayscnu Feb 2, 2007

    Rev RB- We miss your (most of the time) positive comments. I think they're needed here, moreso, today, than elsewhere on the boards.
    You all need to stop arguing about what rap music is or is not. I can say just as well as all of you can (who make comments on these boards) that we need not be arguing about what medium she uses & join her & others in our community to reach out to the less fortunate. How many of you posting opinions on this article can say you actually have helped or are active in our community, anyway? STOP JUDGING OTHERS!
    Kelvin - what caesar is doing here is equal to a community activist. she's just doing it religiously to spread the news of Jesus Christ. I would suggest rereading the article: there are two examples of where she already has & still wants to be of help to her community. If she gets their attention with the music, they will be drawn to the church where they will get off the street & become something better. What difference does it make?