Tyndale Hip Hop Movement
Joshua Houeto [BA 2016] had no intention of founding a club at Tyndale, never mind starting a movement. “It was the beginning of the school year of my first semester,” he recalls. “There was an event going on in the Ballyconnor gymnasium and one person asked if I was interested in starting a club. Even though I usually don’t care about that kind of stuff, for some reason I was drawn to the idea.”
At first, starting a hip hop movement was just a passing thought. “But once the vision stirred up within me, it was like nothing could stop it,” says Josh. The vision – that God is behind rap and that you can use rap to glorify God – is what inspired Carlene Carvalho [BA 2014] and other students to join. “First Josh asked me if I wanted to be the secretary,” says Carlene. “I thought: ‘God’s given me the gift of administration,’ so I felt like it was a good opportunity to sow it into something that God is doing at Tyndale. Plus, I really love hip hop.”
In high school, Raymond To [BA 2014] started writing creative stories about the Bible to connect more with God. When a friend played Lecrae’s Rebel album for him, it changed his perception about creative worship. “It blew my mind that someone could write something so deep and artistic about the Bible,” he says. Raymond and Josh were roommates at Tyndale and now they rap together for God’s glory.
Like Raymond, Axel Kazadi’s [MDiv 2015] passion for hip hop began in high school. He views hip hop as a “vehicle to propagate the message of Christ.” More than that, it also helps him express what’s on his heart in his relationship with God and other people. “It’s a tool to connect with people’s stories,” he says.
Connecting with people’s stories and teaching them how to use hip hop as a vehicle to spread the message of Christ are the major initiatives propelling the Tyndale Hip Hop Movement forward.
On Friday, March 14, 2014, they hosted the One Mic for Christ Campus Showcase. The Showcase included performances from four Tyndale students, a message from the founder, traditional worship music, as well as a talk by hip hop evangelist Toyin Dada and a performance by Christian hip hop artists The Silvas, who headlined the event.
“The purpose of the Showcase was to show people that hip hop can be used as a tool to worship God,” says Josh. It also provided a platform for the Tyndale Hip Hop Movement to launch their promotional video (above) and to feature their first music video. The turnout was positive, with approximately 70 people in attendance.
“At the end of it all, I recognized the potential for this to actually be a movement – in that it can move somebody to do something for Christ.” says Raymond. “When I look back and think about the event, this still resonates with me.”