“If Music is a Place…then Jazz is the City, Folk is the Wilderness, Rock is the Road, Classical is a Temple” – Vera Nazarian
“Why would you want to be anything else if you’re Mick Jagger” – Keith Richards
“From this moment on, I’d like to dedicate my life to rock and roll and take as many drugs as possible. What could possibly go wrong?” – Craig Ferguson
We were all seated on the white chairs, facing the pulpit. Something is different today. Beautiful flowers adorned the pulpit, ribbons were used to decorate the whole chapel; red, yellow, blue and most definitely, white. Sometimes, I wonder why I’ve never seen them adorn the chapel in black. Oh, I get it. Black is evil, the devil is black, charcoal is black and everything about black isn’t right – black sheep, blackmaria, black book, black magic.
Bro Mike was standing at the pulpit. He was going to say the opening prayers first before Sister Comfort took over for praise and worship. Secretly, I hoped Bro Mike would make this quick. He is notorious for spending endless hours to say a prayer to God. Instead of making intercession for Nigeria as a single prayer point, he would proceed to pray for the president, the vice president, the first lady, the senators…then the women, the men, the children, pregnant women…then the black men, the tall women, the fat traders……Chai! Usually at the end of such prayers, everyone would be exhausted. But on this day, I guess a new spirit overtook him; he spent a couple of minutes thanking God and praying that the revival service would be a success.
Sister Comfort took over. Boy, I swear this girl has an angelic voice. Na these kind girls go sing better songs when they reach heaven. She would be adorned in white garment with a gold crown on her head, singing and clapping, day and night. My type of person would sing small and take excuse; I’d tell the angels I wanna find something to eat. But on this day, she wasn’t adorned in all white. Rather, she wore a long brown gown that made her resemble a 16th century nun. Or worse, a trader in the 70s. No single flesh was seen as the cloth covered up every available space. She wore no jewelries. Then her shoes…a pair of black akpola you’d think she just left an orthopedic hospital. Lord, please have mercy on me. Instead of focusing on the worship session, I was busy sampling the sister’s archaic fashion.
Time passed and she was done. I looked at my watch. Na wa o. In two hours time, Manchester United would play Everton. I no fit miss that match o. I’d have to give the brethren an excuse to leave. Just as I was about figuring out the best excuse to come up with, he mounted the stage. Yes, the most revered preacher – Bro Titus. He had an orange pair of trousers on him, a black shirt, red tie, and a brown coat. His shoes were grey in color and the tips pointed to heaven. He was the minister on this third day of the revival service. He started off by shouting: “someone would have a new story to tell today”. And the congregation shouted AMEN. He repeated the statement three more times, each time changing his style of saying it, while the piano man played special notes to fit into the whole style.
He told us the topic for discussion: Attaining Holiness by Resisting the Devil. That was ok. I guess I liked the topic. So I sat back and relaxed, getting ready to know the techniques for avoiding the devil. He talked the more. He was a good teacher, I must confess. He knew the right words to say to get the audience hooked and attentive. A sister at the far right side was already shedding a tear. He proceeded to mention the vices we should avoid in order to resist the devil: smoking, drinking, lustful looking at women, lying…Hold up, e be like say this guy dey target me o? How come he is just mentioning all the vices I engage in? He continued: wearing evil clothes (which one come be evil cloth?), gluttony, listening to worldly music. And then he stopped. He wanted to stress on the last point. He spoke at length on what he meant by worldly music. He talked about Beyonce, Nicki Minaj, Reggae…and then he said what got the blood in my veins boiling. “All yea that listen to Rock and Roll, get ready for damnation. Rock and Roll is the most evil of all these worldly music. All yea listeners have a place in hell. If you rock and roll, then you lose your soul”. O boi, this preacher don touch the tail of a python o. Which kind talk be dat one? He continued saying that Rock and Roll originated from the devilish dances of the West Indies. At this point, I’ve had enough. I stood up abruptly and headed for the exit door. This is pure heresy! Sister Uche blocked me. I made a sign indicating I needed to urinate. She allowed me to leave and I headed straight to the main road, flagged an okada man down and went home. I left behind my hymn book and tracts. When I reached home, the match had already started and it was half time. I took a bottle of chilled Coke and proceeded to listen to Californication by Red Hot Chili Peppers, one of my all time favorite rock bands. Phuck that preacher and whatever he says.
Rock and Roll (often written as rock ‘n’ roll) is a genre of popular music that originated and evolved in the US during the late 1940s and early 1950s, primarily from a combination of African-American genres such as blues, boogie woogie, jump blues, jazz and gospel music, together with Western swing and country. When have any of these turned to devilish dances of the West Indies? There is the Rock ‘n’ Roll dance which is an acrobatic dance routine (Lindy Hop) involving two people (a couple). I never knew the devilish dances of the West Indies involved only two people. Over time, the genre evolved around the world to give rise to the more encompassing international style known as Rock Music.
The fact that there are crazy rock stars that would gladly pull their pants on stage, smoke a blunt in front of the crowd and speak profane words about Jesus, doesn’t mean every rock star is the same. Neither does it give any preacher any right to twist the history of rock, just to achieve the singular aim of discouraging their followers from listening to the genre of music. I mean, for God’s sakes, there are crazy musicians in other genres of music too.
It is imperative for preachers (or public speakers in general) to do adequate research before mounting stages and podiums to speak to an audience because in all honesty, not every member of the audience is easy to fool.
Eventually, Manchester United won the match. I celebrated the victory by treating myself to a meal of fish barbecue plus two bottles of Star Lager Beer while listening to In The End by Linkin Park. And before I went to bed that night, I also listened to Toxicity by System of a Down. If I’d have to lose my soul by listening to rock ‘n’ roll, then I’ll gladly part ways with my soul. Capisce!