Torrence’s Take On The Ambassador “Situation”Published by Torrence Glenn on Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 12:58 pm.
Before I begin, I’d like to say that this situation is a perfect example of why so many people are jaded and/or can’t be bothered with “church.” You’ll see what I mean.
Now let me be clear, I’m really not all that into gospel rap, holy hip hop, or whatever else we’re calling it these days. I HAVE NO ISSUES with it whatsoever, it’s just not MY thing. The same holds true for my mainstream music choices, I’m just a soul/r&b kind of guy in general. (I say this, because I know some people take issue with gospel music sounding too “secular/worldly”, etc. and I don’t have those issues.) But I do, however, think it has a place in music and gospel and really do appreciate it; which is why I’m addresssing this.
The Ambassador (Watch him talk about Sunday Best audition videos here.) s a gospel rapper many of you may be familiar with. He’s one of the more popular rappers in the genre and is a part of Cross Movement Records, that I guess could be compared to a gospel version of Def Jam. Actually, let me correct myself. He WAS signed to Cross Movement Records. They’ve since dropped him from the label. Why? Over some “church folk foolishness!” Last night I stumbled on an article over at Gospel Spectrum about The Ambassador being dropped from his contract along with excerpts of an open letter from the label and thought: “This must be a joke. This is probably another internet rumor.” So I went to Cross Movement’s website and sure enough, there it was. So I read the whole letter and was still left shaking my head. You can read the whole thing here, but I’ll pull out the “good parts” for you. Actually, I’m not even sure whether he’s dropped or not because the words used in the label’s statements are rather vague. So as the story goes, supposedly The Ambassador has cheated on his wife. Yes, I’d have to agree that that’s not a good thing. I’ll even go as far to say that cheating on your wife is, ummm, WRONG. There, I said it. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get to it.
“Dear Body of Christ,
It is with much grief, severe disappointment and an overwhelming fear of the Lord that Cross Movement Records is sad to announce that we will be discontinuing the forwarding and promotion of the Artist and Minister, The Ambassador AKA William “Duce” Branch, due to recent findings of moral failure in his marriage.”
Dramatic much? It is with an overwhelming eye-roll that I read that first sentence. If The Ambassador did in fact cheat on his wife, I’m sure she’s probably got the market cornered on grief and “severe disappointment.” You, Cross Movement, are simply disappointed. Get a grip!
“It is CMR’s past, current and prayerfully, future position that living in moral compromise is unacceptable and never allowable in the lives of any of the ministers that we co-labor with.
Although it is a rare find these days, discipline is still one of the true marks of the true Church.
That being said, we also know according to Hebrews 12:6 that “whom The Lord loves He disciplines.” So we know that our beloved brother Duce is under the Lord’s loving care (Hebrews 12:5-11).”
These last few lines probably aggravate me the most. Now don’t get me wrong, I believe in correction and discipline with the best of them, but just as the scripture in Hebrews they so eloquently referenced says, moral discipline comes from God, not you or in this case, a record label. But you know what? I can see how they would think that’s cool. As a choir director and growing up in the church, I’ve had to deal with various members of one of my choirs having to be “sat down” because they were pregnant or had fathered a child. And depending on what type of church you went to, he or she may have even been made to ask for forgiveness from the church in the form of a letter or speech in order to come back or participate again. This ALWAYS bothered me. Not only because I felt it was slightly embarrassing and unnecessary, but a bit hypocritical and unfair. Firstly, Shanquita (fake name) didn’t sin against me or you, she sinned against God and herself. Secondly, EVERYONE makes mistakes and commit sins of some kind everyday, it kind of goes with that whole being human and imperfect thing. BUT, we (the church or the gospel industry) many times have the nerve to think it is our place to discipline someone else for a select number of sins only because they have visible consequences. For example, nobody sat down all the various people betting busy in the choir, just the ones who got pregnant, because they had walking proof. The letter goes on to say:
I guess this one issue just goes and throws all the work he’s done over the years out the window, huh? I give Cross Movement a little bit of credit though. If anything, you can’t call ‘em “wishy washy.” Ha! That’s their story and they are sticking to it. I’m glad though, that not all gospel labels are this way. There have been other well known artists who have had to deal with similar circumstances recently and they’re still signed to their labels and have projects albums coming out soon, that in all honesty, I hope you support. Kind of hard to get your testimony out there with no way for anyone to hear it, because your record label is afraid of real life. I wish the Ambassador the best and hope everything works out!
Just my take, what’s yours?