Ethiopia Hip Hop Mission (please feel free to forward)
It’s a country that invokes images of destitute starving Africans lying on the sides of the road as Sally Struthers walks by. It carries a mental image of a land in perpetual need, destitute of life, dry and dead.
But this stereotype is so far from the rich reality of the Ethiopian landscape. The Blue Nile, one of the main sources to the Nile flows from the green lush mountains of the Ethiopian north. Several of the great mysteries of the world’s ancient architecture can be found in Ethiopia. And they are the only historic African country to have never been colonized. And they claim a Christian heritage tracing their roots back to Philip and the eunuch on the chariot, thus being the only Country in the world to officially be Christian for the last 2000 years.
That said they are still the 2nd poorest nation in the world. Teenage prostitution and the slave trade run rampant, not to mention war and extreme poverty are the norm. The average Ethiopian has an annual salary of $110. The cities are full of Constance’s but instead of 13 year old girls, it’s mothers prostituting their bodies to make $3 a night to feed their families, they will have to service about 12 men to make that $3. One of the leading causes of death in Ethiopia is considered nothing more than an embarrassing inconvenience here, diarrhea. Obviously there is tremendous need in Ethiopia and my wife and I have committed our lives to pursuing help for Ethiopia. But the “needs” aren’t why you are reading this e-mail.
What do you think of when you think of the entertainment industry of Ethiopia? What music do you think has the most radio and TV play? Would you guess American Hip Hop and Reggae? Eminem, Ludacris, Snoop Dogg, The Pussycat Dolls? No, neither would I have until I walked the streets of Addis Ababa while visiting my children in the orphanage that is currently caring for them.
I found myself seeing posters for rap albums that we coming out soon while walking through garbage cities. I sat in cyber cafes listening to the same hip hop that gets radio play in America, only they don’t bother to censor the language in Ethiopia as the majority of the listeners only speak very fundamental English, if any at all. Of course this means that the kids at the orphanages have all already idolized the American rap scene, and have adapted to the gangster rap motif already.
Why? Because the big name labels, the ones that push this image, know they can make money, even in places like Ethiopia by selling the “American Image” Unfortunately these kids don’t know that there is a positive Hip Hop scene, much less any music genre that promotes Christian values. It’s just not available there. Even more unfortunate is that in this land of beauty the only image that is being pushed is the gangster rap scene.
I have committed my life to making a difference and one of the big things I have learned is you can’t just work on one single plateau in trying to evoke a change. Yes the physical needs take the majority of my energy, but the most important thing is the spiritual needs of the people. With that in mind I find myself grieved that there are no alternatives to the negative image being pushed by marketing big wigs trying to sell an image that is all hype, shallow and hollow to a people that are literally dying on the streets. With that in mind I am attempting to make a difference, as small as it may be to the kids that pass through the orphanages, those that listen to the radio, and praying that the positive message that you speak will make a difference to the Ethiopian listening a continent away.
I will be returning to Ethiopia on November 13 and would love to be able to bring alternatives to the Ethiopian orphanages for the kids to listen to. I am also trying to make contact with the local radio stations to attempt to bring them alternatives as well. I am asking you to pray about helping by sending albums to take. I would prefer that the CDs would be in cardboard sleeves, or in the paper sleeves as the plastic jewel cases will take up too much space in transporting to Ethiopia. I will be personally delivering them to several orphanages and trying to get them to the radio station as well. For that reason I am asking that you send several copies of any CDs that you do send. Bootlegged burned CDs are fine, please just label them well so that when the kids are placed with their new families they can inform their families of the artist they have discovered in the orphanages of Ethiopia.
Thank You so very much for taking the time to listen to my request, and please feel free to forward this letter to anyone you know that would be interested in assisting.
https://leaveittoavery.wordpress.com (you can read my journal of my 1st trip to
please contact me for address to send cd’s to.