This past week of festivities was a signal to the world that the holy hip hop genre is moving to higher ground.
Fellowship of Holy Hip Hop hosted its 7th Annual Artist Showcase and Music Awards during Holy Hip Hop Week (January 8th - 17th) in Atlanta; the Annual Precursor Event to Dr. M.L. King Week, honoring Ministers of the Gospel world-wide from more than 140 cities, 38 states, and 5 nations. This year's event was triumphed by appearances of some of Hip-Hop's old school pioneers coupled with substantial media coverage, and most noted by impacting the lives of the youth.
Holy Hip Hop Week was graced by the likes of Kurtis Blow, DJ Flame, Sparkey D, Grand Master Caz and DJ K-Wiz at Center Stage Arena (ATL), individuals whose talents and contributions were instrumental in giving rise to hip hop from the Bronx. These renowned hip hop pioneers have come full circle and have pledged use their gifts for saving souls and professing Christ. A memorable moment, on Friday night January 12, 2007, was the surprise appearance by Mason Betha, aka "Mase", who walked in unannounced and publicly-apologized, on-stage, directly to Minister eDDie Velez and the entire global Holy Hip Hop community for past statements denouncing Christian hip hop ministry in all forms and simultaneously expressing his deepest respect and support for the movement in humbly acknowledging that holy hip hop music can be used as a tool to win back the lost, expressing that he trusts "God will use him to evangelize in arenas where there are 60,000+ souls present at a time" and then sincerely asked that the global HHH community "Pray for him, to a deafening applause from all present to witness this request."
Over 15 media outlets from around the nation conducted hundreds of video-recorded interviews with Ministers of the Gospel who were in the house. Trinity Broadcast Network (TBN & JCTV), Christian Television Network (CTN), to name a few, and reporters from educational institutions like Columbia University, along with Hp4 Digital Works (Christopher Martin-"Play") were on hand to record the entire program, as a part of plans to air the 2007 Holy Hip Hop Music Awards on Cable Television in the Spring of 2007. And speaking of Chris Martin, it was a major accomplishment to hear him and Kurtis Blow be interviewed on V-103's Frank and Wanda Morning Show reaching over 100,000 Atlanta residents each morning, where Chris and Kurtis talked about upcoming projects and were able to have played on the airwaves the track titled "Tha Block Iz Hot" from of one of Urban Gospel's up & coming emcees, Ifeanyi.
Young people were not left out of the equation this year and as a matter of fact they showed up and showed out. Barley even teenagers, young phenoms like KJ, 12-year old from Minneapolis, and Young Prayzr, 10-year old from Atlanta were show stoppers bringing the heat to the place. Yet another area the youth excelled in was at the Altar Call, where a number of lives were transformed by the ministry in the house when salvation was offered following powerful and moving praise and worship by Canton Jones and a stirring and riveting sermon from eDDie Velez, with youth dropping to their knees in the middle of the arena and giving their lives to Christ.
Holy Hip Hop Week was a great success, and perhaps one of the greatest highlights came in the form of a letter endorsement of the event by Mayor Shirley Franklin and the City of Atlanta. More than 100/five minute back-to-back performances (the world's largest showcase of its type) took place during the Friday and Saturday nights. All of the Ministers in the house truly represented Christ on the Mic, to the best of their ability from beginning to end, including all of the free-stylers in the main lobby, who also simultaneously for the 7th year-in-a-row kept the party flowing until 1 A.M. each night combined with the anointed turntables of the Higher Ground and Go Ye Djs rockin the house from beginning to end.
Meanwhile at the newly-renovated $8 million Crowne Plaza Hotel (Marietta/Atlanta), Holy Hip Hop Week's UGA/U-ZONE/Amen Films/HolyHipHop.com Mixer was attended in record numbers and the performances of V.I.C., Bianca Woodard, Salah, D Class, Richard Dauphin, and KJ were off the charts! The Mixer was followed up each morning by ministry classes hosted by Urban D, Minister Velez and Pastor Wallace, along with Brian Wood of the Holy Rollerz Christian Car Club, providing ministry and educational classes to attendees from coast-to-coast. U-ZONE Magazine (4-color) Winter edition copies were handed out to each and every attendee of Holy Hip Hop Week, as the official publication and program. Infinity Music Group President Brad Mathias, Urban D and eDDie Velez hosted the Holy Hip Hop Summit to a packed room of attendees discussing relevant topics of Ministry and advancement of the Gospel.
2007 honoreesinclude: EMc, God's Army, Japhia Life, Tony Stone, Shei Atkins, Bobby Bishop, Lecrae, Knine, J.Kwest, Dynamite X, Kennie Randall, MVP. Ambassador Award: Minister Floyd Cray, and Pastor Ephrem Smith.