As I’ve confessed before, I shaved a stripe in my eyebrow when I was in the ninth grade because Vanilla Ice was big and I temporarily had access to an electric razor. I also tried to start a hip hop group with my little brothers called “AAA.” (We were the three “Acuffs.”) We played one youth group show and had monogrammed hats with our name on them which is how you know you’ve arrived. What can I say, I’m just street like that.
That’s why when it came time to write the rappers guide to televangelists, I felt highly qualified. I started researching and the similarities between the two groups are pretty staggering. The easy answer is that both groups like to bling. That’s true, some televangelists have been accused of living by the Wu Tang Clan motto, CREAM or Cash Rules Everything Around Me. I think there are some good televangelists too though. And I can’t hate the ones that blew it in big ways. I can be a jerk with a nickel in my pocket and two people asking me for an opinion. I can’t imagine the temptation that would come with sitting on top of a television empire with wheelbarrows of cash and thousands of people thinking I was special.
So instead of throwing rocks at the televangelists, I thought I would throw rappers at them, and create a guide that will help you remember the different types of televangelists you’ll run in to.
1. The LL Cool J Televangelist
LL Cool J, or Ladies Love Cool James, or Uncle L if you will, has always been known for his physical strength. He was never the “I gotta gun” type of rapper but was instead content to wear sleeveless shirts and let his ability to do many, many push ups speak for itself. His biggest song is “Mama said knock you out” and if I am ever allowed to produce a program for a televangelist, that’s the song he’s coming out to. Especially if he likes to perform leg drops on stage or is known for intense worship services. The LL Cool J Televangelist doesn’t just put the devil on notice, he puts him in a choke hold and then breaks an acoustic guitar over his head. That’s how he rolls.
2. The Lil’ Wayne Televangelist
I recently did a scientific study and was able to figure out that Lil’ Wayne appeared in 86% of all hip hop songs made in the last six months. OK, it wasn’t scientific but I did wear a white coat while doing it. That dude is everywhere. And when he’s not doing cameos on somebody’s album, he’s remixing his own songs, doing tours, playing in the headphones of Michael Phelps before he swims etc. He is unstoppable. Some televangelists are like that. In addition to appearing on their own shows, they seem to constantly stop by other programs. They’re on the covers of books and on the radio and writing a blog. They’re everywhere, which makes them just like Lil’ Wayne. (Except for the drugs, sex, eyelid tattoos, profanity part. Other than that, the comparison is spot on.)
3. The Kid n’ Play Televangelist
During the 1990s, the hip hop group “Kid n’ Play” made 19 versions of the movie “House Party.” They were like the rap version of the movie, “Police Academy.” But nobody really held it against them because they were such happy go lucky guys. Before the West Coast/East Coast thing started, groups like Kid n’ Play were making cute dance/rap songs with lyrics like “Ain’t gonna hurt nobody, we just dancing ya’ll.” Isn’t that nice? Doesn’t that sound like a rap hug? That’s how I feel about the sunshine rainbowy type of televangelists. They aren’t here to bring anybody down, they’re here to sing and dance and throw happiness out like rice at a wedding. And sometimes, televangelists take the analogy one step further and have uniquely shaped/sized haircuts that are as unusual as Kid’s was back in the day. (Bonus points if the televangelist can do the Kid n’ Play dance routine with their worship minister. You know the one I’m talking about.)
4. The 50 Cent Televangelist
50 Cent, a former drug dealer, was shot 9 times. He survived and went on to become one of the most successful rappers ever. But for at least the first five years of his career, you couldn’t say his name without also saying, “did you know he was shot 9 times?” It was practically a law that you had to repeat his crazy past to magnify his current success. I get that and it makes sense to me that some televangelists do the same thing. I know one television show that has the host literally crawling out of a cardboard box every episode to illustrate that he had once been homeless. And I like that. I dig some back story and the crazier the better. I think it shows how cool God is.
5. The Patrick Ewing Televangelist
OK, Patrick Ewing is not a rapper. He’s a former professional basketball player, but he’s also the sweatiest person I’ve ever seen in my life. Back when he used to wait for someone to take two free throws, a towel boy would sit patiently under the hoop. As soon as the shot was taken, Ewing would step back and the boy would come out with some sort of extra absorbent mop for the small ocean of sweat that was on the floor. Every now and then, while watching a televangelist, I’ll wish that towel boy was sitting somewhere off stage and could come mop up the podium. Or maybe they should have a NASCAR type pit crew that jumps up and changes the minister’s shirt and towels down his shiny head during commercials. I’m just saying, something to think about.
I skipped the MC Hammer televangelist because it seemed too obvious to compare a rapper that lost all his money to a televangelist that lost all his money. Plus, Hammer gave us the song, “Pray,” so I got nothing but love for him at this point.