port of harlem magazine
Ebenezer AME Church - Ghana 2020 trip
Gambian Rapper Sparks Outrage Over Image Mimicking Jesus’s Crucifixion
December 31, 2020 – January 13, 2021

one pac

ned the wino as black jesus

A picture of Gambian rapper One Pac affixed to the cross appeared online to promote an upcoming concert dubbed “The Return of Gambia’s Heavyweight.” Instead of adulation as he sought, the artist was meet with condemnation in the majority Muslim nation.

“I am Muslim and a proud Muslim, but my religion (Islam) does not teach me to mock other religions,” Port Of Harlem reader Saidou Anna Ibn Ahmad told this magazine via Facebook. In Islam, Jesus is called Essa and is considered a prophet. “In fact, Essa (Jesus) was one of the mightiest messengers of God,” continued Ahmad.

Islam prohibits images of the Prophet Muhammad and some of the Facebook comments on the rapper’s “Jesus-like” image referred to the teacher in France who showed caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in class and later decapitated. The immigrant suspect, Abdoullakh Aboutezidovitch A, was shot dead by police shortly after the incident.

France has the largest Muslim population in Western Europe and Islam is the country's second largest religion. Gambia is 90 percent Muslim, with about 10 percent of its citizens being Christian. Unlike France, Gambians live relatively free of religious strife and bigotry.

Kebba Cessay, head of the non-partisan Operation No To Tribalism & Religious Intolerance, told the Standard newspaper, “Yes, we may be live in a pretty politically-divided country, but as Gambians, we need to make sure that whatever we think politically, we clearly and loudly condemn any ideology that espouses bigotry, hatred, discrimination, and violence. We want to continue living peacefully with our Christians brothers and sisters.”

In the United States, celebrities depicting themselves “like Jesus” is not uncommon. In 2006, Kanye West dressed up as Jesus on the cover of Rolling Stone.  Added historian Dr. Ida Jones, University Archivist at Morgan State University, “The pop idol is close to being a god. Many modern performers are deifying themselves such as Ja (Rastafarian) Rule, Jeezy (Jesus) Ala Kanye West and Queen Bee (cultic personalization by some) Ala Beyonce. This thin line being crossed blurs reality for impressionable persons creating room for misinformation and misinterpretation and mindless worship.”

The outcry did make an impression on One Pac. The rapper from Bakau, a city south of the capital city of Banjul, later apologized via video.  (See report, including a short performance and apology.)

A sponsor of the concert, QCELL, a major mobile service company, condemned the act and issued the following statement, reported the Daily Echos newspaper: “QCELL has informed the promoter that we will not sponsor any show that features ‘One Pac’ and we have been assured that the artist will not be on the upcoming show.”
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Video: Gambian Christians: We need not to crucify One Pac

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