A Christian Mom recently posted a video rant that’s gone viral about a song titled Norf Norf by Vince Staples. If you’d like to view the rant for yourselves, you can click here. But to summarize, her 11 year old daughter wanted to listen to a radio station that played the popular music hits of today. The mother states she doesn’t care for that preferring Christian music, but willingly obliged for her daughter. She didn’t have any problem with the songs she heard until after she dropped her daughter off and the aforementioned song played. After hearing it she was furious and vowed to never let her daughter listen to that station again. The mother proceeded to recite the lyrics and express disbelief as to what kids were listening to today. She concludes by calling on parents to pray for their youth. While she has a right to be concerned about whatever messages she wants her daughter listening to, some of her points perhaps lacks some understanding and context.
Popular music of the past
She first recalls popular music that she grew up listening to: Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, N’Sync, Backstreet Boys. The problem with that argument is that some of these artists released music that wasn’t exactly considered “Christian-friendly” either. Britney Spears had a song titled “Slave 4 U”, Christina Aguilera had a song called “Dirty”, both of which clearly promoted female promiscuity and sexuality. I would imagine this mother wouldn’t probably want her daughters listening to those songs. I also found it odd that she pointed to those artists, all of whom are white pop artists, in comparison to this black rap artist. I assume she did this unintentionally, but I found that choice of distinction to be a bit peculiar. Though I don’t say peculiar to suggest she holds any racially negative feelings. The larger point to be focused on is that within popular music there has always been controversial lyrics, so the outrage to this particular song seems to be a bit of an overreach. Does it seem that the content of this particular song is any different from things that have been in rap songs or other popular music in the past? Is it possible she just simply has a particular bias against rap music (which is acceptable if she doesn’t like rap)?
Run from the police
To the issue of the content of the lyrics, I would suggest to this mother to think about why people write songs. In general, and I can profess to this as a songwriter myself from time to time, most songs are written based off of people’s experiences. It’s hard for anyone to write a song on something in some way they haven’t personally experienced, and thus can’t personally express their feelings on that particular issue. In understanding “Norf Norf” within that context, perhaps the mother should question why Mr. Staples expresses a desire to run from the police in the chorus of the song. Maybe possibly ponder the stories in the news in recent years relating to unarmed African-Americans being shot and other issues relating to police interactions with people of color.
Consider the environment this artist may have grown up in that might have given many of the experiences he expresses in the verses in his song. Perhaps it’s a reflection of society as a whole having not helped enough with people growing up in certain experiences where they feel a need to express it in music to get people to listen to what’s going on in their communities. If this mother is that upset about what she heard, why not also focus some of her outrage to the problems of inner-city youth, rather than just being solely outraged about whatever her daughter and other youth might be hearing? It’s a noble that she called for people to pray for the youth, which is a good thing that can be done.
Though let’s also recall James 2:15-16 which states, “15 If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?” And 1 John 3:17 states, “17 But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?” Now this isn’t to suggest she doesn’t actively try to do more than just pray for people, but just a reminder that Christians have more of a responsibility to others than just praying for them. Does it seem possible this mother needs to be more educated on the experiences that lead to the expression of these lyrics? Should she express some concern for the issues of the song, and not just solely on the influence it has on her daughter?
Final thoughts on Christian mom and music
Now admittedly when I listened to Norf Norf, which I’d never heard of before the Christian mom rant story went viral, I actually liked it. I do confess I have a slight bias being a huge fan of rap. I admire the art of telling stories through consistently diverse rhymes and effortless flow into the rhythm of sounds and beats. I even try to do it myself sometimes, but trust me, you don’t want to hear that! Self-deprecating jokes aside, do I always agree with the sentiment and content expressed, no. Though I can still admire the artistry and understand where the expression is coming from.
I want to also say that I can understand the mother’s particular sentiment that she was expressing. This whole article isn’t intended to bash her desires of instilling positive messages into her children and to see it instilled into all youth. That’s admirable and something all parents should desire to do with their children. The only thing I’m criticizing is that her outrage to this particular song might be a bit hypocritical, and that also perhaps it would be helpful if she expanded her understanding of why these songs exist in the context of the larger problems in society rather than just saying to paraphrase her, “this music is crap and we need to save our youth from it”.
As always, any questions or comments, feel free to share them with me and I’ll happily respond to them. If this writing enlightened you in anyway, I would greatly appreciate if you shared it across your social media by clicking on one of the share buttons below. Peace to all those who are in Christ.