Friday, April 23rd, 2010

Being Christlike: Tamara Lowe, The Motivational Rapper For Jesus

Love the one that hung on the hill, YO.What are the Christians up to these days? Rapping! Or, well, "rapping." Still. But in a weird new TV-show-referencing way. This video comes courtesy of an honest-to-goodness Mom email forward: It's a middle-aged lady, Tamara Lowe, doing her trademark "rap," which is about cramming as many pop culture proper nouns into one singsongy poem as possible. (And God, and the Bible.)

The old guy's "ha. ha. ha. ha." laugh at the end is so appropriate.

If you enter "Tamara Lowe" into YouTube, you'll find a bunch of videos of Tamara performing this same exact singsongy poem with approximated rap roots and gesticulations at motivational seminars and on shows like The 700 Club, all from the past six months or so (the above video has over 600,000 views). Many of the YouTube commenters are critical, either because they think rap is inherently satanic or they think Mrs. Lowe is too rich and famous to be delivering her message. (Cough: the bracelet!) Lowe doesn't seem to have any other raps, just this one, and it's amusing to imagine her practicing it for weeks in front of her mirror at home. ("Not now, Jonah, Mommy is rapping! Go watch your Veggie Tales!")

Tamara Lowe and her husband Peter Lowe run a series of motivational seminars called "Get Motivated!" whose keynote speakers have included George W. Bush (his much-ballyhood post-Presidential speaking debut last fall was at a "Get Motivated!" seminar), Bill Clinton, Colin Powell, and Goldie Hawn (Yes, Goldie Hawn.) Wikipedia says of Lowe:

She describes her ascent from drug addict and dealer with an 8th grade education to a person who has met 6 U.S. presidents and has earned a Masters degree.

She's probably met 6 U.S. presidents because her business pays them outrageous speaking fees, but no matter. Lowe describes her testimony as going "from LSD to PhD!" But we shouldn't make fun of her too much, actually, because she sort of disses Fox News in her rap.

This is the introductory video that plays before every "Get Motivated" seminar. It's about motivation (and the dictionary definition, of course), and how "motivation was the drive behind" many great historical moments. Well, no shit, motivation is the drive behind all actions. That's why it's called "motivation." It's synonymous with "drive." So the video is very vague, but you have to hand it to them for diversity. And for trying to get away with something in supreme last-minute fourth-grade report style.

Anyway, that's what the Christians are up to right now.

Previously: Old Christian Videos: Amy Grant's 'Lead Me On'

Lindsay Robertson writes about pop culture and weird videos for places like Vulture and Jezebel, and about celebrity hair for Yahoo!.

44 Comments / Post A Comment

deepomega (#1,720)

Didn't watch the video (tl;dw) but I looked at the pictures and refuse to believe that this isn't Samantha Bee.

DoctorDisaster (#1,970)

The Sarah Palin to Bee's Tina Fey, at least.

petejayhawk (#1,249)

I was sent to a Get Motivated seminar by an employer a few years ago. We wanted to leave early and head to a bar but our manager had sneakily sent along his office manager to keep tabs. It was truly horrifying; most of the speakers were only trying to sell things.

Art Yucko (#1,321)

isn't that the point of any and every "motivational" seminar, though?

petejayhawk (#1,249)

Yes, but this one had an abnormally high ick factor. Too Jesusy, that was probably a large part of it.

Art Yucko (#1,321)

Je$u$y, ew. OK, I'm with you. Time for an escape strategy and a holy-water cleanse afterward. (holy-water = gin&tonic.)

Slava (#216)

Nah, man… All motivational seminars have an abnormally high ick factor, whether they're about Jesus, Investing, Real Estate or some Work-From-Home pyramid scheme or other.
Someone should do a study, because I'm fairly certain that people who attend these events end up less motivated and poorer than similar people who don't fall for such things.

petejayhawk (#1,249)

But that's why the Get Motivated ones are the worst – they are all of those things ROLLED TOGETHER.

And then when you force me to drive to TOPEKA, KANSAS to attend it? Yeah, off-the-charts ick.

And yes, it did leave me less motivated, because I realized that my employer was the sort of business that considered shit like that "professional development." And they wouldn't even reimburse me for gas.

alison (#14)

My parents are occasional Awl readers, so I am now 80% sure I'll get a mom email forward of this post.

Slava (#216)

Parents on The Awl are the new Parents on Facebook.

scroll_lock (#4,122)

A little practice for the Rapture can't hurt.

NicFit (#616)

This broad knows way too much about bad TV.

Art Yucko (#1,321)

but I heard no mention of Jeff Foxworthy.

KenWheaton (#401)

I've seen her win a couple slams at Nuyorican.

Isn't DMX already the motivational rapper for Jesus?

Actually, he's more like the "Case Against Jesus" rapper.

jfruh (#713)

This is definitely more bad slam poetry than bad rap.

Also, I'm all for delivering a religious message as not being like something irrelevant to your life that you'd get at your grandma's church, but if you come right out and say that, it sounds like you're trying too hard.

Also also, holy crap, that bracelet! What is it made of? Surely not actual diamonds? There would be so many! I couldn't help but stare at, magpie-like, throughout her performance.

"This is definitely more bad slam poetry than bad rap." Story of my life, jfruh. Story of my life.

Seriously though, there are few things I love more than great slam poetry and great rap. But there's nothing worse than bad versions of either.

Crantastical (#4,127)

re: the bracelet – QVC? HSN?

djfreshie (#875)

Ripped off straight from George Carlin, I do believe

roboloki (#1,724)

i liked her better when she was snorting heroin and doing atm.

C_Webb (#855)

Wow. That's what the complete absence of rhythm sounds like.

HiredGoons (#603)

The meek shall inherit da Erf.

(is that racist?)

But don't forget: The poor are the ones who inherit the debt.

Mindpowered (#948)

It is easier for a CDO to pass by the SEC than a poor man to enter heaven.

Mindpowered (#948)

@HG No, just Soud Efrican.

Mindpowered (#948)

Poor Man? WTF Rich MAN!

alannaofdoom (#4,512)

I had to stop at "council tribal". YIKES.

Maybe she meant it like "Attorneys General."

Asa (#1,055)

I couldn't even summon up the nerve to press play. I think I'd rather watch a Rappin' Granny, or maybe the terrifying Old Man Breakdancer Thing from Six Flags commercials.

cherrispryte (#444)

I read this quickly as "The Motivational Raper For Jesus"

HiredGoons (#603)

Leave the Vatican out of this, thanks.

kingdiamond (#3,211)

For me, nothing beats Li'l Markie in the category of demented-yet-creative zealotry.

kingdiamond (#3,211)

aaaaaaaannnd I guess the youtube embed code did nothing? Link, then:

Li'l Markie Sings

thesauros (#4,572)

At all cost – avoid the message, criticise the messenger and maybe it won't apply to you.

roboloki (#1,724)

jesus loves a sinner

Atencio (#399)

As someone else pointed out, this owes a lot more to George Carlin than it does any form or style of hip-hop.

Trevor Jackson (#1,792)

Still cracking up at "Go watch your Veggie Tales!"

It's these little touches that establish your credibility.

balsa_wood (#465)

At least she's not aping Suicide.

bambi1215 (#4,889)

Oh thee of little faith. Her message is a good one. Television has made us forget who we are or why we are even here. Everyone covets everything their neighbors, friends and family have. If everyone told just one person of their faith in Jesus Christ the world would be a better place, but because she is telling everyone you have to criticize her. Do the Ten Commandments mean anything anymore. Revivals reach Christians and a few others. But when God has his great revival will you be one of the ones begging for mercy because you stoned his messangers. I pray everyone on here will accept Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior and feel the immense joy he can bring to your life. It really is awesome!

lightsabre (#5,206)

apart from Bambi its interesting to see how rampant cynicism has crept into our psyche to the point that whenever there is something slightly 'upbeat' or positive…someone will try and bring it down.

lightsabre (#5,206)

BTW – her point was to be a good rapper wasnt it?! LOL!

"Anyway, that's what the Christians are up to right now." Based on the quality of your writing, I'm going to say that you are too smart to make that kind of statement. With respect, I will help you with your research.

The United Church of Christ has taken an active role in supporting First Lady Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" campaign against childhood obesity. The UCC's Centro Romero in San Ysidro, CA operates an immersion project in California addressing the root causes of immigration from Latin America, such as maquiladoras in Mexico and the growing trade deficit. It's an immersion program, based on the idea that we do not know the experience of immigrants, the pain people feel when they leave their homes, the fear they feel when they illegally reside in a different country, they hunger and illness they frequently suffer, but we can try to understand some basics, ad we must. We must be compassionate and try to solve problems, and not be punitive. We must be Christlike. The center does its work in tandem with the UCC's LGBT community. The UCC is an open and affirming faith community for gay, lesbian, and transgendered Christians.

What Christians are up to? Why would you, under a picture of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s picture, of all places, write that?

As a Christian, a compassionate person with deep faith, I request an apology from you.

I almost forgot, in addition to being a person who recognizes that Christians are a diverse faith community rather than a homogenous body represented by one woman, I am also a Parent on Facebook. You don't limit your sarcasm to religious bigotry, but extend yourself to ageism as well. You're consistent.

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