Performers focus on Christ at annual Sola Soul event

Several visiting poets, musicians and a dance team perform at Biola’s annual Sola Soul concert and set the event’s focus on Christ.

Emily Arnold, Writer

The leaves on the trees recently began dropping, and so did the hip-hop beats at Biola. On Friday, Nov. 4, the annual Sola Soul concert attracted a crowd of over 250 — a conglomeration of students eager to worship God through hip-hop, rap, slam poetry and dance.

“Putting on an event like this at Biola requires sensitivity and openness from everyone involved, facilitators and spectators alike,” said junior Nancy Davong, current 2011-2012 Multicultural Relations Chair. “As far as student planned events go, there isn’t really anything else like Sola Soul.”

Alumnus opens event

At 7 p.m., the hip-hop party began. Alain Datcher, a 2011 Biola graduate and former Associated Students Multicultural Relations chair, was the emcee of the night; he came out on stage rocking a fake mustache for “No Shave November.” Datcher pumped up the crowd by teaching them what he called “gospel aerobics” — he gave two-step lessons and made sure everybody in the crowd put their hands up in the ay-er.

“I love Sola Soul, and everything it represents — Christian hip-hop,” Datcher said. “Holy hip-hop is a genre I’ve been blessed by. It changed my life, so, when Sola Soul comes around, I’m always down to help.”

Rapper sets tone for the evening

JÜK, the first rapper on stage, had 20 minutes to wow the audience with his rapping and dancing. He rapped “Chapter 5”, a track off his album, “The Book of Matthew: Hip Hop Holy Bible,” which was released in July 2010. He encouraged crowd participation by inviting everyone to take out their New King James Version of the Bible and rap along with him.

From the first act, it became evident that the night was all about glorifying God, not esteeming the performers themselves.

JÜK’s lyrics set the tone: “It ain’t about this white dude trying to rap / It’s all about Jesus.”

Eric Vaughn challenges generation through poetry

Next up was a 21-year-old student from University of California at Los Angeles named Eric Vaughn. This official Passion for Christ Movement poet has over 60,000 views on his YouTube videos.

Vaughn’s passion for Christ is poured into his poetry, exemplified by his first piece, “True Social Justice,” which ended with the line, “In Christ, the only cure to social justice can be found.”

This was followed by “My Last Day as a Teenager,” through which he reflects on his first 20 years of life and encourages his “’90s babies” to “use our 20s to shake the foundations of this culture and embody Christ in a time when that’s looked down upon.”

In his last poem entitled, “Oh Really?” he sang lyrics from hit songs and then poetically questioned the deeper things in the hearts of the artists singing them. In response to Bruno Mars’ “Grenade,” Vaughn said, “Everyone should take their willingness to die and use it for the Lord who’s worth it.” He used his poetry as a means of challenging his generation to think about the way the media influence them, even through simple song lyrics.

“We got a whole generation of depressed teens let down by these fake promises of love preached by these artists,” Vaughn said.

Dance team from Catalyst LTM Church of Carson performs

Performing after him was a dance team from Catalyst LTM Church of Carson, Calif., who did a routine to “Beautiful Things” by Gungor.

Catalyst’s lead pastor, Dave Sormillon, shared how the dance team got to do this movement piece during a recent conference. Sormillon explained how the artists who created this piece wanted to move away from the portrayal of stereotypical sins and, instead, let their inspiration come from the true testimony of a member of their church. The utilized costumes, props, and the rugged dance style krumping to portray the hope of Jesus Christ.

“We want to tell you that there is a God who wants to breathe new life into you if you would just let him,” said Sormillon before the performance began.

Event ends with performances by GS and Bizzle

GS, the newest member of Bizzle’s God Over Money Records, was the second to last artist of the night. He hyped up the crowd with his catchy choruses and bumpin’ beats.

“My favorite part was when GS performed because was very contemporary and clever with his lyrics and was a great crowd pleaser,” said freshman Robert Rodriguez who, “saw Sola Soul as a great alternative to worship through rap rather than a typical worship band.”

GS invited Bizzle on stage to rap with him and he got to close out the concert. Bizzle took the time to exhort the audience in between songs, encouraging people to follow their dreams and trust in God’s will for their lives.

“I really enjoyed the energy of Sola Soul because of how pure it was,” junior Nicole Adams said. “To see such genuine artistic expression was really refreshing, and I was more drawn into the concert than I expected to be.”

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