Days after the death of another young Black rapper, Atlanta-area Pastor Jamal Bryant addressed the problem of inner-city violence, calling it a “modern-day Holocaust.” At New Birth Missionary Baptist Church on Nov. 6, he offered prayers of protection over the community’s Black men and encouraged congregants to actively pursue peace.
On November 1, 28-year-old singer Takeoff (of the rap group Migos) was shot to death after a party in Houston. At New Birth the following Sunday, during a sermon titled “There’s Got to Be Another Way,” Bryant asked young Black men to come up and receive a special blessing.
Jamal Bryant Prays Over Young Black Men
Jamal Bryant, standing in front of photos of slain rappers and a large “Black Lives Matter” sign, asked young Black men to come forward. “Y’all better shout for these champions. You better shout for these business leaders,” the pastor told worshipers. “These young men are gonna change the world. They don’t have to dribble a basketball or throw a football, but their mind is gonna open up doors for them.”
Saying he wants to give Satan “a black eye” and let him know he won’t take this generation, Bryant then led prayers for the group. He urged congregants to join him in praying “a hedge fence of protection for our young Black men in this community.”
Bryant assured the boys and teens that “a church full of men” is supporting them, ready to serve as role models of strong providers and protectors.
Two Black youth also led prayers, asking God for protection and for an end to the bloodshed. While sharing a clip from the service, one Twitter user writes: “Felt good to see a prayer led by the young men of the @newbirthmbc today in front of the whole congregation. Good move by @jamalhbryant because it’s little acts like this that create accountability in our young people.”
Take Action Against Gun Violence, Says Pastor Jamal Bryant
Speaking to TV station WSB about recent high-profile shootings, Jamal Bryant says, “I am afraid that this generation is adjusting to a culture of violence with no redress. This summer, this fall, I think we’ve lost six rappers to violence. … Yet we wonder why our people are under stress, under anxiety, under depression.”
The pastor wants his church to lead the fight against gun violence. Although he says he believes that “prayer works,” he quotes Frederick Douglass as saying, “I got more prayers answered when I got off my knees.” Bryant adds, “I think that prayer is the beginning, but an actionable, executable plan has got to come behind it.”