Gospel artiste, Chozenn, has responded publicly to the media and critics in general for the first time since the backlash surrounding his decision to remake a popular raunchy Dovey Magnum dancehall song, ‘Bawl Out’, as a gospel song of the same name, but with clean lyrics.
And he is in no uncertain position, considering the wide split in perspectives on his unusual move.
“I am not surprised, neither am I disappointed. Christ was called a blasphemer. He was persecuted. He was not a respecter of religion or tradition or culture, and he was crucified. Same way dem a beat me, so that is how I know I am on the right path; me and God good,” he told Loop News reporter, Claude Mills.
“This is the same kind of music that brought me to Christ, the same type of sound. I started listening to Omari first, then Prodigal Son and Nicholas. That is radical gospel. This is warfare. We have to take back the minds of the youth, and renew minds. This song is a mind renewal antidote,” he declared.
Chozenn found himself in the eye of a firestorm of criticism last week, which was so intense that it prompted the nation’s number one gospel station, LOVE FM, to ban the remake from its airwaves to appease outraged Christians.
But the young artiste remains stoic in the face of the backlash, and vowed to stick to his path.
He revealed to Loop News that he has even turned down an offer from a major independent label that sought to secure a licensing agreement with him to sell the song online through various digital platforms.
“This song is not for profit,” Chosen declared.
He said he is unfazed by the brouhaha around the song, and theorised that the work of art will prevail in its purpose to win new souls to Christianity because “God is always doing something new”.
In fact, he went on the offensive, in declaring that, “These self-appointed Jesus secretaries should not try to limit God, and try not to get caught up in emotions.”
He quoted Isaiah 43 verse 9, which reads: “Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it?”
The artiste criticised the commercial philosophy that underpins the modern-day operations of the church.
“God’s love and compassion is being replaced with rules and marketing. I am seeing businessmen and business women doing gospel, and not God people doing business. We put business and emotions first, and water down the word of God,” he said.
Chozenn said among his purposes, is to try to win souls from the clutches of dancehall, from which he emerged musically, and deliver them to Christ.
“I came from dancehall, and now I am trying to win some people from dancehall and bring them to Christ. God uses anyone and any situation to bring people to Him. My life clearly exemplifies that anything bad can become good. I was a womaniser, a fornicator and a liar, and now I walk God’s path,” he said.
Chozenn said he believes that there is a clear process through which souls can be saved from the unsaved masses.
“Unsaved people cannot worship, they praise. And through praise, deliverance occurs. There are levels of deliverance. First you praise, you stamp your feet or beat a fence, and through that, there is deliverance, and you are saved, and then you have a relationship with God,” said the young artiste.
“Bounty (Killer) has God in him, he praises but him no worship because he is not saved. So it is a process; we have to meet people where they are at. But the church is mixed up and overly critical and religious,” he said.
He believes that Christians are reading the bible without understanding. He quoted Corinthians 6 vs 17, which declares: “Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.”
“They take it literally, because they are not understanding the scripture. They are reading without understanding. Separate and apart, but from sin, not from people, God came for the people,” he said.
The entertainer also paraphrased Hosiah 4 vs 6, which reads: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me,” to show that Christians must try to divine a true understanding of the word.
“Christians need to read the word with understanding, because without understanding, they will perish because of lack of knowledge. Wisdom is facts; understand what you are reading. By trying to separate themselves from the world, Christians are doing it wrong.
“Everybody ah God people, whether they are homosexuals, liars, rapists, lesbians; we are all sons and daughters of God. The problem is really the sin, but we are all still God ‘pickney’, why the separation?” he asked.
Chozenn believes that by divorcing themselves from the world, many Christians do the nation a grave injustice, and indulge in a terrible form of hypocrisy.
“When Christians lock up in the church, then the nation start to suffer. If Christians are not of the world, and (do) not touch the things of the world, then why use toothpaste? Why use a toothbrush? Why wear suits?
“When the bishop is driving an X5, is a ‘worlian’ make it inna Germany. A no Christians make dem ting deh, it is hypocritical to separate yourselves from the world and still use worldly things. We have to use wisdom,” he said.
Asked about LOVE FM’s programme supervisor, Nadine Blair’s, assertion that “God is not short of number one songs, God is not short of melodies, lyrics and rhythm…,” Chozenn responded thus:
“That’s just an emotional response; that’s not from the spirit. God is no respecter of culture or genres. God doesn’t (particularly) respect anybody. He will do anything for the word, to get the message to the people.”
Chozenn said there has been an overwhelmingly positive response from the secular members of the public to his controversial song, and it seems, from his perspective, that that is what really matters.
“The testimonies are coming in. A girl told me that she was having sex on Dovey Magnum’s song one day and later she heard my song, and there was instant conviction (she got saved).
“Some people are saying that my song is the summer anthem, so it is funny how Christians have the problem. Why can’t they get the dirty song out of their heads?” he asked.
He closed with a plea for Christians to stop trying to “limit God”.
“We are not aliens, we are human beings. We are in the real world. You cannot limit God; you can’t say that God is not in need of hit songs,” he said in a clear indication that God is in charge, not mankind.