It’s hard for fully dressed female rappers to find an audience—particularly those who claim to follow Jesus. A small sorority in an already niche music market, these Christian performers are up against the economic pressures of the industry as well as the cultural expectations often heaped upon women of faith.
Take Houston native HillaryJane for example. Earlier this year, the 20-year-old, once-homeless singer, who began leading preteens in church choirs when she was only a few grades ahead of them, was elated after promoters wanted to add her to a multi-city Christian hip-hop tour. But the offer was rescinded because one of the record labels involved didn’t feel comfortable having her travel with their all-male roster.
The underlying concern: Late nights and close quarters with a mix of attractive, unattached young people might open the door to temptations for inappropriate romantic behavior from anyone involved. Or it could at least look like that was a possibility. (The same thought is probably why you’re unlikely to find a Christian college with co-ed dorms.)
While HillaryJane appreciated the protective concern being shown by her brothers in Christ, she admits the news was disappointing. After her debut EP reached the number 3 spot on the iTunes R&B/Soul sales chart in July, the tour could have been a career boon by introducing her to new, but already endearing, audiences of faith-based music fans. The extended time on the road would also offer a wealth of opportunities to network with other artists and provide a public co-sign from them. Such subtle endorsements from established performers are vital to up-and-coming hip-hop acts.
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