The Case for Christ Bearer in an Era of Media Assasination

When news broke that Wu Tang affiliate Andre 'Christ Bearer' Johnson had attempted to commit suicide in a uniquely painful way, the media had a field day. The author, a friend of Christ Bearer, says the judgement is unfair without knowing the life of the person and artist.


(The author with Christ Bearer)

Initially, I was apprehensive about writing this. When a good friend, a public figure, has had such a huge life changing incident there is a reverence for privacy that needs to be respected. The day I heard about what was being reported my heart sunk. As soon as I saw the sensationalist headline "Wu Tang affiliate apparent suicide attempt," something told me before I opened the article who it was about. Not because Christ Bearer is the kind of person who is unpredictable, but intuitively I understood the type of painful place that he is coming from.

I first met Christ Bearer a year or two ago through a mutual friend. Working on a documentary about the sociopolitical themes of 90's hip hop that are lost in the era of disco glitter and dumbed down content. He was quick to help out for free, introducing me to artists and giving me first hand recollections of the by gone days of real hip hop on the radio. By a funny coincidence it turned out Christ Bearer only lived a few blocks away. Almost instantly the brother was hanging out on the regular, borrowing rare cult movies from my collection of obscure Asian cinema, introducing me to rock bands at after parties and when I had a severe injury, was the only one calling to check if I was getting groceries with messed up leg and impounded car.

It’s easy for me to say this is my brother. What is difficult for me to say is what his personal struggles are. What demons does he face? What insecurities and hardships have formed him as a person? I know I respect him as an artist, but do I trust him around my friends and family? Absolutely, at his best, Christ can be deep with ideas and listens attentively to what people have to say, other times he can be moody and from zero to clearing out a party bare handed in a heart beat. Christ is solid as they come, he has no hesitation with creativity, working behind the scenes on a lot of projects and lacing younger rappers with wisdom and experience from first hand dues paid in a career of 20+ years.

Christ Bearer is a rare kind of rapper. He can easily blend genres from hard core Wutang knowledge raps with the familiar tropes, but rooted in the west coast g funk era he came out of. Christ is man of high moral fiber, a serious ride or die buddy who would not leave a brother in a hectic situation, so i think its important we all be his vanguard now while he is hooked to tubes and breathing machines.

It's an old story, an artist who has the world pushing down on their shoulders in life. Van Gogh lived in poverty, his paintings destroyed by his family and in some cases used as fencing for chickens. His life was constant torment, inner turmoil of second guessing his craft, self harm and in the end falling from the public eye only to be one of the greatest painters of his time once his work was rediscovered after death. Mozart, lived a bohemian life with little recognition or ability to earn a living wage from his music. I am thankful this is not how Christ Bearer's story has ended.

In the case of Christ Bearer, he has been sacked by the media, detailing his music "never being well received." I think it's easy for some tabloid to cash in on lurid details, leaked information and rumors from those who did not want to add to the chaos. What it has become is a mirror into the detestable lows our media has taken, always interested in what degrades humanity, while ignoring so much we should be talking about. I do not support the abhorrent culture of unpleasant tumult we are force fed by MTV, and every one else with reality TV taking up the breadth of their programming.

We have entered into an era of media vampires, using cultural icons to deceive and divide us. We have talentless slime commenting on people’s pain and suffering as fodder for jokes and in a sound-byte someone has been humiliated and in some cases destroyed. We have to look at what is the science behind this. Are the masses so contemptuous by the powers that be that we are herded to the slaughter by the Jerry Springers, Fox News, and any other example of contemptible people who use half truths and manipulative baited questions to nurture all that is broken in our communities, in our homes and in our streets?

This situation is about as sad as it gets. A protege of Rza, before that Dogg Pound and Death Row left tumbling around the barriers that hold back artists from that select few allowed on the radio and tv for over a decade.  He made his way in an industry that moved away from lyricism into a cartoon version of rap, where ex-prison guards and Canadian child stars telling us about the cold world we all live in every day from their balconies in Calabasas Hills and yachts paid for your children’s allowances in Florida. When we all can name a hundred real MC's that craft music true to the culture, and can’t pay their mortgages.

The message I take away from this incident is the measure of a man is not in what trouble he gets into, but the silent every day hardship that through winter and heat waves continues to make art that helps them sleep at night, and by default can define the lives of others they never met. This media bullying should all make us turn off the TV gossip mongers, refuse to look at the blogs and predatory PR sites making millions off the culture with out contributing any thing healthy or educational. I think we should look at our pals on social media who thought this was the greatest story ever, swooped in with nasty words to shame and degrade a man they never met, and we should filter out these creatures who feed on the suffering of others. I have lost so much respect, for every one I saw going on diatribes against my brother.

Christ Bearer is the most well known person on the planet right now, and for all the wrong reasons. I hope he will not bite the hook to be some caricature of himself for reality tv, or make bit parts in Wayans brothers comedies in a series of self depreciating jokes. My hope is the brother takes some time to write, to reflect and renew his journey unaltered from the path he has always been on, to use music as a cathartic means of empowerment, taking the darkness and turning it to light. The media circus may have a glimmer of silver lining. In the whirlwind of E true hollywood story and A&E biography specials, late night tv interviews, he can tell his story his way and be more than a news story with a snarky byline. When Christ Bearer takes the reigns of his destiny, chances are you will be humbled and inspired by how it ends in triumph.

This article is uncategorized. Browse other categories ».
This article is untagged. Browse other tags ».

Comments

No comments.

Post a comment

Valid XHTML 1.0 Valid CSS