Washington in for Culture Shock

Published 1:10 am Friday, January 27, 2012

Contributing Writer
Christian hip-hop artist Curvine with Christ Culture Ministries of Dallas, Texas, performs at Harvest Church on Saturday as part of Culture Shock 2012.
Nearly 300 people are expected to attend, according to organizers.
The outreach event focuses on ages 12 to 25, but “it’s also for the kids and young at heart,” said Hannah Oliver, youth and children’s pastor.
Oliver said today’s teenagers face pressures to conform to popular culture. She hopes this event will challenge youth to be different.
“Teenagers don’t have to do everything everyone tells them to do,” Oliver said.  “They don’t have to be branded. They can stand for certain values and not let pop culture influence them.”
The desire of teenagers wanting to conform to the beliefs and actions of their friends is not a new concept, she noted.
Motivational speaker Curvine said he knows all too well about conformity.
Coming from a Christian upbringing, Curvine attended church every Sunday, but at age 12, “believing the lies of a secular culture,” he became addicted to drugs.
“Seeing friends hanging out late, seeing friends smoking and drinking, I was swayed by the peer pressure just to be,” he said.
During a defining moment, he said, he began to realize the desire to conform was leading him to push family and friends away, use illegal drugs and commit illegal acts. His speech Saturday will focus on avoiding negative messages that lead to self-destructive behavior, he said.
“Teenagers are faced with lies and bombarded with images,” he said.
Because he can relate to teen peer pressure, Curvine hopes this Saturday teens will walk away “knowing life is valuable, that purpose should not be defined by culture and not shaped to what Lil Wayne says is hot, but that one should be true to their own identity and who they are.”
He never thought he would perform alongside artists like Israel Houghton.
“No way, no way. Ten years ago, I was a 120-pound drug addict, sitting on a porch on house arrest.”
He responds, “No baby, don’t throw Dora into the water.”
Curvine, a Christ for the Nations Institute graduate, is married and has two children.
He is the co-founder and director of Christ Culture Ministries. He is in the process of creating a nonprofit to stop what he calls a human-trafficking epidemic by utilizing music and the arts.
Hope Bohrer has been a member of Harvest Church for more than 20 years.  She said Culture Shock is an opportunity to fellowship with others and that it has something for everyone.
“I believe everyone will be able to relate to Curvine,” said Bohrer, “and other performances taking place on stage.”
Christian rock band Sumerlin from Wilmington and local Christian rappers Nathan Burns and Clifton Royster open for Curvine. The event is free to the public.
“It will encourage change and cause youth to take a stand,” Oliver said.