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November 11, 2010

Ja Rule Takes Lead in Faith-Based Film

Rapper with a rap sheet plays lead role in 'I'm in Love With a Church Girl," due in 2011

Ja Rule, a foul-mouthed rapper with a history of gun and drug charges, is playing the lead role in an upcoming film about a troubled man who finds faith and turns his life around. Rule is so proud of the part, he says it's got a "shot at winning awards and sh*t." Hoo boy.

I'm in Love with a Church Girl recently finished filming and is slated for a 2011 TBA release. The film is based on the true story of Galley Molina, a former music industry exec who was involved in drug trafficking and did prison time before finding God; he's now a youth pastor at Evergreen Valley Church in San Jose.

In an interview on the film's official website, Ja Rule said "I almost felt like I was that character" -- and it's easy to see why. Rule has been in trouble with the law numerous times with drug and gun charges, though he's never served time in jail; a gun charge is still pending. And his potty mouth is notorious; all seven of his studio albums come with explicit language warnings. In a recent interview, he ripped fellow artists -- using the term "n*ggas" -- for what he perceives as misuse of the phrase "keeping it real." Rule said, "You know what keeping it real is? Feeding your f*cking family, taking care of your f*cking kids, that's what's keeping it real. All that other frivolous bullsh*t is just that." Hmmm, okay.

Rule, who has acted before (The Fast and the Furious, Scary Movie 3), is clearly proud to be part of a faith-based project: "I just shot this real ill movie, this Tyler Perry sh*t called I’m In Love With A Church Girl, with Adrienne Bailon. They talking about taking it to the festivals and sh*t. So we can get a shot at winning awards and sh*t. It’s like everything is moving in the right direction for me right now." (Note: It's not a Tyler Perry film.)

I wonder if they'll be sending Rule to pastors' conferences and churches to plug the film, and other sh*t like that? Good Lord.

The film also stars Stephen Baldwin, Michael Madsen, and former Cheetah Girl Adrienne Bailon, Christian rappers TobyMac and T-Bone also appear in the film.

Molina says that “the message of this film is really simple but profound. Sometimes God needs to use extreme measures to deal with extreme circumstances. I was that extreme circumstance. This film is simply about the power of God in a man’s life. The unique part of this story aside from being based and inspired on my real-life experiences is that I wrote it while I was incarcerated in a federal prison on drug trafficking charges.”

The movie will be the first release from Reverence Gospel Media. Here's a video of Molina talking about the film:


OK, so I typically find myself on the conservative side of lots of Christians-and-entertainment conversations (you know, be careful what you watch, Christians shouldn't use bad language, etc.). This post just strikes me as more than a tad condescending, though. I mean, I get it, Ja Rule is a messy guy who doesn't show many signs of stopping making bad decisions just because he's in a Christian film. And it might make for great blogging entertainment to imagine this guy stumping the film in our nice sanitized Christian film circles. The situation is indeed quite humorous.

But let's think about it. Most people I rub shoulders with on a daily basis don't talk like Ja Rule. But lots of people do use his vernacular. And if we want a vibrant, artful, Christian film industry that takes risks and can be sustainable outside of making by-the-numbers, sanitized-to-a-level-acceptable-by-your-typical-white-Christianity-Today-reader, we need to have filmmakers willing to take risks on people like Ja Rule. My guess is simply based on his involvement in a film like this-there's probably something under the surface going on spiritually for him. Nevertheless, there will be plenty of people who have a problem with this movie simply because he is in it and he doesn't talk the way we do, etc. Only God knows if this kind of pressure will be a positive or negative impact in Ja Rule's journey.

All of this, of course, is news. I think there might have been ways of constructively bringing these topics up as news without contributing to the problem.

The movie has a great story and reflects the importance of humility and forgiveness. This movie focused on being a true christian and how to accept everything.