March has welcomed in this year's 4th Annual Gospel Hip-Hop Month, the annual celebration meant to observe "The Artist, The Music, and The Ministry" of this Christian music genre.
The theme of this year's event - sponsored by TRUTH entertainment, a Los Angeles production and promotions company that creates positive events for Christians in their 20s and 30s - is focusing more on the "Ministry" side of the music, and how artists can actively reach out and become involved with people in their community.
The hope is that the music can make a difference in people's lives, helping them come to know the Lord or make more of a commitment to Him.
"Ministry means service," explained Nicole Smith, co-founder of TRUTH, in a statement, "and our goal is to shine the light on those artists that are stepping off the stage to hold Bible studies, start churches, take positions as youth leaders and pastors, hit the streets as evangelists and fly to foreign soil on missionary trips."
Gospel Hip-Hop Month will continue all throughout the month and will highlight a grand-finale celebration on the last day, Mar. 31, on the campus of The University of Southern California (USC). At "The Underground," as the celebration is called, students will be able to listen to several gospel hip-hip artists as well as perhaps perform at the open mic.
Gospel Hip-Hop Month was first created in 2004 by TRUTH entertainment to allow exposure to positive urban music that is becoming more prominent.
"The purpose of the celebration is simple: increase Gospel Hip-Hop music's exposure and educate both the church and the general public about its uplifting message for today's Hip-Hop generation," said Carla Yorke, other co-founder of the sponsoring group, in a statement.
In collaboration with TRUTH entertainment, internet-based radio talk show The Edge has agreed to be a partner in the festivities. It will hold a gospel hip-hop theme until the end of the month, and will play affirmative music as well as featuring conversations on a range of gospel hip-hop related topics.