by Chris Monroe, Staff Writer
Rapping on the phone with one of the premier Christian rap artists, T-Bone (appearing in The Fighting Temptations) was a great opportunity to hear his perspective on making this film and encouragement about his vision for the arts.
In my interviews with Producer Loretha Jones, she discussed the dilemma they came to in casting the role of prison inmate Briggs. They wanted someone with musical ability, but also needed a person of faith with a church background. After hearing his music and what he was about, in no time at all they decided that T-Bone was their man.
I asked T-Bone how long it took him to decide to take the role offered to him. He belted out a hearty laugh and said it took “about 2 seconds.” There were several things that drew him to the part. For one, it was a great opportunity to be part of a project involving people such as Cuba Gooding Jr. and Beyoncé Knowles. But that’s just the icing on the cake. The fact that his character, Briggs, was a former inmate and gets his life turned around by joining a choir and singing God’s praises is something that hits all too close to home for T-Bone.
This identification with the role, plus the fact that he could include his own Gospel rapping in a commercial film made this an opportunity he could not pass up.
T-Bone is very bold about his faith. Listening to his lyrics you can understand that Christ is the center of them and of his life. He unashamedly admits he is out to lift up the name of Jesus and to also proclaim the blood of Jesus. Those in charge of the production gave him total freedom to rap his own lyrics and did not censor any of his rhymes. There is a great moment in the film where T-Bone has a solo rap, boldly including the Gospel, and even adding in his all too flavorful Spanish flare.
When asked what the vibe on the film set was, T-Bone explained that it was nothing but love. The cast and crew really became a family during that time—eating meals together everyday, working together and playing. Since so many scenes included most of the cast (as Jonathan Lynn explained in his interview), this provided the opportunity for them to spend lots of time together. After they wrapped for shooting, T-Bone said he cried when he had to say good-bye to everyone. He says he still keeps in touch with some from the film and has even prayed with them over the phone.
Beyond his music career, T-Bone is definitely interested in pursuing more acting. Previously he has acted in a short film called “Black Rose” and The Fighting Temptations, his first feature film, will hopefully open doors for him to take more roles.
One of the most impressive aspects of this talented, cutting-edge artist is the quality of his work that is so closely tied to his heartfelt faith in Christ. He believes in being bold and “going for the gusto” in his work, which he hopes to expand into secular markets. “It’s not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick,” he said, quoting Jesus. This is his vision, too. He believes Christians should be the leaders in the arts, as it was in centuries past. He said when he crosses over he will also be taking the Cross over.
If you want to find out more about T-Bone and upcoming events of his, visit: www.houseoftbone.com or www.herouniverse.com