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After watching the WDBJ7 story about the Liberty University rapper, Humble Tip, it seems like the student population has embraced him as an unofficial ambassador for the Christian university.  All of the students included in the story had good things to say about him and his song “LU Anthem.”  It appears that the students support his efforts and find him entertaining.

What is not presented very well by this story is how university administrators and faculty view Humble Tip, whose real name is Jason Lewis.  There were no school officials included in the story, so it is not possible to get a read on the university’s stance.  There are generalized statements and presumptions made that suggest the leaders of this conservative institution would not approve of this rapper’s influence over current students, potential students, and the world in general.  It is implied that Humble Tip is shaking things up and the school’s officials are stubbornly resisting his attempts to give the university a more contemporary image.

According to the school’s website, Liberty University is a private, Christian school, so it seems reasonable to think that administrators might not embrace Lewis as he portrays the school in what some might see as a negative light.  The music video is harmless enough, but the potential controversy arises from the setting in which Lewis finds himself.  Jerry Falwell, one of the most well known conservative leaders of his time, founded Liberty University after all (Liberty website).  It stands to reason that the conservative influence would lead the university to seek out more traditional methods of outreach and cause the leaders to want to uphold an image deemed more positive to them.

If I were to cover this story, I would try to get a more balanced view of the situation.  Granted, it’s not exactly a hard news piece, but the fact that it is happening where it’s happening creates questions for people to consider.  What does the Liberty University administration think about Humble Tip?  Does the university support him?  Do those in charge try to distance themselves from him?  It’s hard to say what, if anything, the university does to either endorse or admonish Jason Lewis in either a public or private way.  Perhaps the school has done nothing at all.  Maybe the school hasn’t acknowledged this situation and, therefore, has no official stance.  Without speaking to an official, there is no way to know for certain.

The story contains nothing but praise from students, but I have serious doubts that all of them feel this way.  There needs to be a balance in this regard as well.  If the reporter was going to include several students’ thoughts about Humble Tip, a viewer should expect both sides.  At times, it felt like an endorsement for Humble Tip, rather than an explanation of an unusual event taking place at Liberty.  It is an interesting story, given its uniqueness, but there is a reason why it is unique, and that point seems to be lost in this story.

I watched the music video for “LU Anthem,” and I was surprised at how well put together it is.  It actually looks like a music video one might see on television.  The basic gist of the song is an explanation of what to expect when a student enrolls at Liberty.  Humble Tip mentions the unique atmosphere of attending a Christian university, and he talks of its benefits.  The message itself gets across what Liberty is about, but the way it is delivered is what might cause administrators to be upset (if they even are).

The news story had a sound bite from Lewis, in which he said “Times change.  Now the message never changes, but the method does.”  This video demonstrates what Lewis is saying pretty well.  He is trying to tell people about his university in his own way.  This way is different from what any university (not just Liberty) would employ in trying to impart a message to prospective students.  Having seen many ads during collegiate sporting events that tout some particular school’s awesomeness, I know that Humble Tip is not the standard.  People generally don’t take well to change, and when it is the largest Evangelical Christian university in the world being discussed, the values on which it was founded will not be forgotten and dismissed in such a way.  Being a Baptist myself, I understand what the administrators at Liberty might possibly be feeling when evaluating this situation (if they even are).  I, too, am very conservative, so I can see why the school wouldn’t endorse Lewis as a spokesperson for the school (again, if this is even the case).  I would not expect Liberty to go against its founding ideals in favor of a more worldly approach to educating people about the school’s merits.

LU Anthem music video:

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