Symposium Introduction


Margarita Guillory
Andre Johnson
Bryson White




Provides a timely portrait of young Black Christians and how digital technology is transforming the Black Church

They stand at the forefront of the Black Lives Matter movement, push the boundaries of the Black Church through online expression of Christian hip hop, and redefine what it means to be young, Black, and Christian in America. Young Black adults represent the future of African American religiosity, yet little is known regarding their religious lives beyond the Black Church.

Networking the Black Church explores how deeply embedded digital technology is in the lives of young Black Christians, offering a first-of-its-kind digital-hip hop ethnography. Erika D. Gault argues that a new religious ethos has emerged among young adult Blacks in America. To understand Black Christianity today it is not enough to look at the traditional Black Church. The Black Church is itself being changed by what she calls digital Black Christians.

The volume examines the ways in which Christian hip hop artists who have adopted Black-preaching-inspired spoken word performances create alternate kinds of Christian communities both inside and outside the walls of traditional Black churches. Framed around interviews with prominent Black Christian hip hop artists, it explores the multiple ways that digital Black Christians construct religious identity and meaning through video-sharing and social media. In the process, these digital Black Christians are changing Black churches as institutions, transforming modes of religious activism, inventing new communication practices around evangelism and Christian identity, and streamlining the accessibility of Black Church cultural practices in popular culture. Erika D. Gault provides a fascinating portrait of young Black faith, illuminating how the relationship between religion and digital media is changing the lived experiences of a new generation of Black Christians.


Reviews and Endorsements


“An extremely important addition to the field; I dare say this book should be considered in the canon of twenty-first century Black and Religious studies.” ~Daniel White Hodge, author of Hip Hop’s Hostile Gospel: A Post-Soul Theological Exploration

“In this impressive new book, Gault illustrates how young Black Christians, through the lens of hip hop, are changing the game and flipping the script as it relates to church, worship, music, and theological meaning, seeking out other spaces and places to celebrate and perform their religiosity.” ~Andre E. Johnson, the University of Memphis

“A breath of fresh air for Black church studies and an excellent and important contribution to the field of African American Religion. Gault takes the cultural production of Black youth to be a serious Black epistemology, revealing the impact of collective cultural memory as well as the fissures and ruptures of the Black Church.” ~Johari Jabir, University of Illinois Chicago

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