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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Does Jay-Z Have A Jehovah's Witness Connection?

*Please note:  None of the following conclusions have been substantiated.  They are theories based upon information known about a particular individual.

There have been a number of things that I have noticed about Jay-Z in the last couple of years that has led me to wonder, "At one point or another, he had to have been a Jehovah's Witness."  He had to have been raised in the organization, had an aunt that took him door to door on Saturday mornings, or something. Whatever the case, I have come across too many things about the world's most famous rapper that could simply be considered a coincidence.

First, his moniker...Hova.  If he wanted to announce himself as "the God of the rap game", why would he use a name that practically no one was familiar with.  Unless, it was a name that HE was familiar with.

Jay-Z was part of the original Murder Inc., which included Ja Rule and DMX, both of which were widely known being raised as Jehovah's Witnesses.

In Jay's 2006 album, Reasonable Doubt, his lyrics take an interesting turn on the track 'D'evils'.  Check out these lines:
"Dear God, I wonder can you save me?                                                                                           
Secret society, tryin' to keep they eye on me....
Stop screamin' you know the demon said it's best to die  
And even if Jehovah Witness, bet he'll never testify.." 
Now in JW terms, "society" is what they often call the headquarters of Jehovah's Witnesses in Brooklyn, NY.  It could just be a coincidence, or he could be speaking in Witness terms here.  I don't know.  It would be interesting for someone to ask him and actually get his take on this track sometime.

Later in 2006, Jay-Z made a cameo appearance in Johnny Cash's posthumous video for 'God's Gonna Cut You Down'.  In the video, Jay is briefly seen sitting in the back of a limousine reading a Bible.  The camera pans onto the pages of the Bible for only a second or so.  I can tell you from my years of going door to door with the very same Bible that it is a leather bound New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures aka a Jehovah's Witness Bible.  You can't buy one in a store.  The only way to get one is to get order one directly from a Kingdom Hall.  You can see the shot for yourself at the 33 second mark.

Lastly, Hova has been investing millions of dollars in the same neighborhood that the Witnesses used to control their worldwide preaching empire from.  In fact, he has recently been looking at the penthouse of what used to be a massive printing facility at 1 Main Street in Brooklyn.  The building was sold years ago, and renovated into condominiums.  The penthouse, which used to be the clock tower, is currently selling for $25 million.  Residents call it the "Doomsday Clock", because the previous tenants were always preaching about the end of the world.

My wife asked me today, "If you were raised a Witness, and you left the religion, why on Earth would you pay $25 million to live in a place that used to be part of the headquarters of a religion you hate?"  Well, if I had the money, it would be one big "Fuck you".  It would be a huge symbolic statement to say that they have no control over my life anymore.

Maybe this is all coincidence.  Maybe it isn't  Maybe he was raised as a JW.  Maybe he wasn't.  He's never said on the record either way.  No one has ever asked.  I know one thing.  If he was, he isn't now, and that is why I love him.

Update 1/28/2011:  I received a comment last night from "Anonymous", stating that the person in the Johnny Cash video holding the Witness Bible was not Jay-Z, but was, in fact, actor Terrance Howard.  After doing some online research on the video, it seems that they are correct.  Jay-Z appears much later in the video.  Even though I know now that it's Mr. Howard in that part of the clip, it still looks like Jay to me.  Terrance usually has his hair cut much shorter than that.

"Anonymous" also pointed me to an NPR article that was done on Terrance back in May of 2007.  I remember reading it when it came out.  It talks about his desire to become a Jehovah's Witness, if only he could quit smoking.  It says in part:
 "I came across [Jehovah's Witnesses] and, like most people, I was told that when we heard the Witnesses or saw them walking up the street, you would immediately shut the curtains and act like nobody was home, and I always wondered about that."
Howard later embarked on his own exploration of the faith. As a young adult, he began to embrace the principles of the religion.
Now, 17 years later and with a Hollywood career that continues to ascend, he's very open about one ongoing personal conflict: his faith.
"I'm like most people in the world. I'm a little selfish in what I want. I like doing my thing, my way," the actor says. "In my heart, I wanted to be a Witness. If it wasn't for the smoking of cigarrettes and all ... I would be a Witness."
The actor has yet to trade his spiritual aspirations for his professional ones. But he plans to pursue his desire to become an active Jehovah's Witness.
"Sometimes it takes awhile to be able to qualify. You have to qualify to run in the race. I'm exercising," he says.
So while most celebrities have fled the religion in their youth, I guess it can still be an attraction to some in adulthood.  Thank you to "Anonymous" for pointing out my error, whoever you are.  It was a simple case of mistaken identity.  I hope you understand.


luke said...

i very much so enjoyed your article. Being a jehovahs whitness i have been wondering about jay Z, hes a sweet artist, very talented, but of course im not a big fan of the lyrics haha, thanks

Unknown said...

It is interesting how you make the connection with JayZ's lyrics about secret society and the wathctower society. What is even more interesting is that JayZ has also been connected with the Freemasons which are also a secret society. In fact there is evidence that the founder of the Watchtower Society was a 33rd degree freemason. It is also known that the Freemasons use the word Jehovah in their symbols or such. Which only makes the mystery even more interesting!

Anonymous said...

The Society of Jehovah's Witnesses is not a secret society. If so, then why would they go from house to house?!? It just does not make sense for that way of life to be a secret society and then, at the same time, go from door to door telling others about Bible truth! Now, you are correct, although I'm not a hundred percent versed about the Freemasons, they are a secret society.

Anonymous said...

I always felt that Jay-Z had some affiliation with Jehovah's Witnesses, as he's always made some sort of reference to that society. I was never sure of it as factual, though. However. He should never use the name Jehovah. He is not deserving of that name only God alone deserves that name!

Nicholai Black said...

Thanks, Anonymous. Got a really good laugh from your comments this morning. I needed that. :)

Aramis Baeza said...

But was Johnny Cash a Jehovah's Witness?