Documentary Lauds Impact of Lecrae's Ministry on Mainstream Society

Hip-hop artist Lecrae performs for a sold-out crowd in the film 'Unashamed World.' (Art Hooker/TheatriCast)

Later this year, the documentary Unashamed World releases in theaters, telling the story of how Lecrae started a movement and brought Christian rap into the mainstream. The movie is described as being made "by fans, for fans." The film's funding campaign was conducted via Indiegogo and social media. Fans helped create some of the content, including filming international concerts in Africa and the Netherlands. And the film's director, Art Hooker, is one of Lecrae's biggest fans—and also one of his oldest friends.

Hooker and Lecrae have a long history, including attending college together. Hooker says he was able to utilize some old college footage from 1999, making the project span 17 years of Lecrae's career. When the two first met, Lecrae wasn't even a Christian yet. And when God led Hooker to start the documentary in 2010, the rapper had a few albums, but he was far from famous.

"When I started making the film, and I said I was making a movie about Lecrae, people said, 'Who is she?'" Hooker laughs. "We never thought there would be an audience for this. When we started shooting, right when the movement was starting to grow, I remember asking Lecrae a few times, 'Are you famous? Do people know who you are?' He said 'I don't know.' ... The thing that surprised me most was looking at God's providential ability to connect dots where you didn't even know that there would be dots."

Hooker says he wants viewers to see—through Lecrae's example—how every action they take can make a difference.

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"I hope viewers take away what it means to live out their faith," Hooker says. "You'll see how Lecrae and the other guys within the 116 Clique (hip-hop artists on Reach Records) can live out their faith through music, but my hope and desire is that people listening and watching it can think, 'Huh. Maybe God can use what I do as a nurse or a dishwasher or a guy who works at Chick-fil-A, and maybe I can serve the Lord by serving people in a way that creates positivity.'"

Taylor Berglund is the assistant online editor at Charisma Media and the co-host of the podcasts "Charisma News" and "C-POP."

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