In this episode of the Be Positive Music Show, host DJ B Plus sat down with Rasool Berry, the writer, director, and producer of the film “Juneteenth: Faith and Freedom.” Their conversation examined the history of Christian hip hop, Rasool’s upbringing, his work in ministry, and the creation of the film. They also explored the significance of Juneteenth and its portrayal through the lens of faith.
The Genesis of “Juneteenth: Faith and Freedom”

The Birth of an Idea

The idea for “Juneteenth: Faith and Freedom” originated during a meeting aimed at expanding a sub brand within Our Daily Bread Ministries called Voices. This initiative focuses on amplifying the voices and stories of black Christian content creators. Rasool Berry shared that the decision to create a film for Juneteenth was made even before it became a national holiday. The project was approved in December 2021, and the team began planning to shoot the film in various locations in Texas.
The Production Journey

The film was shot over six days in Galveston, Houston, and Dallas-Fort Worth. Rasool emphasized the remarkable feat of putting the entire film together in just six months, a timeline that is significantly shorter than the years it often takes to produce a documentary. The film aimed to tell the story of faith and freedom, highlighting the different perspectives on Christianity during the time of slavery and how it provided hope and liberation for the enslaved African Americans.
Key Themes and Insights from the Film

Faith and Divine Deliverance

One of the powerful scenes in the documentary is the transition from the courthouse to the church house, where the announcement of freedom was made, leading to jubilation and worship. Rasool explained that the freed individuals attributed their liberation to faith and divine deliverance rather than political figures. This scene underscores the deep spiritual significance of Juneteenth and the role of faith in the lives of the formerly enslaved.
Historical and Emotional Significance

The film also explores the emotional impact of visiting historical sites such as a sugar plantation, highlighting the sobering reality of slavery. Rasool emphasized the importance of portraying the darkness and difficulties of the past to highlight the significance of freedom and the resilience of individuals like Miss Opal Lee, a 97-year-old activist who continues to spark change and host events related to Juneteenth.
The Role of Faith in Oppression and Liberation

The conversation touched on the parallels between the experiences of oppression in different parts of the world, such as the apartheid regime in South Africa. Rasool highlighted the significance of faith and divine intervention in the context of historical oppression and liberation, drawing connections between the biblical concept of jubilee and the themes of freedom and justice celebrated on Juneteenth.
Practical Ways to Engage with Juneteenth

Hosting Screenings and Events

One of the practical ways to engage with Juneteenth is by hosting screenings of “Juneteenth: Faith and Freedom.” This can be done in community centers, churches, schools, and other venues to educate and inspire people about the historical and spiritual significance of the holiday.
Distributing Devotional Materials

In addition to the film, Our Daily Bread Ministries has created accompanying music and devotional materials. Distributing these booklets can help individuals and communities reflect on the themes of faith, freedom, and justice that are central to Juneteenth.
Signing Up for Newsletters

Staying informed about new content and events related to Juneteenth is another way to stay engaged. Signing up for newsletters from Our Daily Bread Ministries and other organizations involved in promoting Juneteenth can provide valuable updates and resources.
The Impact of Miss Opal Lee

A Legacy of Activism

Miss Opal Lee’s journey to push for Juneteenth to be recognized as a national holiday is a testament to her inspiring spirit and determination. At 97 years old, she continues to be actively involved in sparking change and hosting events related to Juneteenth. Her work highlights the importance of acknowledging and commemorating historical events like Juneteenth.
Honoring at the White House

The joy Miss Opal Lee experienced when honored at the White House underscores the significance of her contributions. Her recognition serves as a reminder of the importance of celebrating the achievements of individuals who have dedicated their lives to promoting freedom and justice.
Conclusion

The conversation between B Plus and Rasool provides valuable insights into the historical and emotional significance of Juneteenth, the challenges of creating the documentary, and the resilience and determination of individuals like Miss Opal Lee. By engaging with the film “Juneteenth: Faith and Freedom,” hosting screenings, distributing devotional materials, and staying informed through newsletters, we can all play a part in recognizing and celebrating this important holiday. Through faith and storytelling, we can continue to honor the legacy of Juneteenth and the enduring spirit of freedom
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and justice.
TIMECODE REFERENCES:

The history of Christian Hip Hop (00:00:35)Eph. 4:29Rasool Berry discusses the history of Christian hip hop in the Philly scene and his introduction to the genre.
Personal journey to faith (00:00:59)Eph. 4:29Rasool Berry shares his upbringing in a non-Christian home, his conversion to Christianity, and his early experiences with Christian hip hop.
Impact of Cross Movement (00:02:52)Eph. 4:29Rasool Berry discusses the impact of Cross Movement and meeting influential figures in Christian hip hop.
Early experiences with Christian hip hop (00:03:46)Eph. 4:29B Plus and Rasool Berry reminisce about their early experiences with Christian hip hop and influential albums.
Significance of “Thug Joint” by The Ambassador (00:08:53)Eph. 4:29Rasool Berry shares the impact of “Thug Joint” by The Ambassador and its significance in the Christian hip hop community.
Creation of “Juneteenth: Faith and Freedom” (00:13:03)Eph. 4:29Rasool Berry explains the inception and production process of the documentary “Juneteenth: Faith and Freedom” and its significance in portraying the intersection of faith and freedom.
Storytelling in “Juneteenth: Faith and Freedom” (00:15:41)Eph. 4:29Rasool Berry discusses the storytelling approach in the documentary, emphasizing the message of liberation and hope found in Christianity during slavery.
The courthouse to the church house (00:16:57) Discussion of the significance of the courthouse to church pilgrimage on Juneteenth and the jubilation experienced.
The faith and freedom (00:17:29) Explanation of the announcement of freedom in Galveston, Texas, and the jubilation and faith displayed by the people.
Emancipation by God (00:18:44) Exploration of the people’s faith and the belief in divine deliverance rather than giving glory to political figures.
Filming challenges and divine intervention (00:20:38) Discussion of the challenges and divine intervention during the filming process of “Juneteenth: Faith and Freedom.”
Collaboration with Lecrae and Miss Opal Lee (00:22:36) The story behind collaborating with Lecrae and Miss Opal Lee and the significance of their participation.
The impact of locations and experiences (00:29:40) Reflection on the heavy impact of visiting a slave plantation and the parallel experiences in South Africa.
Meeting Miss Opal Lee (00:32:56) Impressions of meeting Miss Opal Lee, her determination, and her influence at 97 years old.
Opal Lee’s Journey and Joy (00:34:01) Opal Lee’s efforts to make Juneteenth a national holiday and her joyful moments in the film.
The Importance of Truth (00:35:14) Discussion on the importance of acknowledging and facing the truth, drawing parallels with South Africa’s truth and reconciliation commission.
The Impact of Slavery and Reconstruction (00:37:14) Exploration of the impact of slavery, reconstruction, redlining, and the emergence of the KKK, and the relevance of these historical events today.
Jubilee Day and Juneteenth (00:41:47) Connecting the biblical concept of Jubilee with Juneteenth and its significance as a day of jubilation and celebration.
Practical Resources for Juneteenth (00:45:09) Information about hosting film screenings, obtaining devotionals, and signing up for a newsletter for further educational resources.
Closing Remarks and Song Recommendation (00:48:38) Appreciation for the guest, announcement of future plans for the show, and a recommendation for a song related to Juneteenth.


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