Black Eyed Peas Inspire Banners in Philadelphia

You might not expect an alternative hip-hop group, the Black Eyed Peas, to inspire Christian banners.

But art students at the Orange Korner of the Ayuda Community Center rewrote the lewd lyrics of the Black Eyed Peas song “Imma Be,” which is slang for “I’m going to be.”

Ayuda Center art students check out the banners hanging in Hunting Park.

The center is a diaconal outreach of Spirit & Truth Fellowship Christian Reformed Church in North Philadelphia, Pa.

Michaelanne Harriman, the center’s arts director, said students rewrote the song to include the following lyrics:

“Imma be praising God with my whole crew.

“Imma be living up there even though I’m living down here.

“Imma be focused and fixed, fixed on Provider discerning all the liar’s tricks.

“Imma be under His wing, Imma be repping my King (OK).

“Imma, Imma sing it this way, Imma, Imma sing it that way, equipped with His word, and Imma, Imma teach you the Way, from the 21st century until infinity.”

Based on the revised lyrics and a year-long process of collecting specific words and symbols, the students picked 10 words to represent their vision for their future and the future of their neighborhood.

In their choices, the students answered questions such as Who do you want to be? What career are you interested in? What kind of person do you want to be? How do you want to be remembered by those who knew you?

For example, Aryione, 13, chose the word Godly because she “wants to tell everyone else about God.” Eliannys, 11, chose Loved because she wants to be surrounded by people who love her.

Students then spent the summer designing and sewing a banner for each word. With the cooperation of a sympathetic civil servant, the banners were hung in Hunting Park for a reduced installation fee and displayed for six weeks this fall.

Related links
Photos of the banners
Videos of students explaining their banners

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