When his sin was exposed in 2017, Jaterrius Johnson felt church leaders over-reacted in their approach to church discipline.
“I’ve been scarred by the church,” the Christian rapper says on a DJ Wade-O video.
His sin was homosexuality. He believes it if it had been fornication with a girlfriend, treatment would have been gentler.
Jaterrius, who is better known by his hip hop handle Rockstar JT, survived the discipline and stands today as a shining example of repentance, forgiveness and restoration. And he is openly asking the church to treat sin as sin, without stigmatization or discrimination.
“A lot of Christians, we struggling,” he says. “A lot of Christians, we depressed. On social media we all pretending it’s all good, when it’s not. My philosophy on that is that it’s ok to not be ok.”\
Jaterrius was raised by a single mom in Birmingham, Alabama. In poverty and without a dad, Jatterius fell into fighting and the streets. He broke into homes, used guns and became violent with his own family.
“I was doing so much things that I know did not glorify God,” he says on Jam the Hype. “I punched my sister in the face my eight-grade year.
Mom was worried about the direction her son was headed, so she enlisted the help of Kevin King, who runs a Christian non-profit called Common Ground that reaches out to wayward youth.
Kevin began visiting and ministering to the young Jaterrius, who described himself at the time as “lukewarm.”
Kevin “wouldn’t let me go. He said, ‘JT, you gonna be mine.’” he recalls. “Kevin, that’s my dog. He wouldn’t let me go. He said, ‘I know you aint saved but you still not going nowhere. Just loving on me, not preaching to me every time, but hanging around me, taking me to concerts and taking me to different conferences.”
At 16, Jaterrius converted to Christ at a 2015 Impact Conference. His mentor, Kevin, urged him to use his obvious talent for rap in the kingdom.
“You gonna need something to do. You know you’re a talented rapper. You need to use your gifts for the Lord,” Kevin told him.
Jaterrius saw no compelling reason to change his stage name, so he remains “Rockstar JT.”
He broke through ceilings with “Getcha weight up,” which in addition to being catching was picked up by HBO’s Euphoria.
When he first started rapping he wouldn’t even listen to worldly music because he was nurturing his relationship with Christ. As he felt more solid in his faith, he allowed himself to take a peak at his secular counterparts and decided he needed to update his style to keep abreast of trends.
He also decided to write music for the streets, not for the church sanctuary. His intention was outreach, not inreach.
“I’m finally being who God wanted me to be and that is a trapper,” he says on Rapzilla. “They dope dealing but I’m hope dealing.” Read the rest: Rockstar JT and compassion for same-sex attracted Christians