There has been a huge increase in engagement online due to the lock-down, different communities coming together; to be educated, entertained etc. We caught up with Kufre Etok, the man behind The Real Gospel Clash. An online Christian radio platform were their aim to bring many people together to celebrate gospel music. Catching the inspiration from No Signal’s live clashes, Kufre took on a similar model but with gospel music. We sat down with him to find out a little bit more about the platform, vision and thoughts on the future.
Talk to us about the inspiration behind the Real Gospel Clash
You know me, I’m not one to let you know that God came in the middle of a dream to me and then said, “son, wake up, I’ve set before you a place, I’ve set before your destination”.
No trust me, the inspiration came from No Signal Radio (Twitter @theresnosignall). They were ones that started this; they did it and then really we took the idea from them and we just brought it to God and said, “God, take it and use it and do what you want to do with it.”
Can we talk about the whole ‘clashing’ element, you received a few negative comments about that. Any comments?
I feel like with people, the issue they had was with the word “clash” and for us, we didn’t see as a clash. Actually first thing, a massive shout out to all the people that have really been supporting this, but yeah the word clash, it actually came from a conversation between me Efua, Jerome and Clapton.
So in that conversation, we were just like, you know what? “What if we just do a gospel clash?” So in 15 minutes we came up with the name and immediately the name was dropped on Twitter, it literally blew because it came out in a thread. So that’s how it came about, but the way we see it, we don’t see it as clashing two artists because we believe that everyone has been anointed and we believe in respecting the artists. We believe that with these artists, they have spent time in a secret place with God in the studio. They have spent money as well to bring us the sounds and that we love and will listen to. So we respect the artists. So it’s not a clash between artists. However, it’s actually a clash between two people and their choices. And really the clash is just a way to celebrate gospel music and to celebrate what God is doing through these artists.
So technically the word clash is what threw people off. But once you see where we are coming from, it’s actually a clash between two people, not the artist themselves.
You mentioned a few names earlier on, is there a team behind The Real Gospel Clash?
Listen, 100%, as you know, one man is not an island, you understand? I don’t know if that’s the quote. There is a team, and massive love and shout out to everyone that has been repping this. A massive shout out to Rukudzo (Social Media Account Manager), she’s been really supportive, Efua (Co-host/Co-Producer), and Clapton, our Co-Presenter. We’ve been collaborating with Manny Ade too. Gospel Hydration has been so supportive, and also the Grace Platform.
But a massive shout out to Efua, Rukudzo, and Clapton because they’ve been with us from the start, from the core.
You’ve recently been hosting Sunday worship sessions on No Signal Radio. How did that start?
How did that start? Like, listen, guys, this is the thing, we believe that line between secular and sacred is getting blurry, meaning as Christians, we are now beginning to invade and partner with what God is doing even in the secular world; bringing them into the knowledge of God, and into the truth, and what God has done. No Signal Radio actually reached out to us and they decided to give us the opportunity to do gospel on their platform on Sunday mornings from 10:00 AM.
It’s been a thing for the past two weeks and I’m just so excited. I’m personally very surprised that that happened, but when God is moving, all you do is keep quiet and say Amen.
So what would you say are the aims for Real Gospel Clash?
So we’ve got two and a third for good measure.
Firstly, we are family. We’re family-oriented, meaning we want to create an area where people can come out of this lockdown and you see someone else on the street and be like, “Oh yeah, I recognise you because I just remember you using the hashtag”. When you meet someone on social media based on the framework of family, of love, of the gospel, of worship, of the presence of God and all of that stuff, when you see someone outside, you’re like, okay, you know what? Yeah, you’re my friend. Not because of anything that you have done but just because we “met” and we loved the same music.
Family is a big thing for us. Loving and supporting people, even the artists we play. And that takes me to the second thing; respecting the artists. We want to make sure that the artists feel valued and feel loved. Shout out to; Naomi Raine, Todd Delaney, JJ Hairston. A lot of these guys who literally have been showing us love on the platform. From sending voice notes and to other things to support us… we love them!
Also, we want to make sure that we create a space for people to be creative. Especially, if you’ve got a podcast, if you’ve got something you want to talk about, if you’ve just got anything that’s on your heart, message us, and we will try and make sure that we see it.
Why do you think that’s so important to make platforms that do that? – bring Christians together.
Yeah, so for me, I believe the model is Christ. All we have to do is represent that to everyone around us. Meaning when I step into a particular place when they see me, they should see love.
And whenever I’m engaging with someone, every single thing that I have to say has to be real regarding them. I’m calling them into identity because Jesus chose you when you didn’t even know who He was. He loved you first, we loved Him because He first loved us. I really believe (especially) at this point, with everything that is going on, people losing family, losing loved ones, etc, there’s no point of pointing fingers at anyone, there’s no need to bash another church with passion or another fellowship.
At the end of the day, we’re all here trying to represent the God that we serve.
And we know, in that way; the more you reveal and the more you receive the love of God, the more you represent that to everyone around you. And that’s why for me, I believe family is a big thing. I believe that when you go outside, you have this culture of honour.
Someone I listen to, Bill Johnson. He said that the culture of honour is actually speaking to someone without stepping over who they are not, meaning you speak about their identity. You call them who they are, i.e. ‘You are loved’ ‘You are the righteousness of God’, You’re my friend not because of anything that you’ve done, but because we have been brought together in the body of Christ’.
So that is big for us. So even if you slander me, say whatever you want to say about me, I still love you.
Without giving away too many spoilers, what’s up next?
So we’ve got Season 2 coming up but between now and the next season, we literally encourage you, if you’ve got anything that you want us to be doing, please message us, let us know.
We’re trying to build a platform for you guys, so get involved. With Season 2 coming up and the lineup – It’s crazy. After season 2, we’ve got a very, very cheeky idea that we want to run, but after lockdown, it will be nice to have a barbecue, like a real gospel family barbecue. And that will be interesting.
I wonder who would attend?
Also we’re planning on doing a worship event. We want to try and see if we can book a venue, but yeah we’ve got stuff coming, massive shout out to Gospel Hydration, we’ve got some stuff planned with them too.
So if you’ve got any ideas, we’re literally welcome it. But I’m not gonna lie when we actually started this, we were clueless. We were just like, let’s just send the link to all our friends together and then see who turns up. But it’s becoming a thing and I’m just grateful.
To any creatives, entrepreneurs, musicians, or just Christians in general, what advice would you give them?
Alright, so I’ve got three, so the first thing that you, you have to.
The first is not to limit yourself. God has taken residency in you. The fullness of God is in you, according to Colossians. Don’t be afraid to take risks, ‘yesterday’s risks are today’s comfort zone’ meaning where you’ve stepped into today is your ladder for tomorrow. So once you’ve taken that risk today, look for the next ‘risk’.
Secondly, don’t look for people’s approval. Don’t try and get approval from what people are doing or from what they’re saying. Because at the end of the day, it’s your relationship with God. So when God has said that you should do something, go after it. Obviously have people that you are accountable to, have people that you share the vision with as well.
But go for it. Don’t be brought down by people’s words.
And finally, and I feel like this is just something that just came in my heart. Don’t build an identity around the thing that you are doing. Meaning when you’ve got something that you want to do, it’s not just for you, as in, It’s done through you… But it’s not for you, it’s for the people around you. That is what we all have been called to do. I’ve noticed that we tend to build our identity around the platform that God has given us. Nah it’s not that, use your platform and bless people regardless of what the outcome is.
So it’s not that you’ve done it for yourself, but you’ve done it for God.
Interview conducted by Jorghino Onyeme.