Ministers Protest Nelly

Ministers from 20 churches have banded together to protest a March 12th Nelly performance at Arkansas State University’s Convocation Center, saying they don’t want the rapper’s negative message in their town.

Rev. Adrian Rodgers of the Fullness of Joy Church in Jonesboro said he was concerned about Nelly’s lyrics, which include references to drugs, sex and violence. He’s also said the songs are demeaning to women.

“When we started seeing some of the vile and filthy lyrics … we thought we should get involved,” Rodgers said. “Jonesboro is a wonderful city because of what does not come here.”

He and other pastors urged area residents not to buy tickets to the concert because they fear bringing such acts to the city could lead to problems.

But Tim Dean, GM of the Convocation Center, said more than 5,500 tickets had been sold at press time and he expected a near sellout.

The protest is no surprise to Dean, who faced a similar situation with a Ludacris concert in April 2002.

“That’s their right and prerogative to do so and, in that respect, that’s fine,” Dean told Pollstar, adding that the contingent of people who’ve bought tickets speaks for itself.

Nelly’s concert at the ASU center is part of a college tour that includes shows at campuses across the country, including Southwest Missouri State, Ohio State and Southern Illinois University.

The ministers said that even if they don’t stop Nelly from coming to Jonesboro, they hope their protest will prevent other rap performers from scheduling performances in the city.