Christian Leadership to Change the World
Embracing a Renewed Life
CBN.com Renaissance might stir thoughts of the great 14th century revival of art, literature and learning. However, Nigel “Legin” Anderson, the president and founder of Renaissance Movement (RM) music, knows renaissance also means renewed life. Once bitter and disillusioned, Anderson found peace and purpose he never imagined possible through the power of forgiveness and faith in the gospel. Passionate about sharing his renaissance experience, Anderson now communicates Biblical truths through the medium of hip-hop and rap, reaching a surprisingly broad demographic.
Both a lyricist and performer, Anderson burst on the music scene in 2009, claiming a top spot at the Youth Gospel Entertainment Awards as best male rap artist. In August of 2010, Renaissance Movement took another major step, producing its first music video. The video, titled “The Transition,” received 500 hits in less than 24 hours on YouTube™.
A religious studies program at Regent University was not a likely destination for Anderson, a former college dropout. However, two separate events riveted his attention. A friend called from Florida to say she felt he was supposed to go back to school. Catalyst. A month later, someone called on behalf of the nonprofit organization “YES,” Youth Entertainment Studios, with a full scholarship to Regent University. Provision. “To go through Regent was an incredible turn around. I went from hating school to loving it,” Anderson reflects. “I found so much encouragement there.”
As a child, Anderson faced turmoil and disappointment early; his father struggled with addictions, leading to family dissolution. For 15 years, Anderson rarely saw his father, which led to bitterness and resentment. Publicly, Anderson had a good reputation. He went to church regularly and managed at school, but anger escalated, and the pain of his rejection was unresolved. At home, he began writing rhymes and discovered that “making beats” came naturally to him. Rapping became a comfortable emotional outlet and fit into Anderson’s escape world of partying.
He dropped out of college, disinterested and directionless. When a prominent businessman took him under his wing, offering opportunities for promotion and financial success, Anderson thought he’d found his niche. It wasn’t long before his quick road to prosperity plunged into disappointment. The businessman was fired for defrauding the company, and quickly Anderson’s dream of fame collapsed as he reckoned with unemployment himself. Once again, a male father figure in whom he had placed his trust had failed him. Unemployed and disheartened, he dulled his pain with wild partying and music.
One day Anderson received a letter from his father. Seizing the opportunity for payback, he agreed to meet. Anderson wanted to strike out physically and emotionally. His father walked up to him and straightforwardly asked for forgiveness. Anderson looked back at his father with pity, but forgiveness? Impossible. His heart was stone-cold. For months Anderson simmered with loathing, unable to move on. Finally, he had enough. Anderson called his father, unwilling to meet face to face again, and simply said, “I forgive you.” A rush of freedom replaced his carefully tended bitterness. Anderson’s father died a month later.
After the loss of his father, Anderson sought an answer to the age-old question: What happens after life on earth? “I became diligent in studying the Bible. I secluded myself,” Anderson says. It was during this transition that he found what he was looking for. With a renewed spirit and mind, Anderson returned to the music he loved. “More than anything, I wanted to glorify God,” he reflects. “I became zealous for authentic Christianity. No fluff.” Regent met Anderson’s desire for principled learning and life application. “I haven’t met anyone on staff who could be described as less than exceptional,” he says.
Now freed from past emotional bondage and armed with Biblical truths, Anderson has seen God open numerous opportunities to touch the lives of others. He connected with three other like-minded Christian artists to create Renaissance Movement music in 2006. RM states a clear purpose: to edify the found, reach the lost and glorify the King. Nigel “Legin” Anderson is taking the message of Christian faith to people who might not hear it in a conventional setting. With rapping beats and lyrical rhyme, Anderson tells how God has turned his life around: “Legin spells Nigel backwards,” he explains.
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