American Christian rappers Bosston and Puntin have shared their faith message, their music and their life experiences with offenders in Christchurch Men’s Prison’s Matapuna Special Treatment Unit for Violent Offenders.
“The visit of these two world class musicians has been a great opportunity for the men to hear the message of the gospel and the role music has played in these men making good life choices,” says the Prison’s Assistant Chaplain, Amanda Kraak.
Both Bosston and Puntin grew up in Detroit and, as youth, mixed with gangs and were surrounded by drugs and violence.
Bosston says their lives could have gone down another track.
“At three years old I was riding my bike with drugs down my pants,” he says. “I could have let the life that surrounded me, define me but I decided this wasn’t who I would be. I decided to change my direction and follow God instead.”
“I say to the men in prison to not let the labels keep them stuck into who you are. God wants you to be the best you can be. Don’t let what’s round you bind you.”
“This is not the men’s final destination,” says Puntin. “I say to them, don’t let your badness surround you. I’m far from perfect, but now I have my life right, I’m trying to do the right thing.”
“There are children watching what you do,” says Bosston. “People are watching. You can do something different and you can make a difference. Doing good for people doesn’t mean you are a pushover. It’s easy to do the wrong thing. It takes a bigger man to let things go, and walk away. You have greatness inside you.”
The visit by the rappers was part talking and part rapping. At the end of the session, the men offered the opportunity for any of the attending prisoners to step up and free form rap.
Mica* was one of the men encouraged by others to give it a go.
“Them being religious and me not, they still drew me in and I’ve never felt that before, in a positive way.” He says.
Mica, who has been rapping ‘for a while’, says the event opened his mind to rapping without swear words and to rapping about a higher power.
“I think they are a positive influence on people. I want to start writing about positive things. No one’s perfect, as long as you wake up and want to be a better person.”
The two rappers are visiting New Zealand for the second time and were sponsored on their visit to Christchurch by Paul and Jacqueline Davis. They visited four units at Christchurch Men’s Prison and hope to return in future years to inspire others with their message.
Paul says this is the second time his Ministry have brought Bosston and Puntin to New Zealand.
He is wearing a bright second hand Hawaiian-themed shirt and says this is symbolic of his message to the men.
“This shirt has been discarded by someone.” he says, “In our society we often throw things away, and they still have value. I want these men to see that, like this shirt they still have purpose, that God sees value in them, that they are not finished. There is a new future possible for them.”