Permission to Be Black: My Journey with Jay-Z and Jesus, By A. D. "Lumkile" Thomason alt

Permission to Be Black

My Journey with Jay-Z and Jesus

by A. D. "Lumkile" Thomason

Permission to Be Black
  • Length: 184 pages
  • Dimensions: 0 × 0 in
  • Published: February 23, 2021
  • Imprint: IVP
  • Item Code: 4728
  • ISBN: 9780830847280

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Embracing your Christian identity does not make you "soft." Embracing your Black identity does not make you less Christian.

Throughout American history, Black people were not given the freedom to acknowledge their suffering. A. D. Thomason believes that the Holy Spirit brings freedom and liberation as we're able to name our pain, recognize its roots in history and society, and seek healing.

While many saw a confident, six-foot-five Black man, A. D. "Lumkile" Thomason lived most of his life in fear and anguish, deeply wounded by encounters with violence, abandonment, and family tragedy. Hiding behind a tough exterior, Adam earned his "Black card" but felt joyless inside. Even traveling around the globe to play professional basketball could not resolve his despair.

But in the art of Jay-Z, A. D. discovered stirring honesty that gave voice to his own expressions of longing. And in the gospel of Jesus, he experienced the healing and salvation that had long evaded him. Now through what he calls "kingdom therapy," he's figuring out how to redefine the Jay-Z and Jesus that make up his blackness. A. D. uses his artistry as a poet and storyteller to share how he confessed his internalized pain and embraced the liberating joy of Christ. He writes for millennials, emerging adults, and anyone else who's ready to acknowledge the reality of racial trauma and our need to confront it.

A. D.'s powerful story gives you permission to be Black, to be Christian, and to be the person God has made you to be.

"A. D. Thomason has been my friend for nearly twenty years. He is a learned creative who takes culture and scholarship seriously. Permission to Be Black is for the culture, and it's a bold message we've needed for a long time. Rooted in Christ's truth and in hip-hop's honesty, A. D. reveals why we, as Black people, must embrace our pain and vulnerability in order to find the healing and courage that we need—and that only God can supply. I highly recommend this book. But this is much more than a book recommendation; for me Permission to Be Black is a must-have life guide for all."

Lecrae, songwriter and recording artist

"A. D.'s voice and leadership is the very thing we've been waiting for!"

Propaganda, poet and political activist

"Whiteness has wreaked havoc on the lives of Black men with its violence and overall dehumanization. In Permission to Be Black, A. D. Thomason, with intimacy and vulnerability, pulls back the veil on this destruction and shows how Jesus makes a way to live in the fullness of life despite the trauma inflicted. I'm just a mediocre middle-class White guy, but I needed this message of Christ-centered transformation."

Shane Blackshear, host of the Seminary Dropout podcast

Read an Excerpt


Preface: Beyond Our “Family Feud”
Introduction: Eagle's Wings
1. The Masquerade
2. Helpless Hope
3. Faux Miracle
4. Coin Drop
5. The Price Is Wrong
6. The Mastermind
7. Where Is My Car?
8. New Rules, New Love
9. A Little Mold Won't Kill You
10. A New Narrative
11. Inexhaustible Water
12. Removin' Chains
13. The Conquering Lion
Conclusion: Awaken Us and the One Percent

Appendix: Bonus Cheat Codes: Redefining Blackness Through Films


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A. D.

A. D. "Lumkile" Thomason is a speaker, poet, and award-winning filmmaker. He has spoken around the nation and in places such as Sudan, South Africa, China, and Palestine. As an adjunct professor at Kilns College, he teaches on human rights, de-colonizing your faith, and filmmaking. A native of Detroit, A. D. has more than seventeen years of experience preaching and teaching the peace of Jesus in ethnically divided countries, cultures, and communities. He and his wife, Dawntoya, live in the Atlanta area with their family.