Religion is becoming taboo in the entertainment world

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Tanvi Hathiramani/Contributing Writer

Hozier and Kanye West are two current artists who in subtle and direct ways infiltrate their religious beliefs into their art and music, as evidenced by their songs such as “From Eden,” and “Father Stretch My Hands.” Religion has become more of a taboo in the media these days, due to the overwhelming conflict in today’s politics. Audiences that use music as an escape from what’s going on their stressful reality, appear to be rejecting even the slight mention of religion. Artists have for a long time engaged in expressing their religious or spiritual beliefs through their work, and should continue to do so.

Chance the Rapper is an artist who mentions his appreciation for his faith in God. As an example, in his song, Blessing, he repeats “I’m gon’ praise Him, praise Him ’til I’m gone…” There are other art forms that can be used for artistic expression such as movies, and paintings.

In film, we have Tom Cruise, and his role in the world of Scientology. Before Tom Cruise, I had no idea what scientology even was. When I thought about Scientology, it reminded me of the large church in Coral Gables with Scientology written across the front. That was my only point of reference. I’ve watched many Tom Cruise films and although spirituality is a topic in some of his movies (take “Vanilla Sky” for example), none of these films speak about Cruise’s religion in any direct way. Knowing that the Scientology scandal which followed him, only hurt him. But then came along Leah Remini, an ex-Scientologist, who railed against Scientology and the Church, which inspired the show “Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath,” starting yet another controversy. You may not want to talk about religion when you’re watching the news, but you’ll happily watch a Leah Remini episode without a care in the world. At least, I know I do.

Take a look at Madonna and her music. It may be old news now, but controversy has always followed her like when Pepsi canceled her contract in 1989 and it wasn’t because they didn’t like her album. It was due to the controversial commercial put out by the company which featured anti-catholic symbols including the burning of the cross. And even then, Madonna’s album “Like a Prayer” — which followed this commercial, received positive reviews.

But you can’t forget about those that don’t even follow a specific religion, like Ricky Gervais. Gervais is an Atheist, and has made it a point to share his beliefs on Stephen Colbert. In fact, he’s done the opposite of what Tom Cruise did. Gervais made a movie which was based around the principles of Atheism, “The Invention of Lying” starring Gervais himself, Jennifer Garner and Jonah Hill. The movie which made Gervais millions of dollars, centered around the idea that without lying, religion would not exist. Critics called the movie “mostly funny.” Winning him a 58% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Through these various art forms, artists have been able to go against the norm, speaking about their religious beliefs whether they’ve been accepted or not. Next time you turn on the radio, or television, will you able to notice the subtle innuendos to religion which follow us everywhere.  

Tanvi’s World is a column written by Tanvi Hathiramani where she discusses subject matters of interest. The views and opinions expressed in Tanvi’s World does not reflect that of FIU Student Media’s editorial team.

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