JONESBORO, Ark. – Ministers from 20 churches have banded together to protest rap singer Nelly's (search) performance at Arkansas State University (search) on March 12, saying they do not want the Grammy winner's negative message in their town.
"When we started seeing some of the vile and filthy lyrics ... we thought we should get involved," said the Rev. Adrian Rodgers of the Fullness of Joy Church. "Jonesboro is a wonderful city because of what does not come here."
Rodgers said he was concerned about the rapper's lyrics that include references to drugs, sex and violence and songs that Rodgers says are demeaning to women. He and the other pastors urged area residents not to buy tickets to the concert because they are worried that bringing such acts to Jonesboro would lead to problems.
"Tear the tickets up," Rodgers said. "Do not go and do not allow your children to go."
But Tim Dean, the director of ASU's Convocation Center, where the concert is to be held, said that ticket sales are brisk and more than 5,500 have been sold so far.
"It would appear that with ticket sales over 5,000, many others have expressed their right and find Nelly's music entertaining and worth spending their time and money on," Dean said.
Nelly's concert at the northeastern Arkansas school 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 town they hope their protests will prevent other rap performers from scheduling shows in Jonesboro.
Nelly is known for his hits "Hot in Herre," (search) "Country Grammar" and most recent single "Over and Over" with country singer Tim McGraw.