Tilman Hausherr wrote:
> On Sun, 6 Sep 2009 06:12:26 +0200, "xenufrance" <xenufra...
>> he'd better have thought twice!
> Did anyone store the full article from essence.com? It seems to have
> been removed from there, and only parts 1 and 4 are in the google cache.
Rapper Doug E. Fresh finds faith in Scientology
19 August 2009
By Terrance Dean
Visit any neighborhood in the Black community and you're bound to find a
church on nearly every city block. When it comes to faith-based
communities, African Americans are believed to be one of the most
religious and spiritual especially those who practice Christianity,
Islam, Catholicism, or Judaism. There are even some Buddhists, thanks in
part to iconic celebrity, Tina Turner, who introduced Black folk to the
religion in her autobiography, "What's Love Got to Do With It." But,
when it comes to another religious belief, Scientology, lots of black
entertainers are mum.
However, one Hip Hop legend isn't afraid to speak out about being a
Scientologist. For eight years, Douglas "Doug E. Fresh" Davis, has been
a member of the fastest growing and most controversial religion to come
on the scene.
"I am the first Hip Hop artist to do it," said Doug E. Fresh, 42, who
was introduced to Scientology through his former girlfriend, Miss Jones,
an early 80s R&B singer, former New York and Philadelphia radio
personality, and author of the book, "Have You Met Miss Jones?: The Life
and Loves of Radio's Most Controversial Diva."
"Isaac Hayes was a former coworker of Miss Jones and he told her about
it," said Doug E. Fresh. "I went with her to one of the classes. Miss
Jones stopped going but I continued. I found it fascinating. It changed
how I thought. I've learned how to look at things and not judge them but
respect them and use it in a way that people understand that I respect
them, show them love and respect their reality."
Fascinating as it might be, Scientology has received much public
scrutiny from. Since the religion's inception it has been referred to as
a cult that practices black magic and sorcery, along with tales of UFOs
and alien spirits inhabiting each human. One of Scientology's most
revered and vocal advocates has been A-list celebrity, Tom Cruise. The
media has not frayed from their attacks on Cruise and his "odd" behavior
blaming it on Scientology. There's his infamous appearance on "The Oprah
Winfrey Show" in 2005 when Cruise leapt from his seat and jumped up and
down on Oprah's sofa declaring his love for his then bride-to-be Katie
Holmes. There was also that same year his appearance on "The Today Show"
when Cruise criticized actress Brooke Shields for advocating
anti-depressant medicine she was using for post-partum depression. He
later apologized to Shields, but critics blamed Scientology because of
its strict rule of not treating illnesses with drugs.
Beyond that, there is also one of Hubbard's ideologies which consist of
"The Space Opera." It states that humans are thetans ("immortal
spiritual beings") inhabited by alien spirits that are presently trapped
in "meat bodies" and have innumerable past lives that existed in
extra-terrestrial cultures prior to their arrival to planet Earth.
"It's a new religion. It's not as old like most religions," said Doug E.
Fresh. "People don't know enough about it, so they come up with all
types of bad things about it. The media has beaten it down and they
never came in and checked it out."
Despite the media's censure, the religion, which was founded by L. Ron
Hubbard in 1953, has more than 7,700 Scientology churches, eight million
members, and is located in more than 164 countries. Scientology has
infiltrated the masses at an exponential rate. In less than a century
Hollywood movers and shakers such as John Travolta, Lisa Marie Presley,
and Kirstie Alley have all become Scientology members.
While the percentage of Black celebrities associated with the religion
is virtually nonexistent, musical and cultural icons such as Chaka Khan,
Al Jarreau, MC Lyte, actor Haywood Nelson (better known as Dwayne Nelson
from the 70s television show, "What 's Happening!") and the late great
Isaac Hayes, are Scientologists.
"Scientology addresses the spirit, not simply the body or mind, and
works from the premise that man is far more than a product of his or her
genes," said John Carmichael, president of the Church of Scientology of
New York. "I like to think that the Black community is less likely to
have a blind faith in the media, but they should know that Scientology
is easy to understand, and easy to find out about for yourself."
In an effort to increase their visibility within the Black community The
Church of Scientology has two centers, one in Inglewood, CA and one in
Manhattan's Harlem neighborhood located between East 122nd and 123rd
Streets. The Harlem church opened its doors in 2001 and currently has 15
staff members and a little more than 60 active members. And with help
from the International Association of Scientologists, the Church of
Scientology in Harlem purchased buildings on renowned 125th Street,
making it one of the largest churches in the U.S. for the
organization--a six-story building about 55,000 square feet with a
community center, two doors down, at 16,000 square feet.
"Harlem, from Count Basie, Duke Ellington, and eventually Stevie Wonder
and Hip Hop, has been an international cultural beacon," said
Carmichael. "Besides residents of the neighborhood, the Church of
Scientology of Harlem will also provide an especially congenial
atmosphere for Scientologists in the Bronx and in Brooklyn, who already
make up a large part of the Scientologists of African descent, as well
as more recent arrivals from Africa and the Caribbean."
The Church of Scientology in Harlem was started by two African-American
women, the late mission holderThelma Mitchum, who passed away TK months
ago at the age of TK, and its current president, Verlene Cheeseboro, 64.
In 1999, Cheeseboro, a Harlem resident, created a tutorial program, The
Hollywood and Education Literacy Program Harlem (H.E.L.P. Harlem), for
the young children of her neighborhood because "Harlem is one of the
most underserved and poorly educated areas." However, she was unable to
find any educational resources that provided tools for adequate
learning. A former co-worker at the New York State Department of
Corrections introduced her to Scientology. She searched out the
materials, studied the technology, and began using it in her programs.
"Our children are not being educated in Harlem, or New York City," says
Cheeseboro. "They are at the bottom of performance level. With
Scientology, our children can get a great education and salvation. There
are already children around the world using the tools and have seen
tremendous effects of the technology. It helps them to become a literate
Also, according to Carmichael, Scientology is currently serving the
Black community with programs from teaching two million children in the
Johannesburg suburb of Soweto to study, "something which had been denied
to them by the Apartheid rulers." The Criminon program works with
ex-prisoners of all races to honesty, self-respect, to help reduce
recidivism and lead a productive lives. And their drug rehab program,
Narconon. The largest such non-governmental program in the world,
similarly deals with a plague which degrades its target without regard
for skin color.
"We are taking all the vital steps to bring about a true renaissance in
Harlem through programs that help with the problems we have been told
needed solving," said Cheeseboro. The problems she's referring to are
thigh illiteracy rates and the community's drug infestation. The church
currently provides programs that consist of a "Say No to Drugs"
campaign; Youth for Human Rights and The Way To Happiness which teaches
young people and adults to stay away from gang violence, and to respect
Behind the mysticism associated with Scientology, one of its basic
principles focuses on language and communication. It teaches that many
of the breakdowns in a person's life are attributed to their
misunderstanding of communication, especially in word usage.
"In Scientology you learn to make sure you understand the meaning of
words," Doug E. Fresh said. "You don't read something and not know what
it means. If you don't understand something you won't pay attention to
it. You should understand what you are reading. "
One of the biggest misconception about Scientology is that you can't be
a Christian. "I grew up as a Baptist and I love me some gospel music,"
says Cheeseboro. "I am still a Baptist. You can be any religion--
Muslim, Christian, Protestant--and study Scientology."
Still with so much negativity surrounding Scientology from alleged
brain-washing, financial misappropriations, and intimidation of members
the religion continues to move forward in seeking out Black members.
"Scientology is not a White religion. It is not just for White people,"
says Doug E. Fresh. "Scientology is not written with disrespect toward
God. It doesn't worship something that is evil. It is scientific,
mathematical, and spiritual. The Black community has to check it out and
see what's there. I'm not saying it's for everyone, but you have to take
a look. You may be amazed at what you get."