Jay Z, Rick Ross and Drake, igniting Jewish pride

Watch out for The Black Bar Mitzvah, a new mix tape being released this week from Rick Ross, one of the biggest hip-hop artists in the world. And no, he’s not a Jew – yet the cover of this album has Ross draped in a huge Star of David. Is Judaism suddenly becoming cool for hip-hop artists? Wow – what a moment. Many Jews have publicly long admired other races and religions – isn’t this a great turning moment for culture that a mega world-star is openly admiring Judaism?

And while there are many Jews in the hip-hop community, he’s far from the first star to speak of Judaism. Icon Jay Z in his song “ROC Boys,” rapped: “Black bar mitzvahs / mazel tov, it’s a celebration…” and he added for good measure “L’Chaim.”

On the first night of Passover 2012, mega-artist Drake (who is a Jew) released a “bar mitzvah” video “HYFR”, which started with footage from Drake’s actual bar mitzvah, where he is seen dancing and wishing the camera “mazel tov.” In Drake’s music video — staged as a bar mitzvah – hip-hop stars, including Lil Wayne and DJ Khaled, sat in a “synagogue,” watching Drake (donning a yarmulke and prayer shawl) read from the Torah. A caption at the beginning of the video says the rapper “chose to get re-bar mitzvah’d as a re-commitment to the Jewish faith.”

Talk about non-traditional marketing that can benefit the Jewish people. These are some of the biggest celebrities in the world showing Jews and Jewish concepts as cool things. These people can ignite a spark among some Jews to excite them to learn about Judaism. There are so few Jewish celebrities who are “tough Jews,” or proud to be Jewish – maybe they can learn from the example set by the hip-hop community.

I own a PR agency that works extensively within the hip-hop industry with clients including Sean “Diddy” Combs, Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube and others – and have seen firsthand the effect these celebrities have.

This is a positive cultural moment. I hope the Jewish community can embrace it and use it to create a spark among Jews who haven’t been excited about Judaism yet.

L’Chaim to Jay Z, Rick Ross and Drake.

About the Author
Ronn Torossian is the Founder, President & Chief Executive Officer of 5WPR. Headquartered in New York City, the firm is one of the 25 largest independent public relations firms in the United States. 5WPR has been named “PR Agency of the Year” by the American Business Awards; and Ronn Torossian is the winner of the Silver Stevie Communications, Investor Relations, and PR Executive of the Year of the Year Award by the American Business Awards. Ronn’s book, “For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations,” received rave reviews. He is a member of the prestigious Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and is an active board member of a number of non-profit organizations. Ronn Torossian is a frequently sought after communications expert, often appearing on FOX News, CNBC, Huffington Post, Time Magazine, and other major media outlets. He resides on the Upper West Side of Manhattan with his family. Email: Facebook: Ronn's Facebook Twitter: Ronn's Twitter Page