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Kodak Black: Is He Jewish?

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Kodak Black: Is He Jewish?

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Kodak Black is a rapper of a certain style. He raps with a flair and a cadence that is very unique to him – not to mention his voice which is easily distinguishable and immediately recognizable. His hip hop lyrics paint an authentic and hardened view of his experience as a South Floridian gangster rapper. He makes art out of a life filled with intimidating and sometimes criminal behavior. But Kodak Black is a multifaceted and enigmatic persona with complexities that make him difficult to put into a box.

A question that has come up more and more recently pertains to Kodak Black’s faith:

Is Kodak Black Jewish? 

The questions have resurfaced as of late because of a lawsuit initiated by Kodak Black

Kodak’s Recent Request For A Rabbi In Prison:

Kodak Black is currently serving time after being sentenced to nearly four years in prison for lying on background check forms regarding gun purchases. Kodak’s lawyer indicated to news sources that he intends to soon file a lawsuit on behalf of his client because of a lack of access to spiritual caregivers – namely, a personal rabbi. The rapper’s lawyer indicated to reporters that the rapper identifies with the Jewish faith despite not having formally converted to Judaism. Kodak’s lawyer has threatened to sue the federal facility on the basis of a violation of Kodak’s First Amendment right of free exercise. This clause protects an individual’s right to freely practice his or her religion.

Kodak’s lawyer claims that speaking to a rabbi and the exercise of his religious rights will help the Florida rapper address the mental state he has been treating while serving his sentence. Apparently, the federal facility permits one on one spiritual advising sessions with the chaplain at the facility; however, these sessions have been suspended due to the COVID 19 outbreak and the prevalence of infection in the prison system. 

Kodak Black Donates To Synagogue:

Previously,  Kodak Black had indicated a dedication to the Jewish faith by contributing to the local Jewish community. The rapper made a big move and donated one thousand dollars to the Downtown Jewish Center Chabad of Fort Lauderdale. He made his donation in December of 2019 in the midst of his multi year prison sentence.

The donation was his second gift to the Southern Florida Chabad synagogue. He made a gift in 2018 according to the synagogue’s rabbi. The rapper was reportedly introduced to the community and its synagogue through his lawyer, Brad Cohen. Mister Cohen is a member there. “I understand that he is a philanthropic individual, and his attorney shared with him things that we are doing, so he wanted to contribute to it,” the rabbi told media members. The Chabad rabbi says the donation will contribute to the cost of construction for its new building. 

Is Kodak Black a Black Hebrew Israelite?

In the past, Kodak Black has been associated with the Black Hebrew Israelites. His social media posts and his past lyrics indicate that he is not Jewish but rather a Black Hebrew Israelite. 

Kodak spent 97 days behind bars in a Florida jail while serving a sentence for violating house arrest. During this time, Kodak Black met with a man who introduced him to the beliefs of the Black Hebrew Israelites. The man was an Israelite teacher who goes by the name of Priest Kahan. Kahan provided prison ministry to those serving time and left a significant impression on the South Florida Rapper.

At around this time, Kodak posted a picture of himself posing with Priest Kahan. He spoke of his experience in the caption for the Instagram picture. It reads, “Feeling Like I’m Kunta Kentea Cause We Going Through Slavery Still..I Can’t Lie I’m #israel #12TribesOfIsreal.” This caption is likely in reference to the teachings of the Black Hebrew Israelites and shows that Kodak Black had begun to take in its teachings. 

Again, Kodak Black references the Black Hebrew Israelites when he made a song shortly after being released. His very literal song, titled, “First Day Out”, provides further evidence of Kodak Black’s association with the Black Hebrew Israelites. On it, the rapper talks about his probation primarily, but he also mentions the group again. He rhymes:

“Ayy ayy, I’m a Israelite my diamonds is real ice”

I had to sacrifice to be here, that’s how I’m with you tonight

I had to run down with my big Glock 9 to feed my appetite”

His words are clear. He self identifies as a Black Hebrew Israelite on the track and there seems to be no real room for ambiguity. The sacrifice line is clearly a reference to the history of Israelites offering a sacrifice as a religious offering. And it is couched in tough talking rap lyrics distinct to Kodak’s narrative style.

Is a Black Hebrew Israelite also Jewish?

The question remains, is Kodak Black Jewish? Is a Black Hebrew Israelite also Jewish? 

The Black Hebrew Israelites are a group of African Americans who believe that they are descendants of the ancient Israelites. They incorporate tenants of practice from both Christianity and Judaism but have their own interpretation of the Bible. Black Hebrew Israelites are not associated with the mainstream Jewish community, and they do not meet the standards that are used to identify people as Jewish by the Jewish community. It is also important to note that according to the Anti-Defamation League, an international Jewish nongovernmental organization has noted that some (but not all) Black Hebrew Israelites further antisemitic rhetoric.  

Black Hebrew Israelites often reference the chapter of Deuteronomy 28 as a prophecy of the hardships and slavery that African Americans have faced. Kendrick Lamar famously references this chapter in “FEAR” off of his album DAMN. While the group itself has an association with the Jewish faith, it is not a form of Judaism. It is rather its own distinct branch of ethnic and religious identity. It intermixes a cultural identity with a religious faith and does so in a way that is complex and difficult to parse. 

So, sorry for those of you hoping to find out that Kodak Black is Jewish but he is not. He may be in the process of converting to the full blown practice of Judaism at the Chabad Synagogue in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. But at the time of this writing, he is simply loosely associated with the faith through charitable donations, and through his lawyer and friend Brad Cohen.

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