Tony Cummings spoke to Boston-based female rapper ADA BETSABE
Continued from page 1
Ada: I was surprised when I gave in to it; I wasn't surprised to encounter that same sex attraction. I was pursued by another woman so it wasn't like it came from me automatically. But yes, it was surprising when I gave in to it and I remember initially being at war with myself. Ok, this is something that I don't want to do but I have a sense of me that is curious but I also know that this is not God's will for my life. But then again, who is God? Do I even know if he's real? I'm having this war with myself internally then I stepped into the party life. When alcohol and marijuana are in the mix everything is a little easier to do because you're not inhibited. This was the way things developed for me. I'm a very all-in type of person so once I was in that it was like oh crap! I'm already in this, now I don't know how to get out. You develop friendships; you develop a whole community of people that support you. It's like I love you but I'm lost. So that was my whole sexuality shift story.
Tony: When you were living that sort of lifestyle were you making progress in your rapping?
Ada: Yes, I was. When I was living that lifestyle I started to date this girl who was very into the entertainment industry. She was very supportive. She helped me to believe in myself a little more. I pursued different opportunities and started to get out in my city a little more. Then eventually I went to LA to go through a few conferences and panels to get my face up there. She was a very organized and high level professional so she was very sharp and helped me with the things that I don't necessarily know and am not good at. That really helped me, I felt supported by her. Also my family had disowned me so I didn't really have support. I went to this conference that was turning into talks of a deal and I was coming very close to signing all the paperwork. But then the conversations with the executives turned weird.
Tony: They were effectively saying drink this wine mixed with blood, let's talk about some occult sacrifices, all that kind of stuff. Did it fill you with horror?
Ada: Oh, yeah, I was at the highest level of anxiety and fear that I've ever endured in my life. It was inside of me. What drew me off was I didn't know what was going on. I was in a meeting, there were all these things mentioned, there were all these people that I had met and hung out with in LA. It was a strange bond. I met these people at this conference and it happened to be five or six people and we hit it off and were having lunch and dinner and breakfast, doing everything together for that whole week. I said, "You guys are great, I'm so glad I met you." But it was obviously a set up of people who were all in it for the same reason and I didn't know what I wanted, of course. When I got to this meeting where I was sealing the deal, I had to leave because I had this weird experience at the end of the meeting. I honestly had no idea. I didn't get to speak up during the meeting and say I don't believe in this; you guys are crazy. I just got up when I was about to sign the paperwork and as I was walking towards this guy, the way he looked at me, I can't say I had a spiritual eye opening experience but I looked him straight in the eye and I saw something in his eyes that I had never seen before, and it was not human. When I saw that I thought, man, this is weird. It was like I discerned what was in his eyes. Five minutes ago I had verbally said yes and I was going to sign it but something inside me said don't you dare. I said, "I am not going to sign that paper. Send me your emails and once I get back home" - I live in Boston, a seven-hour plane journey to LA - "I will contact you and let you know if I'm still interested."
There was such a rush; they wanted me to sign right now, while I was under that influence. But the demonic thing - when I left that place, when I walked out of the building, it was like I walked into a different world. I felt this fear and anxiety on me; I felt like something was with me, something bad, like the negative was following me around. I went back to my hotel room, which was an Airbnb room, and drew back the shower curtain, checking to see if anybody was there. I was totally freaked out. After all that negative stuff. . . Now I'm going to tell you what happened that night. That's the night I met Jesus. That's the night I prayed my first real prayer, it came from my heart. I was in so much fear and turmoil. I started to hear voices in my head. It was a lot of torment and I felt I wasn't going to make it; it was going to be too much for me to handle and I was eventually going to want to jump out of the window. I said to God, "God, are you real?" I said it in a very doubtful way. "Are you going to let me die in LA seven hours away from home in this room by myself? Is this how it's going to end?" Then I felt God's peace come over me. It changed my life. It's a moment I never want to forget because it reminds me how close God is even though we may feel like he's super far. In that moment I said one prayer and all of a sudden his peace filled the room and I went to sleep. And I had to sleep because I had a 5am flight home. I was super tired but I couldn't fall asleep because I was in so much torment. So the peace comes in and I was literally knocked out. I wake up the next morning, get all my stuff, get on my bus to the airport and the rest is history.
Tony: After all that presumably you started going to church and started reading the Bible in a new way. Did your attitude to your sexuality change instantly?
Ada: I knew before I was in my relationship that this was not God's plan for me and not his will. I don't know how it is in England but here there are a lot of Christians who are gay and continue to walk that out. Everyone's on their own journey. I don't necessarily feel that I can speak to that. I don't have enough to say about it because when I was saved I knew right away that this was me giving God loyalty and saying, "God, you were there for me when I needed you the most and I want to be loyal to you the way you were loyal to me. Because I wasn't even serving you and you still saved me; you still loved me when I was separated." From this place of loyalty and wanting to give myself to him, I walked into this relationship with God with a heart of surrender. I knew from the beginning this was going to cost me things that were not going to align with what he wanted. And although it would be hard, I would want to do it because this was my way of showing God my alignment. This is maybe not theologically sound doctrine because I'd rather not pay God back for what he's done. But at that moment that was the way I viewed it. I said, "Wow, you were there for me; I was going to take my life; the least I can do is give you my life."
As I'm walking into this new life, I came home, I didn't automatically convert, I was trying to piece everything together, the night that I prayed and the bad dreams, the meeting I had, the way the guy looked at me. I'd get goose bumps every time I thought about it. The people in LA were still calling me and contacting me to make sure I signed the paperwork, sending me emails. The first five days of being home were very difficult. I was an avid weed smoker, pot smoker. I came home and tried to smoke my weed and it didn't get me high anymore. It was very concerning because I felt like I was too aware, I was too connected. Something inside of me was up. This thing is not working. So one day I said to my partner at the time hey, do you think we could ever be friends? And she said where is that coming from? That was because I started to have a conviction that this would end at some point. She hadn't grown up in church like I had so she had no idea. I wasn't going to break the news to her right away but she actually got saved. Three days after I got back from LA I decided to say a prayer with my family members who were leaders at a church. I drove an hour away to talk to them and tell them what happened. I started to realise it was a spiritual thing that had happened and I didn't want to just sit there and pretend, I wanted to do something about it. I felt like I was supposed to do something about it.
I was still really scared and I needed that protection, that prayer. I was so terrified to be alone in my car that I had her drive me and she wasn't really for it because she knew that my family was Christian and that they didn't believe in our arrangement. She came for moral support and when we arrived they heard me out and then they prayed for me. When they went to pray for me my uncle said [to my partner] "You as well if you like, we can pray for you. If you say no it's ok; we're still going to love you the same." She said very casually, "Sure, whatever, why not." We said the sinner's prayer and the Holy Spirit's presence descended so powerfully in that room. We were crying, all these things happened and we go back home and try to continue to live a "normal" life. But we've been born again now and there's an awareness - the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin. So all of these things that were normal the last three and a half years are not normal, and don't feel right anymore. I started to yield to what I knew was coming from my heart that didn't feel right to my mind and understanding and she did as well. That was my journey. I started to yield to God and as I yielded to God these things that I thought were part of me started to become strangely unnecessary and dim. Was it easy? Of course not. It hurt, it was painful. But it was worth it. I grew in that relationship with him and I started to learn more about myself through him and why I was even in this in the first place. What were the things that had to heal to become whole again? I never really talk about this; this is not a question people ask but I'm definitely open to talk about it. It's my story; it's my truth.
Tony: It was in 2016 that you recorded the 'Freedom' album. How did that come about?
Ada: When I came back from LA in 2014 I said I would never make a record again but then I got saved and I didn't start attending in a church right away because I was scared they'd judge me for my sexuality at the time. I started watching a lot of YouTube videos and reading the Scriptures. There was this one event, an hour away from me where it was like a 'Revival Night' and of course, I'm really drawn to the supernatural and prophetic, coming from a very supernaturally charged situation. I'm trying to find the other side of this. So I went to this event because I wanted to see what was up with these people plus no one knew me there so I could fall into the background. I was sitting in the audience and there was an 18-year-old girl who was prophetic; her mother was the invited guest speaker. She came with her mother and at some point during the service her mother gives her the microphone and she comes on stage and starts talking about identity, saying how God affirmed Jesus, he knew who he was, told him he was the son of God and he was well pleased and this affirmation of his identity was the launch pad for his purpose. She talked about David. She said he was a shepherd but he knew he would be a king; he was anointed. Some of it I remembered from Sunday school, some of it was completely new to me, but what I was hearing was God speaking to me and saying "If only you knew who you were in me, you could use this music as a tool to reach people for me." And even more so, what I really felt in my heart was, "These people in LA knew what your capacity was and what you could do with this music way before you did. They saw you before you could see yourself, but I saw you before they did." It was ministering to me. As I was listening and crying and receiving it all she looks dead at me, points to me and says "You girl, with the short hair and the black shirt, God has a purpose for you and you were in this situation and said this and that but this is not the end, this is the beginning." It spoke into my life and at that moment I knew that this was not the end of my music making and I began writing. I didn't write with the end of making an album; I wrote with the desire to bring out of me everything that I was feeling because I was experiencing a lot of beautiful things with the Lord, like praying, learning to seek him and learning to trust him and learning to go to him for everything. That first love. Like the Bible says in Revelation, why did you depart from your first love? Everything was a moment, everything was "Wow God this, God that." I was writing it all down but it was actually my journey of freedom. That's why the album that came out in 2016 is called Freedom because everything that happened on my journey was in that project.
Tony: And it turned out to be a pretty popular album: Top 20 in the iTunes hip-hop chart. Were you surprised with its success?
Ada: I was surprised, especially cos I only found out less than a couple of years ago. I didn't even know. I recorded it in my bedroom; I made some friends on the Internet who knew how to mix. I sent off the vocals and they pieced it together for me. I started my own company to put it out because I wanted to do everything the right way. I put it out and people accepted it and loved it.