CHICAGO (Christian Examiner) -- From the release of her rap album The Art of Joy to the recent coverage of her ex-gay journey, Jackie Hill-Perry is quickly becoming a notable name in the media. Her new album, out Nov. 4, debuted as a top five best seller on Amazon Music's Hip Hop chart and is still among the site's top 25.
What you hear in her artistry as a lyricist and hip-hop performer is a personal account of transformation and a candid message of what she says Christ has accomplished on her behalf.
Even in conversation, what the 25-year-old from Chicago has to say rings of raw honesty.
"I'm the type of person that doesn't care to be politically correct or hide stuff. For what? This is my truth. Deal with it," Hill-Perry told the Christian Examiner.
She first took center stage in 2010 at a Passion 4 Christ Movement event with her spoken-word performance of "My life as a stud," a poem detailing her journey through sexual abuse, abandonment, gender confusion, and discovering her own feminine beauty. To date the various Youtube videos of the poem total over half a million views.
When a pastor reached out to her asking for a poem form the viewpoint as an ex-homosexual, Hill-Perry initially declined. "I didn't want to be the token ex-gay girl," she said, "but I really felt God leading me to write it."
So she penned the poem sharing her past as a lesbian and the internal conflict she felt about her own femininity and doubts that led her to dress as a man.
The overwhelming response to the performance instantly thrust her into the spotlight and she began traveling to perform her poetry and share her testimony about learning a life-changing reverence for God.
"I remember conviction becoming tangible at 19," she said recounting the moment she knew she had to leave her girlfriend and walk away from her sexual sin.
"The Scriptures came alive to me. They said for the wages of sin is death, and I perceived it as real. But [Scripture] also said those who repent and believe will inherit eternal life. And I thought ok, God, I trust you, I believe you."
Her account of going straight has been attacked by critics. The Washington Times reported last week that when she married in March of this year, some people took to social media to accuse her and newlywed husband Preston Perry, another Christian lyricist, or spoken-word poet, of being gay and marrying to "play God to a bunch of ignorant people."
Previously she had been targeted in an onslaught of Twitter remarks following a radio interview where she criticized a lyric in rapper Macklemore's song "Same Love" which states from a gay perspective, "I can't change even if I tried, even if I wanted to."
"I think we've made God very little if we believe that He cannot change people," Hill-Perry told Wade-O Radio in July 2013. "If He can make a moon, stars and a galaxy that we have yet to fully comprehend, how can He not simply change my desires?"
Still, the topic of ex-gay conversion remains controversial in both secular and evangelical circles. As recently as Oct. 28, Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptists' Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission told reporters covering a national conference that ex-gay therapy was "severely counterproductive."
Hill-Perry was among a number of individuals claiming to be formerly gay that spoke at the same meeting where Moore addressed Southern Baptist leaders.
The young artist told the Christian Examiner that her message to those struggling with same sex attraction or trying to come out of a homosexual lifestyle is simply to know that marriage is not the goal.
"It can be presented like ok, if you aren't gay any more, go get married and when you get married you've reached your peak of deliverance," she said. "That's so not true. What's true is that when you've been united with Christ by faith, when you know Him and have been made righteous in His sight, that is your goal. Working from that, it's going to be to live a life that is pleasing to Him whether through marriage or singleness."
Regardless of what the masses declare about turning from gay to straight, Perry-Hill credits God with continuing to take her own redemption story a step further by not only having changed her same-sex desires, but giving her the opportunity to be a mother. The artist is due to give birth to her first daughter Dec. 13.
Noting that she never considered herself capable of being nurturing, she said, "God snatched me out of this lifestyle where my identity was so twisted. Now He is allowing me the gift not only to be a wife but to be mother and to experience the fullness of what womanhood is for me."
"That's not to say those who don't have children don't experience full womanhood," she clarified, "but for me to bring the nurturing and gentle side that I haven't been able to practice is how God decided to glorify Himself through me."
The "Art of Joy" can be downloaded for free from her Portland based record label, Humble Beast.