"I'm the type of person, I'll tell somebody, 'You don't like it, you can kiss my black leather- bound Bible. I don't care! I ain't trying to please you.'"

by Mike Nappa for Crosswalk Music

"This is it?" sniffs R&B/hip-hop diva, {{Lakita}}. "Come on, man, there's got to be something more scary than this!"

To put it bluntly, the artist formerly known as D'Vine is simply unimpressed. She's just spent time taping the often-raucous talk show, Politically Incorrect With Bill Maher. This time the topic of conversation is God and the devil. {{Lakita}} is there to represent God, and representing Satan is the self-proclaimed anti-Christ musician, Marilyn Manson.

"I was really disappointed," {{Lakita}} reports, "I was just expecting something a bit more scary."

She reflects on the experience this way, "His opening line was 'Satan is the church's best friend 'cause he keeps them in business.' And I said, 'You've got it backwards. You need God to stay in business. What's the name of your album? Anti-Christ Superstar. Congratulations, you just solicited Christ to sell your album.'" Shaking her head, Lakita grumbles, "I mean, we had to point out even his own hypocrisy!"

It's that kind of tell-it-like-it-is attitude that's propelled this talented young woman into the public consciousness. After a stint in college as a high-profile USC Songleader, Lakita went on to become Miss Black America California and the first runner-up in the Miss Black America national pageant.

Branching out into other areas, Lakita has made a name for herself as a professional entertainer, sought-after speaker, and a leading advocate for abstinence education. She's an actress on a number of TV commercials-including ads for Reebok as well as public service announcements for the Center for Disease Control-and appeared on television shows like MTV programming, Arsenio Hall, Montel Williams, and Politically Incorrect With Bill Maher.

Lakita laughs when asked why she keeps getting invited back for appearances on shows like Maher's. "I'm the type of person, I'll tell somebody-I mean I'll tell Bill Maher-'You don't like it, you can kiss my black leather-bound Bible. I don't care! I ain't trying to please you."

Then, taking on a more serious tone, she reveals, "I'm seen by the eyes of millions, but I perform for an audience of One. And that's the only Person I'm trying to please."

She's speaking, of course, about pleasing God. Which is why her latest self-titled album from N*Soul Records makes no attempt hide Lakita's faith in Christ. "I call it message music," she says. "Every song has a message." Then in her trademark style, she says forcefully, "I don't want to create anything that just doesn't have a meaning So I really look at [this album] as message music; as meeting people right where they are at that moment."

It was a meeting with basketball great, A.C. Green when she was sixteen that first inspired that kind of commitment. Lakita's older brother was working as an entertainment lawyer, and had invited his client (A.C. Green) home to meet his family. Lakita had already made plans to go to a friend's party, and was none-too-happy when Mom declared she had to stay home and support her brother.

She reports, "I had an attitude the whole time! And so I'm sitting in the back room in the den and I hear the doorbell ringing and the guest coming in and the shaking of hands and the 'Hi,' and introductions and all of that. I had no desire to come out there until my mother called me out forty-five minutes later. I come out there and here was this professional athlete sitting down."

Making polite conversation, A.C. Green asked Lakita, "What do you want to do when you grow up?"

Figuring that sixteen was already grown-up enough, Lakita fired back, "Well, when I grow up I want to negotiate contracts for professional athletes and entertainers. Because it's people like you who leave the community, don't give your time, you don't give your money and you're a sorry excuse for a role model."

She reports, "And my family just about had three babies on the dining room floor right there!"

Still, rather than responding in kind, A.C. took the insult graciously and continued the conversation on other topics. That caught Lakita's attention, and she says "I had heard [A.C. Green] was a Christian, but you know what? He never preached to me. I just heard that he was a Christian. So you know what? I was checking out his lifestyle."

About a year later, A.C. Green's brand of authentic Christianity lived out in everyday life was enough to make Lakita hungry for what he had. So, as a seventeen-year-old high school senior, Lakita turned her life over to Jesus and became a Christian. Her every endeavor since then has been motivated by her relationship with God-even her involvement in the Miss Black America beauty pageant.

When asked about her experience in that contest, Lakita shares emphatically, "Oooh, Lord! I was not ever a pageant person. Let me just get that straight! As a matter of fact, I was just the opposite. I was like ragging on pageants and stuff!"

Then one day, while watching a beauty pageant on TV, she distinctly felt God urging her to enter a beauty contest-despite her great distaste for pageants in general. So, following what she believed was God's will, she entered the Miss Black America contest-and nearly won! But it wasn't the victories in the pageant that got Lakita excited about being there. It was the people she was enabled to meet-and share Christ with.

Says Lakita, "I went in and I knew that I was sent there on a mission. And I actually had a chance to share with every girl [in the pageant]. And even led a couple of them to the Lord! Even one of the girls on the [new] album-Nesi Swan!"

And that reveals the real reason why Lakita isn't afraid of taking on someone like Marilyn Manson, why she continues a rigorous schedule of talk shows, concerts, speaking engagements and more. Because somewhere out there are people just like she and Nesi used to be, people who need to experience the life-changing power of a relationship with Jesus Christ. And {{Lakita}} hopes to points them-somehow, some way-in God's direction.