About the last thing many of Matisyahu’s Twitter followers expected to see at 8AM this morning was a tweet featuring a picture of the Hasidic rapper without his iconic beard. Yet the artist formerly known as Matthew Miller did share a picture of his face without the beard and payos which he’s sported since adopting Orthodox Judaism over a decade ago.
Matis followed up his tweet with a note on his website declaring “No more Chassidic reggae superstar.” Here’s the full text…
This morning I posted a photo of myself on Twitter.
No more Chassidic reggae superstar.
Sorry folks, all you get is me…no alias. When I started becoming religious 10 years ago it was a very natural and organic process. It was my choice. My journey to discover my roots and explore Jewish spirituality—not through books but through real life. At a certain point I felt the need to submit to a higher level of religiosity…to move away from my intuition and to accept an ultimate truth. I felt that in order to become a good person I needed rules—lots of them—or else I would somehow fall apart. I am reclaiming myself. Trusting my goodness and my divine mission.
Get ready for an amazing year filled with music of rebirth. And for those concerned with my naked face, don’t worry…you haven’t seen the last of my facial hair.
The performer’s statement left much open to interpretation. Is he done with Orthodoxy? Will he give up the name Matisyahu? Will he go the secular route moving forward? The answer changes no matter who you ask, but most of the responses to the note on Matis’s website from the religious community have been filled with sadness and anger.
Heeb Magazine gently praises Miller but also throws in the slight, “Can Matthew Miller make it to fourth in the charts when he ceases to be a Jewish minstrel show?” We suspect we’ll hear more from Matisyahu in the coming days as the performer is set play Colorado over the next few days before starting a Hanukkah-themed Festival of Light run on Monday night in Brooklyn.
Matisyahu returned to Twitter to clarify later in the day…
There’s a magazine called “Heeb”? Really?!?