Local Pastors Say No to Nelly

March 1, 2005 -- Posted at 7:09 p.m. CST

Jonesboro -- Rapper Nelly is a big name in the music industry. He crossed over into the country genre when he made a hit single with country artist Tim McGraw. So it was no surprise when local fans wrapped themselves around the convocation center to purchase Nelly's concert tickets, the moment they went on sale.

Kiss FM, a local radio station, is also exited about the March 12th concert.

"I would say that Nelly is one of our core artist," said Clear Channel Operations Manager Kevin Box.

Not everyone is welcoming the artist with open arms. A group of local pastors held a press conference Tuesday in protest.

"People who want to go see that (Nelly) can go see it somewhere else, don't bring it in our backyard," said Pastor Adrian Rodgers.

The " it " he speaks of is some of Nelly's rap lyrics. The group claims that it's Nelly's type of music that's destroying today's youth. They also say they don't want his music in Jonesboro because they say it takes away from the city's good reputation.

"When you keep on bring what other cities bring, your going to become just like other cities."

Furthermore, they'd like Nelly to stay out of the convocation center because their tax money goes to the upkeep of the facility.

"I think it's important for the convocation center board to look at this entertainment and say, Is this in keeping with this communities standards ?"

But to Jonesboro's pop music community and Nelly fans the concert is a huge opportunity. So far, 5,500 tickets have been sold.