Houston-bred hip-hop artist Lecrae never censors his spirituality. Frequently preaching on wax and at his speaking engagements when it comes to faith, race and cultural change, the gospel-spilling MC (born Lecrae Moore) let his thoughts flow about America’s current state of turmoil in a guest essay forBillboard. Following this week’s deaths of two black men named Alton Sterling, 37, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Philando Castile, 32, in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, after being fatally shot by cops, a sniper disrupted a peaceful protest in Dallas on Thursday (July 7), shooting 11 officers and leaving five dead. Here, Lecrae — who scored his first Billboard 200 chart-topper with 2014’s Anomaly — offers a solution to understanding through humility. For more of his perspective on race relations in America, watch his recent TEDx Talk: Heroes & Villains: Is Hip-Hop a Cancer or a Cure?
For many in America, this week began with a celebration of our nation’s independence from Great Britain. Ironically, as the week comes to an end, many of us are mourning the division that’s currently permeating the United States, resulting from the death of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile and now, several officers in Dallas.
I am hurting. For every life loss, I am hurting.
Even before the recent events, I couldn’t celebrate like many others did on the Fourth of July. I posted a picture of slaves in a cotton field instead because that was the vantage point of my ancestors on July 4, 1776. They weren’t free. Many of my supporters were upset by what they viewed as a divisive message being shared on a celebratory day. But there’s a difference between creating division and exposing the division that’s being ignored. As a good friend of mine explained, “The very nature of a holiday is to recall the past. But when we bring up our past — and present — suffering [we’re regarded as] divisive. How?” That’s something I’d like everyone who expressed dissent to my posts this week to ask themselves.
I realize, however, that race, slavery, oppression, injustice and related topics are still controversial talking points in many circles. A few months ago, I took part in a Q&A after speaking at Yale University on Knowledge Through Narrative: Bridging the Racial Divide in America. It’s my hope that the perspective I shared with those students can provide better insight into my passion and pursuit for racial reconciliation in America and gives you some things to consider as you navigate the current climate in our country, like this excerpt from the talk.
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