Lecrae, outspoken Christian and award-winning recording artist, has taken to his social networks to speak out on the frustration he feels in light of responses to the killing of Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson. The rapper also has received pushback for suggesting that hip-hop artists lose credibility by rapping about "lawlessness" and then demanding "equality and justice."
"Regardless of your view on #Ferguson. If [you] have zero compassion for that community you are not loving your neighbor as yourself. These are my cousins, aunts, nieces, uncles, nephews, and our ethnic bond is strong," Lecrae wrote on Instagram Friday. "It does not supersede my bond of faith but at times it feels like my eternal family could care less about my earthly family."
He added, "I feel I'm only accepted if I perform well and don't act like my 'cousins.' I am the same as them but the grace of God has granted me opportunities they didn't get."
The rapper went on to comment on law enforcement officials on duty during the weeks-long protests and occasional mayhem that have unfolded in Ferguson, Missouri, where Brown and Wilson had their deadly encounter.
"I pray for the families of the officers who haven't seen their wives and kids for days," Lecrae added.
"I have no ill will toward anyone I only want unity, equality, and love. Were it not for the compassion of people who didn't look like me loving me I wouldn't be all I am today."
The married father and ReachLife Ministries leader concluded his comments by referencing the apostle Paul's words on how love supersedes all in 1 Corinthians 13: "If we have ANYTHING and do not have Love...we have Nothing."
That comment from Lecrae, who has more than 443,000 followers on Instagram, was "liked" by 15,000-plus people and attracted 500 comments, some of them suggesting that the rapper's remarks were off-base and negligent of other issues affecting the world.
But it was Lecrae's remarks made on Twitter on Aug. 19 that has elicited the strongest responses, including from other Christians.
The tweet Lecrae posted read: "Dear Hip Hop, we can't scream 'murder, misogyny, lawlessness' in our music & then turn around and ask for equality & justice."
That tweet has since been deleted, although screenshots of it were available online.
Lecrae's Aug. 19 tweet, which received well over 8,000 retweets and more than 7,500 favorites, was followed up by two others within the same hour:
"I do believe the content of character can help or hurt the work of those who fight for equality & dishonor those who died for our freedom."
"For the record I don't think Hip Hop is the problem. I don't believe we are loved/treated equal by cleaning ourselves up."
Among comments expressing disagreement was the following:
"Music is entertainment. Especially hip hop. Granted some of it is just not that good. It's not all about trying to preach to a person on every song. I don't know where you guys are from on here talking about rap artist like the stuff they talk about ain't happin' [sic] every day.
"You guys act like a rapper owe you something. If you don't like it, turn it off. Everybody deserve justice and just because a person is talking about murder and violence doesn't mean that they aren't entitled to the same due process as everyone else. Honestly, why bash a part of your own culture when you have nothing to show me or anyone else any different? We're adults and should respect each others [sic] ability to make a choice, and give the benefit of the doubt instead of judging."
Some comments expressing agreement with Lecrae's opinions included:
"I agree 100 percent [with] Lecrae on this subject. It's NOT just because I am a God fearing Christian either. We need more intelligent, articulate, respectable men to stand up for the younger generation in addition to a lost culture of people being led astray."
"YES YES YES!!! I couldn't agree more. Finally someone intelligent and couragious [sic] enough to tell it like it is. We have rappers bragging about killing another black man, mistreating a woman and selling dope in every song of theirs and then turn around and act like they have morals when things like Fergusen [sic] happens."
On Twitter, Shaun King, a former pastor and tech entrepreneur who has been very vocal about his views concerning the Ferguson case, respectfully disagreed with Lecrae's suggestion that hip-hop has a credibility problem.
King, catching wind of Lecrae's comments days after they were posted and deleted, tweeted, "When Lecrae said 'We Can't' it was to say that what you rapped about yesterday prohibits you from speaking against injustice today. I so no [sic]."
King added, "So, when @Lecrae says, in essence, that Hip Hop can't really speak about justice, I respectfully disagree. It can and it must."
King clarified that his stance against Lecrae's views did not amount to "beef," but was only "disagreement."
"Let me state here that I love you. Respect you. Own your music. On all of my kids iPods. We are brothers who disagree. That's all," King tweeted to Lecrae after the artist wrote that he had been misunderstood.
Lecrae, prepping for the release of his seventh studio album "Anomaly" on Sept. 9, shares his frustrations over the shallow content of some popular forms of hip-hop in the the lead single "Nuthin'".
"Honestly, I'm so tired of the redundancy," Lecrae told Vibe.com, explaining his vision for "Anomaly."
"The world needs artists that are willing to provoke. Let's talk about issues: education, racism, faith, fatherlessness. These are the things that inform what I do."
Watch a lyric video for "Nuthin'" in the video player below:
Lecrae's personal comments stand alongside those of others who have expressed frustration over the high-profile case in Ferguson, Missouri, involving 18-year-old Michael Brown's shooting death at the hands of Darren Wilson.
The case has been highlighted by many as another example of law enforcement officials' callous treatment of black Americans. Ferguson officials have stated that Wilson had been physically assaulted by an unarmed Brown before the officer shot him at least six times.
The fatal encounter occurred on Aug. 9, and from the very start has been the focus of vigils, protests, petitions and discussions, notably among Christians, about what the case says about the nation's racial issues as well as law enforcement tactics.
The Christian Post has previously highlighted on-going discussions among Christians who have been using Brown's case as an occasion to bring clarity and context to what some believe is the larger issue of racial injustice.
Read about some of those discussions in the articles listed below:
- Lessons From Ferguson, Missouri: Black, White Leaders Still Don't Get It
- After Michael Brown Tragedy, DC Pastor Wonders if He'll Be the Next 'Black Dad Approaching a White Sheet Stained With His Son's Blood'
- Ferguson and the Quest for Racial Justice