Lecrae discontinues ‘thoughtless’ Cardi B T-shirt after criticism

Screengrab: Instagram/lecrae

Grammy Award-winning rapper Lecrae, known for his outward Christian faith and music, is discontinuing a T-shirt claiming Christians can quote both vulgar rapper Cardi B and the Bible.

Lecrae was initially called out by Louisiana emcee Dee-1 for his "Righteous & Ratchet" merchandise campaign last week. The campaign, launched by Lecrae, featured a shirt that read: "I can quote Cardi B and Corinthians."

Dee-1 said he felt called to address the line because people need to know that not everyone in Christian hip-hop co-signed the initiative.

Dee-1 said he thought that he and Lecrae agreed the T-shirt could be misleading when they discussed it privately.

But Dee-1 claims Lecrae "still chose to want to monetize the moment." He admonished his peer and implied his behavior was coming off as "lukewarm."

"So [now], it seems like you're putting the business before the ministry, and we have to be careful of that in life. When you're doing ministry and business, it should never be business and then ministry," Dee-1 said in an Instagram video last Wednesday. 

"The Great Commission calls us, as believers, to make disciples of all the nations. It seems like sometimes people try to make customers of all the nations before disciples. If things get put out publicly, I am going to address them publicly. I'm not going to let that slide, but it's no hate," Dee-1 maintained.

After a few weeks and several messages from people agreeing with Dee-1, Lecrae took to Instagram on Monday to address the controversial T-shirt. 

"Enough people have been frustrated or upset behind that Cardi shirt, and I want y'all to understand my intentions in my heart," Lecrae said. "First of all, it will be discontinued, just so you know that. The shirt was not about promoting debauchery or worldliness. That wasn't the intention. 

"I can own the fact that I should have put more thought into that before we dropped it. I didn't even consider some of these realities. Context is king, and Christianity in major cities and places that I dwell is a hotbed for racism, political ideology, homophobia and anti-intellectualism. And I always want to push back on people when they think that, because we're not! That's not what Christianity is, but a lot of people think that's what it is."

The Texas native said he's always trying to help people understand that Christians are people, too, and regardless of their background, they can come to Jesus. 

He gave a brief overview of his understanding of Matthew 16:18, which says: "Upon this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."

Lecrae said Jesus was talking to Peter about the location of Caesarea Philippi, which has a lot of dark history, declaring that the Gospel would still come forth even from that destitute place.

"Christianity's not dead. We're still here. We're alive. We're thriving. So, I'm always wanting people to know where you are. In my attempts to do that, I can come off seeker-sensitive and I can admit that. But my intention is always to reach," Lecrae clarified. 

"I can own that the shirt was thoughtless," he concluded. "I should have put more thought into it." 

The rapper went on to promote a Labor Day sale of the T-shirts. 

In one of his past posts, which has since been deleted, Lecrae explained his definition of "ratchet."

"Wretchedness comes from disenfranchised communities," the "I'll Find You" rapper said. "It's part of the culture that we are raised in, and there are some aspects of it that are redeemable, and there are some aspects that we have to let go. … I wouldn't be rapping if there weren't some aspects of a wretched culture. Hip-hop was born in wretchedness.

"Let's not trash the community. Let's not tear down the community for some of the actions that don't fit the broader society, that they may be a little annoyed at. I'm sure they called Jesus ratchet. He came from Nazareth."

Dee-1 stressed that because Jesus was Holy, He would most likely never be OK with the label "ratchet" either.

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