His music is wildly popular among black and white evangelicals, but his messages on race have not been so well received. Nonetheless, Christian hip-hop artist Lecrae isn't changing a thing.
The Texas native who's earned a Grammy, GMA Dove Award, and two BET Awards regularly speaks out about racial issues, but it's starting to create a fault line between him and some of his fans. In an interview with The Washington Post earlier this month, Lecrae said despite the criticism, he isn't backing down.
"I don't see this as a black-white issue. In India, the Filipinos are being treated like they are less than human," he said. "I'm not focused on race [blacks and whites], exactly. If blacks in America are treated equally, I'll move on to the next group."
The "Unashamed" author sees a natural connection between music and his activism, quoting Civil Rights icon and former freedom rider Democratic Rep. John Lewis on Twitter this week as saying, "The Civil Rights Movement without music is like a bird without wings."
Earlier this month the Grammy award-winning artist posted an Instagram photo and message indicating that he will not be altering his agenda on race due to pressure from other Christians, The Christian Post has reported.
The Instagram post included a photo that read: "I Won't Keep Calm I Have a Black Son," and spoke directly to Christians who try to steer clear of addressing the nation's growing racial tensions.
"Christians saying that 'preaching the gospel is all we need' ignore how sin affects infrastructures and societal systems," Lecrae wrote.
In the rapper's July 12 interview on "The Daily Share" he said he was hurting for every loss of life due to gun violence.
Losses which likely include the recent police shooting deaths of Louisiana resident Alton Sterling and Philando Castile of Minnesota, and the subsequent killing of three police officers in Baton Rouge on Sunday, and five Dallas police officers earlier this month at the hand of a black sniper who said he was targeting white officers. Not to mention Eric Garner of New York, a black man who died within the chokehold of a New York police officer because he wasn't able to breathe.
"Obviously this is a festering wound and consistently over the years these scabs just get picked and it festers and it still hurts," Lecrae said. "Seeing all this violence and all this loss of life is completely just heartwrenching."
"There's people protesting all over the world right now. Those are hurt people. People are hurting, people are frustrated, people are crying out because they're witnessing injustice and they're asking for people to listen."
"I think the struggle that we're having is there's an unwillingness to listen and there's a use of anger in a destructive way instead of a constructive way. So if we can use our anger in constructive ways we can de-escate some of that. But then also there's a need to listen to the vantage point of these people who are in pain and who [have] consistently been crying out that there's no justice. That's where I'm at and what I'm aiming for."
Lecrae continued, "I think it takes a great deal of humility to listen to a different person's vantage point ... There is a minority experience in this country — collectively and individually — that majority culture just may not be privy to. Not to say everyone, but there's some unique experiences that I think people [majority culture] are not listening to and they're not understanding."
The songwriter believes that humility is the key to racial harmony — a message that he shared in a Billboard op-ed earlier this month, The Christian Post previously reported.
"I think that it takes humility to hear another person's vantage point, especially when you believe the one that you have is correct," he wrote in the piece.
Lecrae went on to tell "The Daily Share": "When people are hurting, people are mourning, people are crying — that's not the time to point out where you may disagree. That's a time to listen — what is it that's hurting you?"
"Why are there scores of people all over the world now up in arms and crying and protesting and enraged? What is really going on — and you can't just say, 'Ah, this is some ploy ... they got it all wrong.'"