Lecrae Owns Mistakes In "White Blessings" Racist Faux Pas With White Preacher, Rebukes Cancellation
(AllHipHop Features) Lecrae has seen better days. This week, Pastor Louie Giglio, who helms an Atlanta megachurch and Chic-Fil-A CEO Dan Cathy were engaged in a conversation with the rapper.
After the man said that...he didn't stop. Giglio continued on his low key, but not so low key racist rant.
And, it went completely left when Giglio said:
"We understand the curse that was slavery, white people do, and we say 'that was bad,' but we miss the blessing of slavery that it actually built up the framework for the world that white people live in and lived in."
"I know that you (directly to Lecrae) and I both have struggled in these days with 'hey if the phrase is the trip up, let's get over the phrase and let's get down to the heart, let's get down to what then do you want to call it,' and I think maybe a great thing for me is to call it 'white blessing'. That I'm living in the blessing of the curse that happened generationally that allowed me to grow up in Atlanta."
Giglio later apologized and Lecrae addressed it, but the damage was done. Most people were upset, because Lecrae said "Yes" and seemingly shook his head in agreement. He also said nothing to counter those words. Most people skipped Giglio and directly their rage/disappointment/frustration at Lecrae, who did not check the pastor for his racist comment.
AllHipHop's Chuck "Jigsaw" Creekmur quickly reached out to Lecrae and talked to him about the controversy, what was going on his the gifted rapper's head and much more. The conversation in full is below.
AllHipHop: Today we had a situation with a video that went viral in a conversation with yourself. an evangelical preacher, is that accurate? And the CEO of Chick-Fil-A. How are you? How are you feeling about it?
Lecrae: I was shocked then, I'm shocked now, you know what I'm saying? Obviously, you know, it was in a controlled environment, but then you do realize that now the whole world is hearing it. I understand the frustration and the pain and just how people are receiving it. It wasn't like I was okay with it. I wasn't like, "Yes, I totally agree." I was shocked as well. It made me uncomfortable, but in the heat of the moment, it's like, trying to gauge the intentions and how to respond to it in the moment.
AllHipHop: I wasn't even asked this question, but, but somebody asked me to ask you. Why didn't you check him at the point he said "White blessing"
Lecrae: Yes. What was funny about it is like, I really didn't even catch it. It was like I heard it but I didn't hear it. It was like I hear what you're saying, but I don't think I hear what you're saying. I got his intention. It wasn't like he was saying "slavery's a blessing." It was more like he was trying to say people hate white privilege, can we rename it. But I was just shocked. It didn't register immediately to address it. it was more like "wow."
AllHipHop: And so for people that don't know I've been on a lot of these spaces, you know, I've been on Bill O'Reilly when it was most heated when Bill O'Reilly was eating people up and spitting them out and I managed to handle them and to the point where they wouldn't have me on anymore. I've been on MSNBC and a lot of spaces that seem welcoming, but then you get these little, I think they call them microaggressions, you know, that that was pretty brazen,. But you know your audience and you know you're in front of another type of audience. What were you considering in your mind when he said that? What were you thinking?
Lecrae: Part of it is like, "Yo, I know this dude does not mean what I think he means." And all the time when I'm in these situations, whenever I'm dealing with issues of racial injustice, white supremacy, whatever, it's always a catch 22. Being honest with you the night before that I was in downtown Atlanta after Rayshard [Brooks] got killed and they was burning up the Wendy's so I was down there with everybody. I'm in the front of the line mad as hell talking to the police officer, so my emotions was hot you know what I mean?
And so I was even telling my man "yo pray for me as I go in here to talk tomorrow because I'm in a weird space and I don't want to lash out and do nothing crazy," so it was like a lot of just trying to control myself and just trying to be like "alright how am I gonna have this conversation" because just the night before and I put a little bit on my socials, but I was spazzing, I was just hot I'm breaking up fights and it was just crazy. I was spazzing.
AllHipHop: I felt like the statement was brazen I'll be honest. Like you said, when someone says something like that, or when you say something like something or I say something, you tend to check yourself, you'll be like, "yo what I mean is, yo what I mean to say is, Jesus died on the cross so we could be good right now," you know what I mean? Like you figure out a way to fix it. But I didn't get the impression that he was. And I'm not trying to demonize the brother. I saw the full conversation. It is a full conversation. But I will say this, it spoke to volumes to how subliminal and very quiet racism can be, even unbeknownst to the person perpetrating it.
Lecrae: Or the issue is that you can say something completely off the wall and not know it. You know what I mean? So I've been a proponent. I'm not a tap dancer for no checks. I don't have nothing to gain by being in them spaces and places. So, because I have white friends, I've been like allowing them to fumble the ball as they try to figure stuff out how to say stuff in a safe place. I think the problem is, he fumbled the ball on a very big platform. You don't even know what you're saying. The problem is, and what I'm learning, even in this moment now is there's too many times where we're talking about racism in America and its the white person leading a conversation or carrying the conversation and not listening. And that's really what it should have been. More of a posture of "let me hear what black people have to say about racism in America instead of coming out and giving my thoughts because I'm gonna drop a bomb and say some ridiculous."
AllHipHop: I know you guys talked backstage. First of all, how was that conversation? And second of all, have you talked since?
Lecrae: Yeah, we talked immediately afterward and I let them know my thoughts. It was so many things that happened in that whole conversation that was like, yo, that needed to be addressed. Dude tried to shine my shoes and I was like, "yo, bro, we don't we want Chick-fil-a stock. We don't want shoe shines. You know what I mean? So there's so many little things that we had to discuss. But that was one of a bunch of different things. That's the snapshot of a lot of stuff that happens.
So my biggest thing that I was trying to communicate to them was, we can't be doing this virtue signaling stuff, just having conversations about race. We really got to be about this. I just came from this protest last night, people was burning stuff up and screaming at police. This is a real thing.
So just this "Kumbaya, look, guys, we're multicultural." That's not what we need right now. We need real work. So that was what we discussed. That's what I was telling him. So even in this, like, even after it, it's like what I told him, My conversation with him was you gotta lean in, you know, an apology is not going to be what people are gonna be like, "oh, thank you." You will have to be consistent over some years of really leaning into this and dismantling white supremacy in your own life and in the culture as a whole.
AllHipHop: Do they believe in white supremacy? I haven't been in a white church in about 10 years. One of my best friends from childhood is white. Very good guy. And he does one thing that I really appreciate and value: he listens. And sometimes he doesn't appreciate everything but he listens. We're still friends to this day. Do you think he's heard what's being said?
Lecrae: I don't know, man. I would I would hope so. That would be my hope. I think it's hard for white people in white context to see the areas that they can't see. I said it in the panel like you can be so inundated your white world, because everyone around you agrees with your perspective, it must be the right perspective.
Everybody thought slavery was okay in the white community at one point in time, but it wasn't. So, that was kind of my argument is, and I understand you live in a space so you can't see what you can't see. That's why you have to humble yourself and listen. I mentioned too, as a black person, I'm double read. I've read the books that you read, and I got to read the books by Black authors that you never picked up. So I see stuff from a different vantage point than you're going to see stuff and that's why I can never say where a person is. I just want to encourage people on the journey.
AllHipHop: It was crazy to see people go at you. They wanted you to be a voice with them. They wanted you to do the most, and I think that's why a lot of the anger was directed at you whereas he really didn't catch it. It's kind of like all we expect that from you, but you caught the brunt. I wanted you to talk directly to people because this wouldn't go away. Would you have done anything different?
Lecrae: Of course, you know, I've learned a lot. You know, I'm on a journey too you know, at the end of the day, I don't call myself a scholar or academic on sociology or anything, so I'm always learning and hearing perspectives. I get the anger. You know, I understand the frustration and anger because I felt it too. I learned a couple things.
One, I learned that sometimes my anger toward people who I feel like are tap dancing, maybe I don't know the full story, cause now I'm a victim of that. So now I'm like, well, that ain't the full story. Case in point when Charlamagne was talking to Joe Biden and Joe Biden was like, "You ain't black" and everybody was like, "yo, Charlamagne why you just let him say that." But what's the whole story? What's the context of everything that went down?
Mine is a little different because mine was an hour-long conversation. And it was a snippet where I didn't say anything. I just let him say something. And I didn't say anything. And so well, in that moment, I didn't. So what I learned is man, just be ready. Even when you feel like it's a safe environment, an environment where everything's gonna be copacetic and you'll be able to do your thing. Be ready, be prepared, and know what you're getting yourself into, That's a big piece that I've learned from a lot of this.
AllHipHop: I'm going to ask this question. Don't take it the wrong way. But you released a statement earlier. Do you feel like you owe people black people an apology?
Lecrae: Yes, in a sense of this, if you are let down if you feel hurt because everyone has different vantage points. So anybody who feels hurt disrespected by that, man, my deepest apologies. Because that was not my intention. My intention was not to shuck and jive and just agree with something that is painful. I mean, that's my history too. And so, I don't think that's okay. I would never approve of that. So far all of them yes. I think there's so many subsets of us and a lot of people who are just like, "man, you know, what were you doing?" And I'm like, "let me tell you what I was doing." So, I know my intentions. My intention was really to be there on behalf of us and to let his audience know what we wrestle with. I felt like that's what I was trying to do throughout the conversation.
I have no problem apologizing, you know what I'm saying? I'm not too proud to admit people was hurt by my actions. I've said stuff in the past that people was hurt by and man, I apologized. My intention was to lift up and not tear down.
AllHipHop: I think people find it really hard to comprehend being in those spaces and talking to an audience that does not understand but also trying to be that conduit for people to understand, you know, we want things to get better. And we have to figure out a way to communicate with each other. And there's people that are there and are able to so me like I said, you know, my business partner Greg and I, we used to strategize like "aight, this time, we're going to wear our hats this way, cause they go understand us a little better if we were it this way. But if you were like this, they don't think you are hood. Or this time I'm gonna wear a suit. They're gonna listen to me more if I wear a suit," understanding now that it really doesn't matter what you wear, and they're going to receive the message the same way. But to talking to white audiences Middle America, or down south is a is special as far as I've been able to see. But you have audiences on from sort of this ministry side being a Christian rapper, as well as sort of the mainstreaming of your music. How is it walking that line?
Lecrae: It's a tightrope. You know what I mean? You gotta know, you gotta have integrity within yourself to not sell yourself short to really stand up for what you believe in. But then you also got to do a lot of soul searching so that you actually know what you believe in. You know, it's a lot of actors that get caught up in that role that they've been acting in for so long so they don't even know who their real selves are. And sometimes you can straddle the line so much that you don't know what you really think, or "where do I really stand on what particular issues?" Because I've been so diplomatic for so long.
That's the hard part about it. I feel like four years ago, I really turned the tide, especially with a lot of my white audience, because I really spoke out against racial injustice. And, you know, I had 3,000 people coming to my shows before that, that turned into 300 you know what I mean?
So it drastically changed. But I knew where I stood. So even in this, it's like, I know where I stand. I mean, this moment, I can't let it define. I know where I stand. It's a terrible circumstance, a terrible moment. But I know what I'm about, you know what I mean?
And those who know me know what I'm about. They know this is not what Lecrae is about or what Lecrae stands for, so it's tough to toe that line. And I probably was a little too diplomatic - not probably - I was too diplomatic. I was trying to explain stuff in a way that I felt like, "Okay, how can I say this so that they get it?"
Here's another thing I learned. The truth of the matter is, people in the '60s said it better than I ever could. And people still haven't listened. So I just have to be 100 and say what it is. And allies come as they come in, and infrastructures get torn down as it gets torn down.