THIS ARTICLE VIA THE 10.21.2016 VOICES SECTION OF THE HUFFINGTON POST:
Some people think we’re whining about the past.But we’re really not.
I was once told you shouldn’t waste time explaining yourself to people bent on misunderstanding you.
So, I won’t anymore.
I can’t anymore.
I’m a mess.
I’ve been grieving the loss of black lives since 2014…without consultation.
Been fighting critics and scrutiny since 2012.
I can’t even read comments on social media anymore.
All the slander is too much for any one person to digest.
They don’t get me.
I navigate different cultures daily, and I understand how people can make false assumptions because of their lack of interaction with the cultures I find myself in. But if they don’t frequent these spaces much, how can they rush to judgment?
I hit a serious low on tour at one point; I was done with American Christian culture. No voice of my own. No authenticity. I was a puppet. I’d seen so much fakeness from those who claimed to be my brothers and sisters that I didn’t even know how to talk to my Heavenly Father.
And then there was Mike Brown.
Then Eric Garner.
And then #______ and #________ and #_______.
People kept killing us.
As I shared my heart, my supporters turned on me even more—fans and friends. There was no empathy. Though some comments were just evil and hurtful, others were steeped in ignorance and lack of perspective. They didn’t get it.
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My mother, my relatives, and closest friends have risked their lives in the area of law enforcement and corrections, so I never have and never will say, “I HATE police.” I know that it’s a culture of its own with many nuances that the average person can’t grasp.
Still, I have had enough experience with and exposure to our policing system to know that it is extremely fractured and the infrastructure is far from fair and just. I’ve been pulled over before a show, spoken to like I was less than human, unlawfully searched for drugs, and left to put my destroyed car back together and make it to my show as the cops drove off.
I’ve had an officer place his knee on my throat as he told me to tell him where a gun (that I didn’t possess) was. My brother and fellow artist Trip Lee was outside of one of his own concerts and was pushed around and had guns drawn on him because he fit a description. These are just a few of some of the MANY infractions I can name.
Does this indict all officers? No. But does the consistency of infraction tell me the system (not just a few individuals) is flawed? Yes.
That’s why I declare BLACK LIVES MATTER! You can’t wipe away a 500-year trauma in 50 years.
Understand there is a DISTINCT difference between the organization “BLM” and the sentiment “BLM.” My agreement with the sentiment is not my endorsement of the organization.
Rather, the statement encapsulates our societal woes as a people. I don’t condone violence or rioting for which BLM is so often blamed, and I don’t believe these isolated acts express the values of the BLM organization or the sentiment either. Yet, some people still think we are just “whining about the past.”
But we’re not.
We are trying to expose how the past has affected the present and threatens the future.
Can people not see it?
If you enslave and torture a people for 400 years, tell them they are free but torture them another 100 years, and then kind of give them rights begrudgingly 50 years ago, how can you expect zero systemic effects?
You can’t wipe away a 500-year trauma in 50 years.
But just as I don’t hate cops, I’m not mad at white people. But I am disturbed at the supremacy and disparities that still exist. And what’s ironic is that I’m so bothered because Jesus actually challenges me to not only care for the souls of all humanity, but to feed the hungry, aid the sick, regard the stranger, visit the prisoner, and love my neighbor in tangible ways.
Honestly, the pains of humanity have been draining me. And if that wasn’t enough, I had to bury my 34-year-old cousin. We grew up together, pledged in college together, and found God together. And in a moment, his life was taken. On top of that, a longtime friend betrayed my trust. Life has really been crumbling over the past year, which brought on depression and so many doubts.
All I’ve had was music and my family and a couple of close friends.
I’ve wanted to quit.
I told myself I can’t be a leader and a figure of integrity and wisdom until I become whole and not have to always be the one with answers.
I’m not who they want me to be.
I never will be.
That’s where I found myself.
And that’s where God found me.
I’m only one man. I stress MAN.
Human. Fallible. Fallen. Susceptible. Vulnerable.
Hang out with me long enough, and I’m bound to let you down.
But I’m working on me. Well, God is. And as He is, I hope for grace and mercy and prayers from all those who really care.
Lecrae is a two-time GRAMMY Award winning hip-hop artist whose 2014 album, Anomaly, debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top 200, Rap, Digital, Christian, Gospel, and Independent charts.