Christian rapper Lecrae recently opened up about why he chose to become involved in the #BlackLivesMatter protests, explaining that he wanted to "educate and help" those disillusioned by today's racial climate.
During a recent interview with CNN, the Grammy award-winning hip hop artist and president of the non-profit organization ReachLife Ministries explained that he chose to become involved in the #BlackLivesMatter movement following the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson.
"There was so much pent-up anger and frustration in the black community, but they didn't know what they were mad at or what they wanted to see happen, so they lashed out," the 35-year-old "Say I Won't" singer recalled. "So, I wanted to be out there to direct the passion of a lot of these young folks...by the end, a lot of the college students were looking at me saying, 'Hey, what should we be doing?'"
He recounted a particular instance, where the window of a taxi cab was bashed in by one of the protesters.
"I went up to that man and told him I was willing to pay for that window because that's not what we're about. That's not what this is about," he said. "Part of me was to educate and to help them, to say, 'What is the strategy you want to employ here instead of just burning trash?'"
Lecrae also contended that just like a number of people groups, Christians are often stereotyped, and what believers want in the nation's next president is not necessarily what politicians -- such as Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio -- might assume.
"For a lot of people, groups, Christians included, issues are homogenized and so to be a Christian I'm either this staunch conservative Republican or I'm this tree hugging liberal," Lecrae said. "You're stereotyped. It's almost assumed that people know what your issues are going to be."
Such stereotyping all too easily extends to civil rights, the rapper lamented: "It's unfortunate that myself, as a black man, cannot care about the issues that impact the black community without being seeing as a race-baiter or without being seen as someone who doesn't care about any other ethnic groups."
The husband and father-of-three added, "My views as a Christian means there's moral plumb line that I'm fighting to adhere to ... it's not say this is the way the country's going to run and things are going to be. Honestly, what Jesus was about, was laying his life down for the marginalized who didn't have it all together."
Lecrae, who released his third installment of his "Church Clothes" mixtape series this week, also explained that while his lyrics are overtly Christian, he does not see himself as a squeaky-clean individual.
"A Christian is a noun. A Christian is a person. I function, I live life as a Christian and me living life as a Christian doesn't mean I'm a sanitized person," Lecrae said. "It means that I readily admit I'm a jacked up person, and I need a savior."
Last July, the "All I need is You" singer encouraged Christians to embrace those who come from different cultural backgrounds and asserted that division occurs when people are unwilling to develop relationships with those who are different from them.
"America is full of different cultures, yet it baffles me when people with cultural differences, who rarely interact with each other on deep levels, have so much commentary on the others' cultural perspective," he wrote in a Facebook message.
He continued, "Division is to be expected when people aren't developing meaningful relationships with others outside their culture. Everyone who lives in America (or is Christian for that matter) does not see everything the same. But if you find yourself upset at someone's outlook...that may need to be the very person you build a relationship with."
Lecrae, who is signed to his own independent label, Reach Records, gained nationwide attention after his album, "Anomaly," topped Billboard and sold 88,000 copies in week one. In addition to four Dove Awards, the rapper also is the first hip-hop artist to win the Grammy Best Gospel Album in 2013. He also won another Grammy in 2015 for his song "Messengers."