Christian rapper's tweet about Kaepernick and recent police shootings stirs controversy
Posted September 28, 2016
Popular Christian rapper Lecrae — a performer who has been increasingly vocal about police brutality and race relations of late — is once again speaking out.
Lecrae sent a simple tweet on Monday seemingly referring to the death of Terence Crutcher, a black man who was fatally shot by police in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Sept. 16 — and Lecrae's message has gone viral in recent days.
"Take a knee...people riot. Take a bullet...people quiet," Lecrae wrote.
The rapper's simple statement about the shooting also clearly invoked the intense debate over San Francisco 49ers backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick's decision not to stand during the national anthem.
It was a response that has already garnered more than 65,000 retweets and more than 72,000 likes on the social media platform.
And it's one that comes amid conflicting accounts of what led five-year Tulsa police veteran Betty Shelby to fire her weapon at Crutcher. The shooting has sparked both protests and concern, with attorneys for Shelby and Crutcher issuing conflicting reports about what unfolded.
A separate police shooting of a North Carolina man named Keith Lamont Scott has also sparked intense protests in recent days, with Gov. Pat McCrory declaring a state of emergency in Charlotte on Wednesday.
As for Lecrae, the response to his tweet was swift and diverse. While supporters agreed that the shooting was followed by silence, others said no one rioted over Kaepernick's stance and that plenty of people are speaking out about Crutcher's death.
"What were the details specifically? Should the cops be placed in jail? What do you propose?" wrote user @smlindse1120. "Or is a fake blanket statement like usual."
Twitter user @alive_n_Jesus added, "It appears that you are out of touch with reality. #ferguson ring a bell?!?! There was rioting, looting, destruction."
Others said that decreased media coverage of the shooting was possibly due to the terror bombing in New York City over the weekend.
But Lecrae also received a great deal of support for his commentary, with Twitter user @dimbles7uk, among others, responding by saying that "Lecrae is using figurative language to show the sad lack of concern for the lives of black folks."
Others found the message "deep" and proper, with some encouraging Lecrae to keep speaking out and sharing his views.
The rapper also sent a separate tweet on the 19th that read, "We weren't made to become hashtags. #TerenceCrutcher."
As for his message about taking a "knee" and taking a "bullet," Lecrae took to Instagram on Wednesday night to weigh in on the resulting debate.
While he knows some might charge him with being "too political," he said his statements are related to "being faithful to expose darkness and address the burdens" on his heart.
"I travel the world (headed to the Middle East this year) fighting darkness, oppression and injustice so when I speak up at home it should be welcomed not met with side eyes and skepticism," he continued. "The light that shines the furthest shines the brightest at home."
The rapper said it's not about condoning anger or riots, but that it is about coping with "systematic oppression," bias based on color and abuse of power — dynamics that he said must stop. Lecrae also encouraged others to get involved.
This isn't the first time that Lecrae has been vocal about race issues and police brutality. In July, he also made headlines for writing on his Instagram page that using the #AllLivesMatter hashtag is "like spitting in the face of black folk."
Lecrae penned a long statement at the time and included a photo with text that read, "I won't keep calm I have a black son." The statement and picture were reactions to the shooting death of Philando Castile, a Minnesota cafeteria worker who was killed earlier this summer by a police officer during a traffic stop.
"#AllLivesMatter hashtag is like spitting in the face of black folk. It comes off as extremely selfish and unsympathetic to a mourning person," Lecrae wrote at the time. "Not because all lives don't matter. Of course they do. But it's very clear that black lives don't to many in this country."
He continued, "No one goes up to lung cancer patients and says 'Folks with Breast cancer matter too!"' #AllCancerPatients matter. "That's Insensitive."
Lecrae argued that true Christianity should defend the oppressed and the broken, and charged that many people don't see racism due to their privilege not to see it.
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