Systems and Structures: An Interview with Lecrae Part 2

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The second installment highlighting Ed’s recent interview with Lecrae.

Ed: Let’s talk about some of the trauma that you walk through in and around systemic racism.

Lecrae: I often have to allow people to understand some of the historical narrative when people struggle with the idea: “You’re successful, you have Grammys, you have financial stability. How can you be traumatized by any type of racism? Get over it, move past it. How is it still affecting you today?”

I explain by using something as simple as education in my own life. My three times great grandmother was brought here from Africa. She was nine years old, kidnapped and trafficked. She was not allowed to get an education. After slavery ended, she was given the opportunity either to be free—which meant she’d be homeless and have to wander the streets—or to work on the plantation continuously for food.

So, my great grandmother, who followed in her footsteps, also had no opportunity for education. She just sharecropped from childhood forward to my grandmother, who said, “I want to get away from this place.” And she ran away or left home at 13 to try to find a better life. But she ran into discrimination and the inability to receive a quality education as well. And so it gets to my mother, who grew up in the civil rights era and who recognized that she was also prohibited from getting the same quality education as some of the white people in her city at the time.

For her, education was paramount. She wanted it so bad. Now you come to somebody like myself, who now has to carry all of that weight, all of that pressure of breaking through this cycle of my family not being able to get the same quality of education. But I’ve been able to get the same opportunities. That wears on your psyche. You’re …

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