Rapper Lecrae Loses Tour Date After Tweeting Criticism of “Gentrified, Politicized” Church Culture

By Josh Shepherd
Lecrae Moore Reach Records
Rap artist and Reach Records founder Lecrae Moore faced controversy after tweeting criticism of “institutional, corporatized, gentrified, politicized” church culture. (Photo: Reach Records)

Christian rap artist and Reach Records founder Lecrae revealed recently that he lost a tour date after tweeting criticism of “gentrified, politicized, culturally exclusive” church culture.

Atlanta-based Lecrae Moore, who uses his first name as a performance moniker, tweeted last Tuesday: “Once upon a time I thought I was done with Christianity. But the reality was I was just done with the institutional, corporatized, gentrified, politicized, culturally exclusive version of it.”

The statement from Lecrae came only two days after Reach had teased their nationwide “We Are Unashamed Tour” set for spring 2022.

One day after his initial tweet, Lecrae reposted it with a new message that stated: “Just lost a show because of this tweet. Point proven.” He added: “Vulnerability gets people kicked out of exclusive tribes. Jesus welcomes the outcast and seeks to bring healing.”

In a follow-up interview, Lecrae did not disclose the Christian-affiliated venue that cancelled. (Specific dates, locations, and artists have not yet been announced.) But he stated that other venues in the same area have reached out to book that city on the tour.

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“I think people have a lot of assumptions about me,” he told The Christian Post. “Really it’s been rumors. (But) you can definitely reach out to me for clarification.”

Lightning rod in Christian music

Lecrae, who has won two Grammy Awards for his rap albums and written two books about his Christian testimony—Unashamed (2016) and I Am Restored (2020)—has been no stranger to controversy.

In 2016, he signed with mainstream label Columbia Records and appeared the next summer at the BET Awards. He spoke in a podcast interview at the time of “turning (his) back on white evangelicalism.”

That interview, in which Lecrae briefly referenced his friendship with theologian John Piper, prompted the elder pastor to write a post in defense of the rap artist. “Lecrae is not an adolescent,” wrote Piper in 2017. “His faith is not secondhand (and) I am thankful for that.”

Lecrae has continued to be vocal about racial injustice. His song “Deep End,” released in 2020, addressed his approach to these issues. “I have found myself in immense pain over the past couple months from the effects of the pandemic to the perpetuation of injustice and racism in America,” he said at the time.

In December 2020, Lecrae performed at a Georgia outdoor rally for two U.S. Senate candidates, Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff. He did not endorse either candidate but encouraged people to vote.

Many of his longtime fans viewed this performance as a betrayal, as Lecrae has long been open about his pro-life views. Both Georgia candidates, who went on to win their seats, are affiliated with the Democratic Party and known for their pro-choice stances.

Last March, Lecrae addressed this controversy when speaking on The Holy Post Podcast co-hosted by VeggieTales creator Phil Vischer.

The rap artist said that Atlanta Mayor Keisha Bottoms had invited him to perform at the Get Out the Early Vote Rally on December 14, 2020. “What was communicated to me was both candidates will be there,” said Lecrae on the podcast. “Now, I’m thinking it’s bipartisan—both candidates. I’m not thinking, ‘Oh both Democratic candidates.’ I didn’t realize that.”

For appearing at that event, Lecrae has faced vocal criticism from several conservative figures. Political activist Charlie Kirk, addressing a California church last year, said “In my personal opinion, (Lecrae) should never be allowed to perform at another church.”

In his interview last week, Lecrae circled back to these criticisms. “I’ve never publicly supported any candidate,” he said. “But whatever it may be, they look at anything I post as a confirmation of a rumor they’ve heard versus getting clarification from me.”

As to Lecrae’s tweet last week rejecting “institutional” Christianity, many observers viewed it as a response to his friend and past musical collaborator Brady “Phanatik” Goodwin. In a video posted last Sunday, Goodwin renounced his Christian faith.

The Roys Report contacted a representative for Lecrae but did not hear back by publication time.

Lecrae has grappled with the conversation around deconstruction for years. In December, he and label mate 1K Phew released an album entitled No Church In A While.

“There’s lots of people who don’t go for multiple reasons, and we just want to be a voice for those individuals,” he said regarding church attendance. “It definitely doesn’t mean we don’t believe in church. We are just acknowledging the conversations that have been happening.”

Freelance journalist Josh Shepherd writes on faith, culture, and public policy for several media outlets. He and his wife live in the Washington, D.C. area with their two children.

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23 thoughts on “Rapper Lecrae Loses Tour Date After Tweeting Criticism of “Gentrified, Politicized” Church Culture”

  1. He doesn’t endorse any candidates. He just performs at political rallies for certain candidates and they all happen to be from one party.

    1. Man, if this is your takeaway of this article, you should read again more closely and not let your political lens shape your view of the world.

      1. @ Mark Swartz

        Is what Mr. Hoskins posted untrue? Does someone have to see what was posted in the article through a political lens in order to understand what was plainly posted in the article? Are people only allowed to focus on one particular takeaway or is there room for multiple?

        1. The greater issue SHOULD be about Mr Hoskins initial tweet (about the church being gentrified, politicized, et al), which has resonated quite a bit in non-white evangelical circles. I’m a Black evangelical who has had to work HARD over these past couple of years to embrace being one amidst a gentrified, politicized church. I’ve watched fellow non-white believers leave my predominantly white church over the last couple of years with NO ONE reaching out in Christian love, but PLENTY reaching out to reinforce politics (“Are you leaving because of Trump? BLM?” Um, how about asking about CHRIST?!)
          Yes, there can be multiple takeaways from this article, but immediately zooming in on the political aspect or assumed political stances – on a Christian site – just proves Mr Hoskins’s point.

          1. Marin Heiskell,

            I won’t comment on what’s gone on in your church the past two years that’s motivated minority people to leave it. I’ll even volunteer the observation that I’ve seen some white insensitivity (not deliberate I think–but certainly hurtful) in my own church that was extremely damaging.

            Now, that being said–I’m not sure how Trump deserves to be made into a bogeyman or figurehead for all “toxic whiteness”. What the heck did he do? Like him or not–he denounced the killing of George Floyd–he never once defended the actions of obviously brutal/evil police when they happened. Why is he blamed for this? Unjustifiable police killings/murders have taken place under every presidency, red and blue.

          2. Points taken, but I’m a bit confused. Are you addressing Mr. Swartz response to Mr. Hoskins or are you agreeing with Mr. Hoskins’ initial comment?

            My response to Mr. Swartz was to note that politics was embedded in the article itself and part of the title. Mr. Hoskins made sn observation that was also embedded in the article. Does that make the article primarily political?

            You mention non-white people leaving the church. Likewise, I know many white people who have left the church over the years for a myriad of reasons. The Bible alludes to people leaving and speaks about a great falling away. All of those people with have reasons they believe to be valid. You mentioned in another comment your own struggle, and yet you remained steadfast in your faith. What was it that kept you grounded in the faith once for all delivered unto men?

          3. I appreciate the genuine questions from you, Brian and Peter. I’ll try to answer both succinctly here.
            As for Trump being turned into a boogeyman, I think of the phrase, “the fish rots from the head.” As leader of the country, POTUS sets the tone of the country. And a lot of the anger, vitriol, and demonizing of dissenters was exacerbated during his candidacy and term. Simmering anger became screams of profanity at anyone on the “opposite” side. And Trump wrote the playbook on it: Disagree with him? Get ready for name-calling and bullying at a rally or on social media. And a lot of the sentiment among non-whites was that Trump’s getting away with it because he’s white: NO WAY would that behavior have been tolerated out of Obama; he wouldn’t have made it out of the primary carrying on like that.
            And who was supporting Trump and cheering him on? Mostly white people (and Christians!). So Trump’s behavior became a “symbol” of sorts of how white people feel behind closed doors (they are just now emboldened to say it) and feel entitled to behave (because no matter what, Trump’s defended!). Not saying it’s right, but just what is.
            Peter, I was doing a bit of both – responding to Mr Swartz, calling out that his response reflects Mr Hoskins’s concerns. And I’d like to clarify: the non-whites I’m referring to left the church due to the sentiments Mr Hoskins expressed, but NOT their faith.
            How do I deal? Reminding myself my faith is in the gospel, not in men. If I focus too much on men – including fellow believers – I wouldn’t make it.

          4. @ Marin Heiskell

            I appreciate your genuine response and your input.

            I believe, maybe it’s a hope or a prayer, that one day Jesus will tear away the things we wrap ourselves in that separate us. When that happens, I think we might see we were never quite as far apart as we imagined and so many things we hung our hopes on not worth the emotional and spiritual capital expended.

          5. Marin Heiskell,

            Thank you for your response.

            I’ll be the first to admit Trump had a big mouth and was highly iconoclastic. I don’t see those necessarily as bad things–Peter, Samson, and at times Jesus himself could all be abrasive when dealing with evil. The entire reason Trump ever was a thing is that half of the public had grown sick and tired of a cocky, arrogant left that trampled on everyone and a meek, mild-mannered, ineffective right that let them.

            I would disagree that there have been no nonwhite leaders/presidents who used inflammatory and inciting rhetoric. Obama spoke about taking knives to gunfights, etc. and punishing his enemies–yes, he didn’t use that kind of metaphor as often as Trump did his bombast, but I’d argue that that was just as bad if not worse.

            What Trump said about racial-justice issues and protests was that he wanted “law and order” and to punish rioters–never, ever that there were no grounds for protest or that he was not sympathetic to the cause. The fact that there is a mainstream public perception of the latter is a testament to the most deceptive media apparatus on the planet since Pravda and its allies in the West. In reality, Trump was very receptive to African Americans on issues such as prison reform, black employment reached all-time highs before COVID, and he actually gained support over 2016 with blacks and Hispanics.

            That doesn’t excuse it if members of your church were willfully dismissive of or disrespectful to minorities, one bit. I’d never say otherwise and I’m sure the vast majority of Trump supporters would agree. I just don’t like that he’s made the focal point and whipping boy for all sins committed by the “white right”.

          6. Brian/Peter, Thanks for your responses.
            I agree when we take away the identities that separate us, we’ll find we all want the same things: good schools, safe neighborhoods, etc. We don’t have to have these things at the expense of others; God shoud be the ultimate uniter as our Creator and Provider.
            I don’t understand why the left is labeled cocky, arrogant or elite. When I’ve asked conservatives why they point to examples I deem to be “well educated.” And I watch conservatives who – like Trump – were grew up wealthy, in coastal cities, and attended Ivy League schools rant about “elites” (Laura Ingraham). Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson rile up their viewers on how out of touch the left is, but Sean commutes via private helicopter to one of his homes (his real estate portfolio is worth $80 mil) and Carlson is heir to the Swanson empire. Huh?
            And unfortunately, for every comment Trump may have said to sympathize with protesters, he countered it. He called athletes who kneeled for racial injustice “sons of ____” (won’t type that) at a rally and gained cheers from an audience of white conservatives. If there’s a reason to protest, and that protest is peaceful, why say that? I think it was to pander to his audience, hence why I say Trump is self serving.
            White Christians should’ve been discerning before hitching their wagon to Trump. The only way to escape the “boogeyman” trope is to separate yourselves from him. Stop justfying his bad behavior with whataboutisms and “the end justifies the means”. Find a new horse to hitch your wagon to; it may need to be a yet-to-be-discovered one.

          7. Marin Heiskell,

            1: I could level the same criticisms of African-American liberal elites. Oprah, LeBron, Maxine Waters, Nikole Jones etc. are about as separated from average black citizens trying to make a living and survive in sub-middle-class America as the east is from the west.

            2: Kaepernick and others have the right to make a statement, and others have the right to criticize that statement, that’s how democratic discourse in a free society, works.

            3: “White Christians should’ve been discerning before hitching their wagon to Trump. The only way to escape the “boogeyman” trope is to separate yourselves from him.”

            It’s true that a majority of white Christians voted for Trump (whether or not for racial reasons). It’s also true that the majority of black Christians voted for Barack Obama, the then-most pro-abortion president in history. About 40% of abortions are of black fetuses… where’s BLM there?

            I think the racial-consciousness movement needs to stop hitching itself to the party that sees perpetually poor and disadvantaged minorities as a vehicle to everlasting votes, if you ask me.

  2. My wife and I this morning, in our habitual first-cup-of-tea and start-the-fire blether, talked about the bad rep (doubting Thomas) gets in the NT.
    Personally I’m all for doubt, being honestly critical. Faith should always be a two-legged stool, one leg in transcending faith, one leg in securely Earth-grounded common sense.
    So these recent events with our two rappers, are of great interest.
    I initially misread: “… lots of people who don’t go for multiple reasons …”. I now see that Lecrae was probably/possibly thinking about people going to Church (or something similar). I initially thought he was speaking about people simplifying a human world in which multiple reasons (to do with himself for example; hence the reach out to me for clarification bit) are in play, and people don’t want go for a world informed by multiple reasons.

  3. I get where he’s coming from. This idolotry of the building, the pastor, the denomination, the worship team, the … whatever … is very telling as to where the heart lies. The church has demonstrated its ability to muck things up and misrepresent Jesus time and time again, and this seems to be moving at an accelerated pace as churches desperately try to hold on to the money that feeds everything they’ve come to love and the “security” and “power” that goes with it.

    The place that should be the MOST welcoming, the MOST inclusive, and the MOST sought-after refuge for answers to today’s problems is often anything but. If the Lord’s house doesn’t want them, where are people to go for the truth? For the love? For the Good News? Saving grace isn’t just for the “right” ones.

    #TeamLacrae in this instance.

    1. It’s the “mile wide, inch deep” sentiment that has long plagued big-growth, preservation-of-self evangelicalism in America. Or, as I’ve often heard it coined, “American auditorium churchianity.”

  4. It would be great if Christians would engage with the issues he brings up instead of jumping to simplistic conclusions.

  5. By appearing with Warnock, the self professed abortion pastor, and the Marxist Ossof, he has sided with ideologues contrary to the absolute truth of Scripture. He has chosen the culture of Canaan over the culture of life. He needs to be called out on these issues.

      1. @ Mark Gunderson

        But didn’t He call them to repent and tell many of them “Go and sin no more”? It’s not who He hung around with that informed His worldview. His view was always God’s view. He in no way sanctioned prostitution or the type of taxation that went on back then. He inspired tax collectors to leave that business and to offer restitution, not to look at taxation as a means of God’s blessing them with material wealth.

        Wasn’t His association with “sinners” more about the fact He came to minister to and change the lives of even those considered the lowliest and worst of sinners? His association wasn’t political in any way.

        1. Yes.

          And why then would I disbelieve Lecrae when he said he did not endorse either pro-choice candidate and had originally been under the impression it was a bipartisan event based the information he was given? Why, for that matter, would I think he performed for the sake of the candidates and not for the attendees?

          I can’t describe the reaction to all of this as anything but ‘pharisaical.’

          1. @ Mark Gunderson

            I’m curious about your use of “pharisaical”. Are you referring to people recommending he be “canceled” from performing in churches or more broadly to anyone questioning his narrative about the rally?

            For the sake of discussion, what if a famous singer decided to make ending DUIs a priority in their life. To demonstrate their commitment, they made frequent appearances at MADD rallies and devoted their time and resources to the cause. Would their fellow laborers have a right to question their commitment if they embarked on a nationwide concert tour wholly sponsored by a beer company regardless of how they later explained the companie’s sponsorship?

            Let me say that this has nothing to do with Lacrae specifically or that he is in any way involved with a beer company.

    1. By appearing with Trump, the amoral relativist and truth denier, [ ] has sided with ideologues contrary to the objective truth of scripture. [ ] has chosen the culture of American idolatry and manna over the culture of suffering, grace, humility and the cross. [ ] needs to be called out on these issues.

  6. michelle mcclain

    there are problems in the church named after Christ just like when Jesus cleared out the temple. He (Jesus) was the one who said something about looking in the mirror before pointing our fingers in accusation but seems Jesus’ church wants to pick & choose what parts of the gospel to follow.
    My question is this… If God inspired the bible (which i believe He did) is there a reason there are scriptures in both old & new testament as well as parables & law telling ua very clearly it matters to HIM that we love JUSTICE, MERCY As we humbly walk with OUR GOD… LeCrae doesnt have to follow the curch He’s called to follow Christ so leave him alone & clean your own festering tombs…

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