Lalah Hathaway and Lecrae Discuss Moving Forward in the Black Lives Matter Movement

The recording artists sat down with ESSENCE features editor Lauren Williams and opened up about how they're using their platforms to keep the momentum going.

ESSENCE.COM Aug, 11, 2015
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Welcome to Essence Debates Live. I'm Lauren Williams, Features Editor at Essence Magazine, and I'm joined by recording artist, Lalah Hathaway and Lecrae. Today we will be discussing the Black Lives Matter movement, specifically, where do we go from here. So, what are your thoughts on the movement. How have you both found ways to take part in it. I think, obviously, just having a pretty big social media following, that's one of the easiest ways to get involved is to just be a public voice and to create some publicity around some of the things that are going on. A lot of people just are clueless to what's happening out there, so just to have voices. You know, exposing a lot of the different things that are happening in the country is one of the biggest ways I've gotten involved. Yeah, I agree. I think social media has provided such a platform to be able to speak to so many people at once, even just to get the dialog going, to be able to ask questions in an open forum I think is a really incredible way to get to people. Right. > In terms of movement when we think of the civil rights movement we think of songs like "What's Going On" by Marvin Gaye and there's always like a soundtrack to things like this. What role do you feel like music plays in todays black (inaudible) movement? It's huge, I think it's huge, I think there's a lot of particularly youth culture movement and in terms of music and expression, I think a lot of that is gonna come out. And we're gonna look back on this and see what that is. It's still kind of emerging as we go, but all of those songs that we think of as protest songs or like, Someday We'll All Be Free, by my dad, which has lived for the last 35 years. And every time something happens, that song comes up And the music speaks particularly to the youth generation is really important. Definitely. What's the one thing that you think the movement has been really successful in achieving? A lot of the momentum in the circumstances that we're looking at in our country Come from me. See, there's publicity, there's policy changes, and then there's programs. And just creating programs that, you know, effect change, and I think we've seen publicity unlike any other time in history because of social media, and because everyone's quick, it's rapid, it's everywhere. Fast, yeah. But I think You know, it's led to some conversations about policy and policy changes and things of that nature. And then people have started different kinds of programs, So I think it's all encompassing. I don't know if we'll see fully, you know, what's going to come ou of it all anytime soon but I think there's just so much happening right now that it's inevitable for You know. Yeah. Change will take place. I think it's also really again mobilize the youth community. Mm-hm. Which I think is probably more active now than it has been in recent years. Mm-hm. And I think young people having access to see everything and comment And then have dialogue with each other from all over the world. Yeah. In this way that they never have before is really important. Right. And is there a personal story that either one of you can share that has really sort of informed your involvement in the movement, be it a comment from a fan or a personal conversation that you had that really sort of changed the way you thought about things or really got you more involved? "Well I know I can say that particularly being transfixed by what happened in Ferguson my dad is from St. Louis, Missouri and just having a feeling for that part of the country and being from Chicago wi-with everything that's going on there ." I find that when I speak out or when I say something, I'm met with a lot of people saying, you know, thank you for speaking out. Which seems so, so strange because it feels like we're all talking about it, but I think that it's definitely made me feel a lot more comfortable using This tiny little platform I have to speak my mind and try to speak peace over a lot of situations. Right right. I would say similarly, people are grateful for you saying something, people are grateful for you not just worried about self preservation or perception, but like Fell like, man, I need to be out and involved. I actually, I live in Atlanta and I was so just, you know, overwhelmed by the commentary and everything that's going on. I just went out into the community, went out into the streets with all these college students and, you know, they were protesting and whatnot, and what I found was they just really lacked leadership. They were mad, they were upset, they were frustrated and they didn't know what to do. They didn't know if they were going to scream, or throw a brick and just the I didn't realize how much deference and respect they would give to somebody like myself just me being out there. So they were like, what are we doing, Craig? And I was like oh wow, so I guess I'm leading this now. Right, right. But you know, I think that's big. It's just having leadership. Especially for this, a young generation. They don't have a lot of MLK's and People that are willing to just take up the mantle and show them which direction they need to move in. Right. And lastly, what's one thing that you both want to see come out of this movement? What's the one thing that you think is a top priority? It's so much about the youth, the culture, particularly of this country and particularly of black America. For kids to be involved and understand that they can make a difference cuz I think a lot of kids feel disenfranchised, obviously and you know that makes sense. But, to know that you have a voice and you can speak your mind and you can make a positive difference in your community Which will ripple out into the world. You can change the world. I think a lot of people feel that way, where they might not have before, and that's really important. Just a concept of hope and faith in our community is really important. Yeah, definitely. Yeah, I would totally agree with that. I think that's what I would love to see happen, is people embrace The fact that they can actually play a part in it. You know that, you know we are playing with dignity and with purpose and worth and value. We are, we've created civilizations and we can really make a difference. We can really get involved and to see young people feel like, man I can do something about this, I can be involved in this process Is major. I know. Layla Hathaway, Lacray, thank you so much for joining us today. That's it for this segment of SX Debates Live. Please join us again for our next installment on