(Courtesy photo)

Grammy Award-winning artist Christian Hip-Hop Lecrae is on a mission to increase financial literacy among African Americans.

Growing up in a “marginalized” community in San Diego, Lecrae says he was exposed to incredible wealth and opportunity when he visited communities along the Pacific Coast or neighborhoods nestled in the hills overlooking the River. city.

But life was different in his predominantly black neighborhood. Less possibility. Much more poverty.

“You start to wonder ‘how do I get this? How do you change the narrative? Lecrae told California Black Media.

“Coming back to a community facing marginalization, brutality and the effects of poverty was a reflection – left out of the glittering hills of SoCal.”

Recalling those childhood experiences, Lecrae – who now lives in Atlanta – said he decided to launch an effort to create opportunities for African Americans that would help close the wealth gap between blacks and whites. .

Using his own production company, 3 Strands Films, Lecrae developed a short-lived financial education show called Protect the Bag.

the six-part web series provides viewers with a “blueprint” for financial well-being by exploring topics such as savings, retirement, investing, budgeting and identity protection, according to the rapper who released a new album with fellow artist 1K Phew titled “No Church in a While” on December 3

Lecrae, who won a Grammy for Best Gospel Album in 2012, says he hopes the show will help restore stability and hope to a new generation of black youth.

The concept of Protect the Bag was developed during lockdown related to COVID-19 last year. Meanwhile, Lacrae says he’s partnered with credit rating firm Experian to help 21 families facing foreclosure due to financial hardship.

A series of short round tables includes the Protect the Bag. During each, Lecrae explains the basics of building a financial legacy. In discussions with financial professionals, community members and guests like Denver Nuggets forward Michal Porter Jr, panelists discuss the barriers to wealth creation that many African Americans face. .

At the end of each episode, Lecrae says her goal is to give viewers the knowledge, exposure, and confidence to build better financial habits.

Before knowing that his passion for financial education would become what he called a “New Age Adolescent Summit” (referring to the weekly BET show from the early 1990s that dealt with the issues facing young Afro -Americans), Lecrae says he worked to expose those around him. him to the benefits of good money habits.

A self-proclaimed “maker,” Lecrae explained that at his label, he met artists and organized financial literacy classes exploring purchasing power, disparities in the stock market and the value of the black dollar.

“These are all important pillars of good financial management,” says the artist, who joined other speakers to teach a six-week “pop-up course” at Stanford University.

“One of the difficulties we’ve had in academia is that academics often speak through megaphone backwards. They speak through the wide end. For them, information is easy to grasp when it comes out of the smaller side, ”he says. “How can we turn this megaphone over? How do we take these narrow concepts and make them broader and applicable to all who listen to us? How can we speak the language of the community and make it less complicated than everyone suggests? “

Lecrae also spoke of the many benefits that can be reaped when African Americans decide to invest in their communities.

“It creates a network. Like that old game, Barrel of Monkeys: When someone bends down to give you a hand, the next step is to reach out to help the next person get up, ”he says. “This practice returns funds and resources to the community, which is an essential part of a financially stable economy.”

Lecrae said young people should let go of the mindset that you only live once.

“You can really lose a move in an instant. I think we run after pleasure before happiness. Think about what you want in the long term, as your decisions today can help ensure that your 60-year-old self lives in a liberated and free manner.

New Protect the Bag episodes release weekly on Lecrae’s Youtube channel.