Fedel – Growing up in an all black Neighborhood

Feb. 2018

Christian Hip Hop artist Fedel shares his life and ideas on racism and a Christian responsibility in these tense times. He also shares some insight into his latest album, Brave 2.

EOF: Fedel, thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts with us. How are you doing today?

FEDEL: I’m doing great.

So maybe we should just start off with you telling us little bit about your personal history and maybe how white privilege affected you growing up and how it affects you now.

Sure. I actually grew up in a two-parent home but that was a really unhappy home. I always say this about my home; I grew up in a home that I don’t remember a happy day. That really defined me as a person and defined me as an artist. When my parents split when I was a teenager in high school, we actually moved to a predominantly white neighborhood with my mom. I moved with my mom. Thatwas when I experienced what white privilege was on the highest level, because I watched what would happen, how your skin color can remove opportunities. That was the thing that I saw blaring, that my skin color kept me from getting picked to this or that just because the culture I was from wasn’t familiar. I also didn’t know the ropes of the current culture that I was living in. It was new. In the type of home that I grew up in, we were Christian. It was a Christian home. My father was a minister when I was growing up. My mom was a passionate Christian and we were taught that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. We were taught all the things about what God can do for you. It took a while for me to realize that even though I personally believe that we serve a good God and a faithful God, we live in a sinful world and the reality is that things have been put in this world that often make it hard for different groups of people. I had a young lady, the first time I ever remember being called a nigger, and it was in like the fourth grade. I remember just not understanding and being confused, but also realizing that there was something different about me because of the color of my skin.

That’s painful even hearing. As a teen, all you really want to do is blend in and that wasn’t happening. You both had a cultural and a racial difference that you had to adapt to. Were you just set apart or do you think you were persecuted, I guess is the question I’m trying to ask.T

This is the thing I learned. I often tell people this, that when you’re an African-American, one of the best ways to close the gap is through sports and entertainment. Nobody admits that, but the reality is that I was a basketball player for the majority of my life. I love basketball. I have the common dream of a teenager. I wanted to go to the NBA. I was born in Memphis, and when I was in the sixth grade, I was living in one of the worst neighborhoods in Memphis. At that time, Memphis was top three in murders. I was living in one of the most dangerous neighborhoods. So that environment really pushed me toward basketball because my family, who were predominantly from Mississippi, that was the thing they pushed a lot of us young males in the family toward, basketball.


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