Thomas Rhett Opens Up About Racism & His Adopted Daughter

It has been one week since 46-year-old George Floyd was killed by a police officer in Minneapolis, a tragic death that has ignited a powder keg of conversation about race relations globally. On Sunday, country singer Thomas Rhett joined that dialogue, speaking out about the tragic death and pouring his heart out about racism he’s witnessed toward his adopted daughter, 4-year-old Willa Gray, and some of his bandmates.

Taking to Instagram, Rhett posted a photo of a handwritten line of scripture, Romans 12:9: “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil. Cling to what is good.” He then used his caption to clarify his thoughts, vulnerably revealing how his family has experienced racism since he and wife Lauren Akins adopted Willa from Uganda in 2017. “As a father of a black daughter and also two white daughters, I have struggled with what to say today. We have navigated forms of racism directly and while there is mostly overwhelming support and love for our family, sometimes there is just the opposite,” he shared. “Because of that fear, it can be a lot easier to choose silence, but today I’m choosing to speak.”

Rhett also explained that he’s seen racism firsthand on the road. “I have witnessed my black band and crew members on the road struggle at times with feeling safe because of the color of their skin,” he said, underscoring, “This is unacceptable.”

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As the father of a black daughter and also two white daughters- I have struggled with what to say today. We have navigated forms of racism directly and while there is mostly overwhelming support and love for our family, sometimes there is just the opposite. Because of that fear, it can be a lot easier to choose silence, but today I’m choosing to speak. I have no clue what it feels like to be profiled by authorities, treated negatively or have my life threatened because of the color of my skin. When I witnessed the horrific murder of George and think about the mistreatment of other black men and women in America, I am heartbroken and angry. I get scared when I think about my daughters and what kind of world they will be growing up in and how my JOB as a father is to show them how to lead with love in the face of hate. To know their worth and value as not only women but human beings. I have witnessed my black band and crew members on the road struggle at times with feeling safe because of the color of their skin. This is unacceptable. I don’t believe in hate. I believe in love. What happened to George was pure hate. We are all created by the same God. I pray for a change in heart of those hearts who have been overcome by hatred and hardened. I pray for a deeper understanding for myself and awareness of the experience of mistreatment that those of another skin color go through. I pray for the families of those who have lost their lives to violence or experienced trauma at the hand of racial oppression and injustice. What can we do? I ask myself this question everyday. We each have to be part of the solution and we have to continue to educate ourselves, continue to support both financially and with service those organizations doing good work in our communities to overcome injustice and hatred in our country. And if you’re like me, continue to pray. So if there is any question on where I stand let me be clear- I stand with you, I stand with George and his family and all those who have faced racism. I stand with my wife and my daughters. We will be fighting this fight for the rest of our lives. Rest In Peace, George. We are not letting this go.

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However, the country singer wasn’t trying to co-opt anyone’s pain or claim to understand what it means to be black in America. In fact, he says he’s acutely aware that he can’t. “I have no clue what it feels like to be profiled by authorities, treated negatively or have my life threatened because of the color of my skin,” he wrote. “When I witnessed the horrific murder of George and think about the mistreatment of other black men and women in America, I am heartbroken and angry.”

Going on to describe what happened to Floyd as “pure hate,” Rhett says that he leans on his faith in times like this, saying, “I pray for a change in heart of those hearts who have been overcome by hatred and hardened. I pray for a deeper understanding of myself and awareness of the experience of mistreatment that those of another skin color go through. I pray for the families of those who have lost their lives to violence or experienced trauma at the hand of racial oppression and injustice.”

While Rhett admittedly doesn’t have the answers, he does have ideas. “We have to be a part of the solution and we have to continue to educate ourselves, continue to support both financially and with service those organizations doing good work in our communities to overcome injustice and hatred in our country. And if you’re like me, continue to pray,” he said.

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movie night with my besties 💕🌈💗

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Understandably, Rhett gets overwhelmed thinking about the future for his family. He wrote, “I get scared when I think about my daughters and what kind of world they will be growing up in and how my JOB as a father is to show them how to lead with love in the face of hate. To know their worth and value as not only women but human beings.”

Ultimately, though, teaching his daughters to lead with love in the face of hate means taking a stand. “So if there is any question on where I stand, let me be clear,” he ended his post. “I stand with you, I stand with George and his family and all those who have faced racism. I stand with my wife and my daughters. We will be fighting this fight for the rest of our lives.”

Before you go, see other stories of celebrities who’ve adopted. 






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