Lecrae and Trip Lee opened up about their decision to part professionally with Gawvi after their fellow Christian artist was accused of sending unsolicited explicit photos to women while he was still married.
“When women come to our concerts or interact with us we want them to be encouraged and blessed, not taken advantage of,” Lee told Relevant Magazine. “There’s absolutely no excuse for that, and it grieves me to think anyone has had a different experience.”
“We want to raise the bar on how women are treated and valued in hip hop, not lower it,” he continued. “I think that’s one of the things we’ve been called to. And there’s no room for anything else.”
Lecrae told the outlet that it had been a “challenging couple days,” adding: “It’s been a rollercoaster of emotions.”
“It’s a lot to process,” he said. “You’ve got to process everything, you’ve got to make decisions in the midst of it all. So it’s been rough.
Last week, Reach Records, co-founded by Lecrae, announced that it ended its professional relationship with Gawvi due to his “behavior.”
Gawvi was gearing up to head out on the “We Are Unashamed Tour” with his label mates Lecrae, Andy Mineo, Trip Lee, Tedashii, 1K Phew, Wande, WHATUPRG and Hulvey, but the statement revealed that he is no longer participating.
“Due to behavior that is inconsistent with our core values, we have ended our professional relationship with GAWVI,” Reach Records said in a statement to The Christian Post.
In January, Gawvi revealed that his marriage to his wife, Brianna Azucena, ended in 2020 after nearly six years. The couple has two small children together.
“We did everything we could to make it work for years, but after seeking the support of friends, family and counseling, I came to an extremely hard decision to move forward in a direction that I felt would be healthiest,” a screenshot of his now-deleted post reads.
“There is no scandal to gossip about, just 2 adults that made decisions that lead to this point. And if you know me, you know I hate divorce and I’m not here to promote it,” he wrote.
Visual artist and designer Cataphant rook Twitter to defend Azucena, claiming that Gawvi sent explicit photos to several women throughout the couple's marriage.
In its announcement, Reach Records said parting ways with the Latin artist was a tough decision for them. They cited both the complexity of the issue and how deeply they invest in the lives of their artists.
The label had been “processing” the decision for “over a year and have wrestled with what would be the right way forward.” After Gawvi went public with his divorce, the label said new details came to light that made them realize the decision was “necessary.”
“I’ve known Gawvi since he was a teenager, so when he brings us information about him getting a divorce, that’s something that we needed to process, that we needed to just figure out, ‘Well, wait, what’s going on and how can we walk with you through this?’” Lecrae told Relevant Magazine.
“Then just him struggling in his marriage and him just not in a healthy space. That’s what we knew about was his own personal, spiritual, emotional health and his own marriage being struggling. And that was all we knew.”
The emcees at the label represent Romans 1:16, which says: “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes.”
The group, who call themselves the “116 clique,” said the accusations surrounding Gawvi do not align with their beliefs.
Despite his troubles, Reach Records released Gawvi’s latest album, Noche Juvenil, in 2021.
The label head said they had been trying to get Gawvi to be “transparent with us as far as what was going on.” They were hoping to walk through issues with him.
“Basically, it was a lot of character deficiencies that we had seen over the last year,” Lecrae was quoted as saying. “So for us, it was, ‘Man, what’s going on, and how do we process this?’ But of course, when everything else popped up, it was kind of like … I mean, we had already stopped putting out his music and stopped doing stuff because we were just trying to process the character deficiencies, but this was the hammer that drove the nail in.”
Although the label has parted ways with Gawvi, Lecrae and Lee still desire to maintain a friendship with the artist and help him navigate this season of life.
“Restoration is only as powerful as you’re transparent and humble to allow it to have its effect on you, to allow the Lord to work on you and transform you in repentance and in humility. And so, obviously, my prayer is always for people to seek the Lord in humility and allow him to do the work in us. We’re all equally far from God. It’s not anything that we can do to make us right with God, it’s what He does,” Lecrae added.
“So I think in a situation like this, man, all I can ask for is a humble heart and a desire to submit to what God would do in him. I’ve worked in prison systems where people have taken the lives of their own family members, you know what I mean? But God saw fit to work in their hearts and transform them, and now they are doing amazing things in the lives of other people. To me, that’s a picture of restoration, where God can use [broken people]. … I mean, that’s all He does. He uses broken people to paint a picture of His goodness and His grace, so that’s all I can hope for.”
As a “friend and brother, and as a pastor,” Lee says he still wonders if he “could have done more” to help Gawvi.
“[One] of the takeaways for me is to keep checking in on my brothers as much as I can, to keep asking hard questions of my brothers and sisters as much as I can because, really, we need each other. We need each other,” Lee said. “We can only do as much as we can do, but I definitely want to do as much as I can because I need people checking in on me as much as possible and then I want to do the same.”
Jeannie Ortega Law is a reporter for The Christian Post. Reach her at: firstname.lastname@example.org She's also the author of the book, What Is Happening to Me? How to Defeat Your Unseen Enemy Follow her on Twitter: @jlawcp Facebook: JeannieOMusic