The Reconciliation Conversation
Derrick DeLain & Jason Dukes
with special guest Reconcile
September 16th, 2020
INTRO | Derrick DeLain
BIO info for RECONCILE
aka Ronnie Lillard is from Fort Myers, FL. He was abandoned by his mom, left to be raised by his dad. Football unfulfilling, rebellion gone empty, and the loss of his grandfather led him to a season of awakening. Jesus used Pastor David Estrada to offer Ronnie a life-altering opportunity. Being mentored and serving in his community led him back to football, which afforded him the chance to get an education at Rice University in Houston, TX. There, he moved into the 3rd Ward and started mentoring inner-city kids. He graduated from Rice with a degree in Religious Studies, Philosophy, and Sociology. Around that same time, he launched into hip hop, going agains the stream with raw, unapologetic, meaningful music, which has been chart-topping on multiple platforms. He serves in his native Miami as an inner-city mentor, an outspoken activist for prison reform, and an advocate for juvenile justice and recidivism on the Miami Circuit Advisory Board. Reconcile is a father of five of his own children and a spiritual father to lots of other children, as he champions the forgotten while living close enough for them to taste and see the hope he found with Jesus.
STORY FROM HIS WEBSITE:
He was born bound within the gritty landscape of chalked lines. In the middle of his childhood, he suffered his first loss when he was abandoned by his mother and left to be raised by his father in Fort Myers better known as “Little Pakistan.” Despair and poverty were bedfellows and gun shots were more frequent than thunderstorms. Prior to becoming a teen, the message was resoundingly clear. The soundtrack to his life then was “murder rap”, Ronnie survived the culture. Unshaken by the harsh realities, of which he inherited, he succumbed to his surroundings: depleted resources, constant trauma, family disfunction, incarceration, violence, dreads, gold teeth, drugs and firearms. South Florida.
Seventeen years his senior, Ronnie’s dad believed that the only outlet to overcome poverty was for his son to pursue football. This was plan A thru Z. Fueled by his own curriculum of delinquency this behavior was in direct conflict with his father’s wish to stay focused and see the dream to its end. Unwilling to concede, at 15, fistfights ensued and Ronnie found himself homeless in the middle of the night. Now free from his father’s roof and expectations, he used his freedom to catapult himself into the nightmare his father tried to avoid. Inasmuch as his grandfather tried to provide him guidance, he let his inner voids guide him and soon found himself truly by himself. The death of his grandfather began the process of his awakening. Like most who lose someone they love, in the immediacy of pain he had immature words with God. Although the loss gave him pause, an unexpected encounter with Jesus had the greatest impact upon his life.
Having been court ordered community service while on probation, he sought for an opportunity to fulfill his obligation. At a church in his neighborhood, where he had frequented during the late hours of the night to play basketball on a double rim with half of a backboard. It was there that he met Pastor David Estrada. Estrada was willing to give him the hours that he needed for the exchange of attending bible study and doing odd jobs around the church. Which proved to be just an opportunity for Estrada to impart on Ronnie mentorship and guidance. In the time shared, Ronnie was most struck by the cross of Jesus Christ. It inspired him to want to change his lifestyle and develop a deeper connection spiritually. Although he felt an immediate need for a change, his surroundings had not. The process to redirect his energy into getting out of his circumstances was not met without struggle.
He faced his demons, reflected upon his wrongs and began to do what was right. His renewed sense of focus and determination got him an athletic scholarship to Rice University. There he played football and began his entrance into hip hop as a DJ doing events at Texas Southern and University of Houston. Although he managed to turn his life around, by overcoming the trappings of an ingrained mindset, he understands the importance of helping others who are just as lost as he was. Despite being removed from Fort Myers he identified with the poverty and hopelessness that he saw first hand in Houston as well as his own life. Unlike those who attain success and remove themselves from the depths of which they came, he did the opposite. Compelled to do something, he moved into the 3rd Ward and began working with juveniles in Harris County as a mentor. He immersed himself in the daily struggle of the youth.
Encouraged by his passion for his people and the love of music, under the moniker of Reconcile he began crafting a message for his generation. Digging into the recesses of a hardened heart and calloused hands he projected his pain with honesty and energy. Truth resonated and the images that he captured of his hood while telling his story over a frenetic beat caught fire. Reconcile represents a void for hip hop. Raw. Unapologetic. Meaningful music. Reconcile’s words champion the forgotten and serves as the rhythm hidden in the pulse of those getting by on hope. Despite how heavy the cross to bear, Reconcile is willing to carry the weight until minds are set free. One soul at a time. Reconcile states “As I began seeking a real relationship with the Lord my life changed and the value of everything else in my life began to decrease as my desire and passion to know Jesus intimately and follow him grew. The gospel of Christ brought perspective and hope out of the pain I had endured. I wanted to go and tell people about the one who has redeemed me, I wanted to share this hope with those who are from broken homes, trailer parks, and the projects… that Jesus can save them too.”
Reconcile, now holds a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies, Philosophy, and Sociology from Rice University. Reconcile is a husband and father, and as of today he and his family live in inner city Miami, FL where he has committed his time to community renewal, social justice and youth mentoring. Reconcile released a free project entitled Abandoned Hope, on March 23, 2012 while Reconcile was still a senior in college. The project received over 45K downloads and garnered the attention of producer Street Symphony. On May 20, 2014 Reconcile released his first album entitledSacrifice. Sacrifice charted #3 on iTunes Hip Hop and debuted on the Billboard charts, landing placement on the Top Rap Albums at No. 20.
Reconcile’s latest EP CATCHING BODIES debuted #30 on the Billboard Christian charts. The Miami native not only challenges our views on faith and race in America but he also is an advocate for juvenile justice and serves on the Miami Circuit Advisory Board in attempts to curve juvenile recidivism and violence. Reconcile’s “Streets Don’t Love You” delivers a piercing yet hopeful view of the ongoing inner city epidemic of America. With sobering and honest lyrics that point towards a consistent theme of a dependence of Jesus. Reconcile both affirms and challenges all of us. The mixtape that has been deemed an instant classic by his constituents debuted #12 on iTunes hip-hop charts and continues to make waves, now followed by the much anticipated releases of “Streets Don’t Love You 2” and 3.
QUESTION 1 | Derrick DeLain
You’re a black dad of 5 black kids, 3 of them boys. What scares you about them growing up in America? And at the same time, what gives you hope?
QUESTION 2 | Jason Dukes
In your song “Woke,” you rap these words:
“A tweet don't mean you won't post on me.
You won’t get out here and be a mentor!
Put your phone down and raise your kid.
Be accountable, keep us accountable.
Change how we see each other.
You got the power to end the hate.
You got the power to kill the rumor.
You got the power to make a change.”
One, who is the “you” in those lyrics? Two, what message do you most want people with my skin color to hear right now?
QUESTION 3 | Derrick DeLain
Talk about your season of awakening. What re-imagined narrative did you have to believe and hold fast to in order not to succumb to the constant inner-city trauma and the murder rap narrative of your teens?
QUESTION 4 | Jason Dukes
You recently released “Streets Don’t Love You,” both 1 and 2. Explain for our listeners what you’re trying to convey through those songs, AND, if you’re willing, please, rap for us an excerpt from “STREETS AIN’T GOT NO LOVE.”
QUESTION 5 | Derrick DeLain
Prison reform. It’s a long road ahead. What has to change in the first few steps in order to get there?
QUESTION 6 | Jason Dukes
Some of our listeners are taking a new step and some a next step. What simple suggestions do you offer them if they hope to see a re-imagined American future with reconciliation and oneness?
OUTRO | Derrick DeLain
— Socials for Reconcile
::WHEN DOES THE FULL ALBUM OF “STREETS DON’T LOVE YOU 3” RELEASE?
— Socials for The Reconciliation Conversation
*Thank you for subscribing on YouTube and the podcast and for following on social media. Please review us wherever you listen to podcasts, as this can help others find us who are also seeking to join the conversation!