Rapper, ministry leader, and philanthropist Legin is no stranger to making a difference in his community. For years now, he has worked tirelessly to draw and raise funds for many causes.
One of his biggest efforts is with the Safe House Project that helps bring awareness to sex-trafficked women and girls first in South Africa and then the U.S. That then led to the OnWatch training program that helps everyday people recognize victims.
Now, his focus has shifted to mental health and how we can save people from depression, suicide, and the struggles of living in this chaotic world.
We spoke to Legin, who is preparing to host part one of a concert series called “GOOD ENUF” on March 16th.
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What sparked the idea of the GOOD ENUF initiative?
Two things did it for me. My own journey in counseling began shortly before COVID lockdowns. I went to deal with the childhood trauma of my father’s abandonment, and with my calendar being less busy I had to basically “sit still and heal.”
I found it to be massively helpful. In addition, near the end of the year, as I was working on my first virtual concert, I asked my booking agency who was still trying to book artists. They said they were still getting calls from college campuses who were desperate to get speakers/artists to reach their students due to the depression and suicide attempts. That made me think that perhaps my virtual concert series should focus on getting people the Gospel and getting them counseling and that maybe I should share my story to do it.
Mental health is often stigmatized in the church and not spoken about. You’re a pastor who’s going all-in on the topic. How’s that been for your church and even you as someone in ministry?
While I’m not “officially” a pastor, I do help lead at my church and speak regularly so people see me that way. The cool thing for me is I’m only in counseling because my church encourages it. We have a fund set up to help people get started or to afford it if they can’t. That’s how I started going personally after realizing I needed to.
As far as stigmas, I’ve always heard/experienced the stigma of people getting counseling, in church or not. I thought it was a tougher stigma in the Black community. However, I serve at a predominantly white church. I stood up one Sunday and I was preaching and told CrossRoads I was going to start counseling, and they cheered and applauded.
What shocked me was the more I talked about it, the more people came up to me after church and thanked me for my bravery, saying they felt like maybe it’s ok to go if I do, or they didn’t know if it was an option. I found the stigma to be shared in many respects, and while they do exist with their own nuances in different communities for sure, maybe in some ways it’s just a numbers game to how many white people get counseling versus black because there are more white people, in general, to even consider it.
As far as churches I know, there seems to be an openness to it. There is a bad idea that your theology and getting counseling compete, but it doesn’t seem like this is accepted consciously, only subconsciously. If we keep beating this drum, more people will get the help they need I think. It’s about intentionality I believe.
Why did you think a live virtual concert was the way to go about this and what are you doing to make this event special?
When we planned it, we didn’t know what was ahead with COVID, vaccinations, etc., so we planned a four-part series for all 2021. That’s still the plan, because even if and when live shows return, we can still reach anyone, anywhere, if we keep this up with excellence, and the brand will only grow and our execution will get even better.
We can reach someone on their phone, TV, or tablet without limits, so we’ll keep that up. But what makes the event most special in addition to the production, live band, editing, etc., is the fact that my actual counselor joins me on stage. And we relive my first session, very honestly and transparently. The hope is to show someone what counseling can actually be like, and make it an option for them.
Then at the end, we’re going to invite people to click a link and we’re going to do our best to connect them to a counselor. We’re raising money to help people afford it if they can’t or don’t have insurance. And we’re going to keep growing those relationships and funds to make counseling more available to people we reach who need it.
How did you get together with trained mental health professionals to get this project moving?
I started asking my personal counselor how to do this, as well as other counselors in my personal circle and they began to generate ideas and relationships and it kept growing. One phone and Zoom meeting at a time. We secured a national relationship that can make counseling available in any state as well, and we’re looking for more depending on the needs of the person who reaches out. We’re starting with what God has given us access to and we want to be found faithful with that. We’ll get more relationships and resources. I’m looking most forward to the stories of what God does, the things He’ll surprise us with. He always does that. I have no idea what He’ll do in the big scheme of things, and I’m excited about that.
Between this, Safe House, OnWatch, what is it about you that rallies around these grand impactful causes?
That’s a humbling question. My wife and I are noticing a rhythm where every few years, like two or so, something new gets pressed on us real heavy and God seems to give us some grand idea. Contrary to random “grand” ideas where you bring it up and it’s so big it’s crazy that everyone around you is hesitant, when “these” ideas pop up that are almost insane, everyone around is like “Yeah sure, let’s do it!”
It makes no sense because it’s crazy and huge. But I also get very laser-focused, and I notice that everybody around me is on the same page and nobody sees how in sync they are until I bring it up and point it out (or Tia does). That’s when I pay lots of attention. For me, that’s Proverbs 15:22, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers, they succeed.” I’m learning I’m good at starting movements and selling a vision, and that I’ve got to get administrators around me quick to “capture the vision.” I’m learning my strengths and weaknesses very well.
Do you have any mental health statistics to push forward that we as a people have an issue?
This article I found in the Daily Signal scared me a lot as it relates to young adults:
“The rise in suicide cases, though, was most pronounced among the nation’s youths. While 11% of respondents to the CDC survey had “seriously considered” suicide in the past month, that same figure jumps to 25% for people aged 18 to 24—a deeply worrisome statistic to health officials across the country.”
“According to CDC data, suicide is the second-leading cause of death among young people aged 10 to 24. The effects of isolation are heightening this trend.”
All of my counselor connections and friends unanimously speak to the rise of mental health issues among youth and young adults. One day as I was promoting GOOD ENUF, almost every person I called had two personal stories of suicide attempts close to them by youth or acquaintances. It’s mind-blowing.
Safe House Project had a musical accompaniment, will GOOD ENUF as well?
Yes, GOOD ENUF is primarily a virtual concert series to spread the message to Trust God and Get Counseling. It’s mainly directed and edited by Will Thomas There’s a forthcoming EP by the same name primarily produced by Cardec Drums, and Will and I are thinking through visuals for that too.
What else if anything do you have in the works either related or unrelated to this current initiative?
I’m working on a lot of singles but most of those will probably end up on the GOOD ENUF EP (or it may be multiple projects). Other than that, I’m writing more music, freestyles for more content/random drops, promoting my merch line better, and writing sermons and speaking. I’m also working really heavily in my community with pastors to discuss issues of racial justice and the Gospel because a lot of pastors on all sides of the topic have a difficult time crossing the divide and dialoguing about it.
My pastor Kevin and I created the Hampton Roads City Collective to help Educate, Engage and Equip faith leaders for the work of reconciliation. We led a march after George Floyd that had over 100 very diverse churches and 5,000 people present, which was a dream come true to see the Church stand high on such a divisive issue. So I’m working there too.
More important to all of this stuff, my daughter is going into 6th grade and my son is heading to third…they’re cooking, playing sports, creating stuff, making beats, learning things…I can’t keep up. My wife and I are celebrating 15 years of marriage this summer. If any of the above items get in the way of any of that, I’ll quit it that day. That’s my most important initiative. And counseling is helping me with that.
Get your tickets to GOOD ENUFF right here.