Country singer Thomas Rhett wants his daughter Willa Gray to “embrace” her culture and heritage.
Rhett, who recently won ACM Entertainer of the Year, and his wife Lauren Akins adopted Willa from Uganda in 2017. Since then, Rhett said the two tried to “educate” the four year old on her native country.
“[It’s] something that we talk about really openly,” Rhett told Entertainment Tonight. The two spoke with Willa about why she “looks a lot different” than her younger siblings.
“[The] main thing we want to get across is how proud we are and that we want her to grow up proud of herself and of her family, he said. “To embrace who you are and to embrace your uniqueness and embrace your culture as well.”
Rhett praised his daughter as “one of the smartest [people] that I’ve ever met”. The country singer said Willa’s teachers also recognize how intuitive the girl is.
Thomas Rhett promised to fight racial injustice for his daughter.
In an interview with ET, Rhett said watching the news has been difficult for his family. He said he’s aware of the racial injustice and police misconduct in the country. In May, Rhett and his wife pledged to help fight racial injustice for their daughter. Akins also opened up about being a white mother to a black daughter and the public perception.
“I believe that shaming comes from people who choose to see only my white skin and her brown skin. And refuse to see our hearts and love for each other,” Akins wrote in an Instagram post. She promised to stand up for her daughter. “I am HER mother who stands up not only for her. But for every single person who shares her beautiful brown skin. I want to be her mother who raises her to know what it means to have brown skin and to be proud of it.”
In their household, Rhett said the couple teaches kindness to Willa and her siblings Lennon Love and Ada James.
“We just try to preach to our kids to shine your light everywhere you go and realize that the world is cruel. But that doesn’t mean that you have to be,” he said. “We’re still dealing with it just like everybody else. And we’re still trying to ask the right questions and educate ourselves as well.”