Thomas Rhett Says He Strives to 'Educate' Daughter Willa Gray, 4½, to 'Embrace' Her 'Culture'

When it comes to teaching his daughter to explore and appreciate who she is in every way, Thomas Rhett is an open book.

In a recent conversation with Entertainment Tonight, the newly crowned ACM Awards entertainer of the year said that he and wife Lauren Akins strive to "educate" their 4½-year-old daughter Willa Gray, whom they adopted from Uganda in 2017, to "embrace" who she is.

"[It's] something that we talk about really openly," explained Thomas Rhett, 30, of the conversations they have at home surrounding that fact that their oldest child has noticed her family "looks a lot different" than many others.

"I think me and Lauren's 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 … and to embrace who you are and to embrace your uniqueness and embrace your culture as well," added the "Marry Me" crooner.

"That's something we want to educate her on as long as she's still in our household and even beyond that," he said.

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It’s on now?

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The Sweet Message Behind Thomas Rhett's Bedtime Photo with Daughter Willa Gray, 3

Thomas Rhett also couldn't help but rave about his oldest child's intelligence, calling Willa Gray "one of the smartest that I've ever met."

"She is so smart," he said. "Even when she comes from school … the main thing [her teachers are] saying is how intuitive she is and how much she recognizes at a young age."

The country singer told ET that "it's hard to watch the news" considering what is currently transpiring in terms of racial injustice and police brutality, but at home, he and Lauren, 30, focus on teaching kindness to Willa Gray and her little sisters: Lennon Love, 7 months, and Ada James, 3.

"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."

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three little besties in a teepee ???

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In a pair of moving posts this past May, Thomas Rhett and his wife reflected on fighting against racial injustice in the wake of George Floyd's death, and how not doing so would feel like a betrayal to their daughter. Addressing her experience being a white mother to a Black child, Lauren wrote that she had been "nervous" to open up "because of how some people believe that I as a white mother am undeserving or incapable of raising a Black daughter."

"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," the mother of three continued, alongside a hand-written Bible verse about standing against evil.

Although Lauren went on to share that she had anxiety about speaking from the heart, she said the fear was outweighed by her need to make it clear to her daughter Willa Gray "that 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. I want to be her mother who doesn’t listen to the shaming of skin colors but instead listens to the Spirit of God who knitted every skin color together in their mother's womb for His glory," she continued. "Because the truth is: I AM HER mother who FIGHTS for her. I am her mother who celebrates not only WHO she and her two sisters are, but WHOSE they are and exactly who God created them to be."

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