Beacon Light, born Brandon Clahassey, grew up in Grand Rapids, MI with his mom, dad, and younger sister. In elementary school, Beacon became a student at an Urban Christian School called The Potter’s House. There, he developed a love for Hip Hop music, basketball, creative writing, and cultural diversity. He was an energetic, happy kid with a quick sense of humor.
Then one summer in third grade, Beacon was sexually abused. He started using his humor as a mask, and although it fooled others, it didn’t heal his pain. The abuse continued on and off for five years and left Beacon feeling ugly and worthless. Because of his overwhelming shame — often experienced by victims of abuse — he never sought to tell anybody, not even his parents. “I know abuse is a subject that people don’t like to talk about,” says Beacon. “But when it is ignored, it usually just gets worse.”
In fifth grade the children’s choir from his church gave Beacon the honor of rapping Sister Acts’ Remix of “Joyful, Joyful” during their Christmas service. But regardless of his accomplishments, Beacon still felt broken. And by the time he was in high school, Beacon’s parents were headed toward divorce. He continued to wear his mask, pretending that everything was okay. He filled his time playing sports and partying; anything to get away from reality. As a college student, he began to gamble frequently. From substance abuse, to sex, to gambling, he was chasing a temporary high that left him more empty than when he started. “Imagine you were shot with a round of bullets, but instead of being rushed to the Emergency Room, you just put some Band-aids over the holes, put on your nicest clothes, and then went to a party,” says Beacon. “That’s what I was doing, walking around with spiritual bullet wounds but acting like I was okay.”
As Beacon grew older, music was became an outlet for his frustration and pride. “I used to freestyle battle a lot,” says Beacon, “I loved walking into parties, drawing a crowd, and battling whoever thought they could rap. It made me feel like I was in control of my life, like I couldn’t be stopped.” Beacon adds, “But on the inside, I still felt trapped, depressed, and worthless. If I wasn’t high, drunk, or surrounded by people, I felt alone.”
Then, halfway through his sophomore year in college, Beacon cried out to God. His most profound experience was in a Christian men’s group with several trusted adults he had known for years. “Experiencing God is ten times better than any drug, drink, or sexual experience,” says Beacon Light. “Those are all short-lived pleasures. But God is forever.”
From the moment Beacon cried out to God he felt Him working in his life to change, and heal, his heart. He decided to go to Grace Bible College. After deciding to major in Biblical studies (B.S. 2009), Beacon was introduced to Lecrae’s music and realized that his own musical and writing gifts could be used to lead people to the healing found in Christ. In addition to writing he went on to win a National Basketball Championship with his teammates at Grace. He was chosen as an Honorable Mention All-American for his hard work on the court and godly character.
In 2007, he began writing, recording, and performing songs. His goal was and still is to bring people to the light of Christ. He notes, “Popular culture constantly tells young people that material possessions, drinking, and sex, are the way to happiness. But they only temporarily numb the pain. Life with Christ is incomparable; nowhere else can you find true love, peace, comfort and strength.”
In 2011 Beacon married his beautiful wife and they have recently added a wonderful baby girl to their family. “My life is a picture of God’s redemption,” Beacon states. “My life is blessed because of Him.”