Morgan Wallen Addresses ‘Playful’ Use of Racist Slur Controversy
Morgan Wallen has spoken about the time he was caught on camera using a racial slur and the subsequent events, which led to a surge in his album sales and brought attention to the problem of racial inequality in country music.
According to an interview the singer gave to Good Morning America’s Michael Strahan on Friday, he explained that the video, which showed him using the N-word outside his Nashville home in January, captured what he thought at the time was a “playful” exchange between drunken pals, but he has since realized how ignorance clouded his “wrong” judgment.
Wallen told Strahan, “[I] didn’t mean it in any derogatory manner at all.” He explained that he only used the term among a certain group of friends and was unaware of the potential consequences.
Morgan Wallen Addresses Racist Slur Controversy
Strahan continued by tracing the word’s roots back to slavery in the United States before emphasizing that many Black people hear the word just before being assaulted or killed.
To put it another way, Wallen admitted, “I don’t know how to put myself in their shoes because I’m not,” but he did concede, “I do understand, especially when I say I’m using it playfully or ignorantly, it must sound like [I] don’t understand.”
Since Wallen admitted his ignorance on the topic of racial inequality and division in country music, Strahan pressed him further on the subject. Even though the 28-year-old was suspended from his label before his songs were pulled from the radio, he was barred from attending the 2021 Billboard Music Awards, and he was deemed ineligible for consideration at the 2021 ACM Awards, Strahan later pointed out that Wallen’s 2021 album Dangerous went on to become the most popular album of the year, with 2.108 units moved between January and July according to Billboard.
To make amends for his actions and address a “deeper issue,” Wallen said he spent 30 days in a San Diego rehabilitation center and reached out to several Black-led organizations and individuals, such as the Black Music Action Coalition advocacy group and singer BeBe Winans.
“We tried to calculate the number of how much [my sales] actually spiked from this incident,” he continued. “We got to a number somewhere around $500,000, and we decided to donate that money to some organizations. BMAC was the first one.”
Although Wallen’s sales increased dramatically after the scandal, the event sparked heated debate amongst his competitors. In a February tweet, “Black Like Me” singer Mickey Guyton criticized racism in country music. Guyton is the first Black woman nominated for a Grammy in the Best Country Solo Performance category.
“When I read comments saying ‘this is not who we are, “I laugh because this is exactly who country music is. I’ve witnessed it for 10 gd years,” she wrote. “You guys should read some of the vile comments hurled at me daily. It’s hard to face, but it is the truth.”
.@michaelstrahan: “I’ve been called it…do you understand why it makes Black people so upset?”
— Good Morning America (@GMA) July 23, 2021
She continued, “I question daily why I continue to fight to be in an industry that seems to hate me so much. But then I realized there was a new artist of color, all bright-eyed and excited to be in this industry. These artists might not have the strength to fight for themselves. But I do. And I will be that artist’s warrior as they pursue their dream of singing country music because their dreams are valid too.”
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