In the year 2021, there are apparently white people in America who don’t know they’ll be looked upon badly for using the n-word, and there are apparently Black people still willing to educate them out of their supposed innocence.
Such is the case of country singer Morgan Wallen, someone I was happily unaware of until TMZ on Tuesday shared a video of Wallen calling one of his friends a “pussy ass nigger” while (apparently drunkenly) walking into his Nashville home.
After the video’s release, Wallen apologized for using the “unacceptable and inappropriate racial slur” and said that he will do better in the future. Now the Nashville Branch of the NAACP and even gospel singer BeBe Winans have apparently stepped forward to help the 27-year-old Tennessean on his path to learning about why using racist language is bad.
“We invite him to come and have that conversation with us, the NAACP, as to why that word is so hurtful,” president of the Nashville chapter of the NAACP, Sheryl Guinn, told WSMV News. “Even when you look at the other words that were spoken [in the video] that one has a certain venom to it that the words just don’t have.”
Doesn’t the additional venom Wallen is said to have put behind the n-word undermine the whole idea that he needs to be taught why that word is specifically hurtful?
I’m just wondering.
But maybe some spiritual advice, also from a Black person, will be just the thing to pull Wallen out of his well-honed ignorance.
According to Deadline, the music rights organization BMI says they have asked gospel singer BeBe Winans to help Wallen understand the gravity and impact of his words.
“Our hope is that BeBe’s outreach can help Morgan become a more inclusive and empathetic person,” BMI said in a statement.
Though I’m sure BMI considers this move a race-forward approach, I can’t help but view it as a step backward for an older Black man to be called in to counsel a rich white man on why dropping the n-word is problematic.
The Root has reached out to Winans’ team to find out what he thinks an outreach to Wallen will accomplish and whether the country singer has even responded to offer.
Wallen was last caught in a PR snafu when he was pulled from a planned Saturday Night Live appearance in October after video hit the internet of him partying in a crowded bar with apparently no consideration for the risks of the COVID-19 pandemic.
His music label Big Loud Records suspended his contract this week after the video of him using the n-word surfaced, and country music stations have pulled his music from their airwaves and playlists. Still, Rolling Stone reports that Wallen’s digital record sales have skyrocketed—confirming what anyone could have predicted. A white guy can use the n-word and go on to be completely fine in America, with or without Black people willing to help repair his image.