Trevor Noah always has something interesting to say on current events, and now he’s making news for defending recent The Daily Show guest India.Arie.
According to Deadline, the host is upset about the clickbait response to Arie’s appearance on the show, where he and the singer discussed the Joe Rogan N-word controversy, and Arie’s decision to pull her music from Spotify. In a truly fascinating conversation, they talked for over 30 minutes about the Rogan controversy, how his fans have attacked her and the fact that Spotify doesn’t pay artists as much as other streaming services.
During the interview, Noah made a point of saying that the “Brown Skin” singer is not enemies with Rogan, but many outlets instantly picked up the moment where she called him “consciously racist.” She pointed out that he obviously knew the N-word was wrong, but wanted the attention and controversy the word would bring to his show. Rogan knows who his audience is, and he knows what their reaction will be.
“I think he was saying it because it got a rise out of people,” Arie said. “That’s why he would say it. He knew that it was inappropriate, and I think the fact that he did it repeatedly and was conscious and knew, I think that is being racist.”
Of course, “Joe Rogan is consciously racist” is the only part of the discussion the media heard, when that was a very small part of a much bigger conversation.
Noah responded to a Mediaite tweet with the inflammatory headline “.@IndiaArie Calls Joe Rogan’s Repeated Use of the ‘N-Word’ ‘Consciously Racist’ on @TheDailyShow: ‘He Knew it Was Inappropriate’.”
Clearly, this leaves out the message of understanding she was trying to get across, but I guess that doesn’t matter as long as you get numbers. Arie has never once been the outraged “angry Black woman” some of these sites so desperately want her to be, but why let the truth get in the way of a tried and true racist narrative?
Noah took issue with the clickbait response to the discussion, tweeting “WTF??? She also said she doesn’t hate Joe Rogan. She also said we need a path to redemption. She also said it’s a complex issue. Stop using clickbait to make people angrier and hate each other. Her comments have nuance and your tweet robs her of that!”
The singer also stated that she was being harassed online by Rogan’s fans. She and Trevor marveled at the confusion of people calling them the N-word, while being upset at them for criticizing Rogan.
“If you want to really lead your listeners down a new path, then lead them to the point where they don’t feel that is the right language to come in my DMs and call me an N-word,” Arie said.
The whole situation has been made unnecessarily messy by the media painting this as a fight between two people. I don’t remember the same amount of vitriol being thrown at Neil Young or Joni Mitchell when they pulled their music from the streaming service. But whenever a Black woman takes a stand, it’s always the end of the world. We don’t get to have opinions on things, because the world says Black women are too emotional and irrational to have clear thoughts on what’s right and wrong. Of course, we’re usually the only ones thinking clearly, because we don’t have the luxury of flying off the handle every time we’re offended, but again, don’t let the truth get in the way.
I’ve never listened to Joe Rogan, and frankly, I never will. However, I will follow India.Arie’s music wherever it goes.