LL Cool J and Brad Paisley made headlines this week with their new song, “Accidental Racist.” Paisley was on “The Tonight Show” Wednesday (April 10) to talk about it and then on Thursday it was LL’s turn, where he wanted to clarify his intentions.
“There’s a lyric in the song where I say, ‘If you don’t judge my ‘do-rag, I won’t judge your red flag.’ I in no way would ever compare the history of the confederate flag — when you think about the rapes, the tortures, the murders, the lynching, all the things associated with the confederate flag — with a ‘do-rag,” says LL.
“However. When you think about a kid like Trayvon Martin and you think about some of the things that happen in society based on clothing, when you put it in its proper context, it makes sense,” he continues. “I would never, ever, ever suggest to anyone that we should just forget slavery and act like that didn’t happen. I understand the systemic racism that exists, I get that.”
“But you know what? If the playing field is unlevel and you feel it’s unfair, then maybe putting down some of that baggage will help you make it up that hill a little easier,” he says.
He also echoes Paisley’s sentiment that hopefully the song sparks discussions about race.
“The intention was to put something out there that causes people to have a converstion. The fact that we’re having so many conversations about this song is proof that this song did its job. People are talking about it. That elephant in the room needs to be discussed.”
“Some thought I was demonizing the clothing, or just saying forget slavery … I’m not saying that. But what I’m saying is if we’re gonna come together as a country, at some point we gotta realize that for some of us, we’re like in a bad marriage … nobody’s talking. That’s not gonna help our country.”
“If a guy like Brad Paisley and LL Cool J can come together and have a conversation, then that can happen in D.C.,” says LL. “We have to find a common ground. If I want to get along with someone who I don’t understand, I can’t walk into their living room with a baseball bat and start smashing the furniture and telling them what they owe me. And they can’t sit down and do the same to me. We have to communicate. You have to connect with people.”
Leno asks him if he was shocked about the backlash over the song, which LL says was not surprising.
” I wasn’t shocked. I’m actually pleased that the dialog is happening … art is subjective. People chose what they want to see and hear … as long as people are having a covnersation, then the art has done its job. America, as a whole, we need to come together. We need to be connecting with each other and becoming closer as human beings and loving one another.”