The song “Accidental Racist,” a bizarre collaboration between country star Brad Paisley and rap legend LL Cool J has been very negatively received upon its release — in part due to some themes race relations that indeed come off as quite racist, and perhaps not entirely accidentally.
It does seem that Paisley is earnest about “Accidental Racist,” which is to say that he really wasn’t trying to be the jerk he may come off as when you listen to the track. Paisley gave a lengthy statement to Entertainment Weekly about the song and controversy, and as offensive as a complaint about hassle for wearing a Confederate flag shirt may seem, the country singer genuinely doesn’t seem to grasp why.
Paisley says “Accidental Racist” isn’t something he “just came up with just to be sort of shocking or anything like that.” The country star admits he’s “sort of doing it in spite of that,” saying he was inspired “because it just feels more relevant than it even did a few years ago.”
“It really came to a boil last year with Lincoln and Django, and there’s just a lot of talk about it. It was really obvious to me that we still have issues as a nation with this … I just think art has a responsibility to lead the way, and I don’t know the answers, but I feel like asking the question is the first step, and we’re asking the question in a big way. How do I show my Southern pride?”
Paisley actually raises a good point, but is there really any way to retain the Confederate flag, for instance, as a symbol of “Southern pride,” considering what it stood for? Is there perhaps another way forward without referencing a bloody battle predicated solely on the dispute over selling and owning human beings?
Paisley references LL’s Yankees cap, and complains that the South has been unfairly demonized when it comes to the slave trade. He continues:
“New York City was all for slavery. They actually voted 60 percent against — or maybe 70 against — Abraham Lincoln because they didn’t like the idea of slavery going away because there goes cotton and there goes tobacco trade, you know what I mean? It’s very hypocritical to feel like it’s just the South’s fault.”
But he acknowledges that “symbols mean things,” adding that “[it] just doesn’t do any good to blatantly do things and be like, ‘Just get over it.’ ”
What did you think of Brad Paisley and LL Cool J’s “Accidental Racist?”