Country music star Morgan Wallen opens up about his ‘ignorant’ use of racial slur

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Country music star Morgan Wallen addressed his use of a racial slur from a February viral video as “ignorant” in his first interview since the incident.

Wallen previously apologized after he was suspended from his record label and pulled from thousands of radio stations throughout the country.

He sat down with “Good Morning America’s” Michael Strahan in an interview released Friday, telling the anchor he did not say the word in a derogatory way. He said he does not say the word frequently, but does around a “certain group of friends.”

“I think I was just ignorant about it,” he said in the interview. “I don’t think I sat down and was, like, ‘Hey, is this right or is this wrong?’”

He said he was “clearly drunk” during the incident and later checked himself into rehab for 30 days in San Diego.

“Just trying to figure it out ... why am I acting this way? Do I have an alcohol problem? Do I have a deeper issue?” he said.

Wallen was named New Artist of the Year at the 2020 CMA Awards. He had the top country album in the nation at the time of the incident, and his sales skyrocketed after the incident.

Some people said his surge in sales was in retaliation to so-called “cancel culture,” McClatchy News reported.

Wallen said in the interview he donated $500,000 of the album’s sales to multiple organizations, including the Black Music Action Coalition.

“I’m not ever gonna make, you know, everyone happy,” he said. “I can only come tell my truth, and — and that’s all I know to do.”

The musician’s songs were also removed from popular playlists on Apple Music and Spotify, McClatchy News reported. CMT also said it was removing his appearances from all of its platforms, while the Academy of Country Music removed his potential involvement from this year’s award show.

Asked if country music has a race problem, Wallen responded by saying, “It would seem that way, yeah.”

Fellow country music star Keith Urban said in April the genre is becoming more welcoming to artists of different backgrounds and that it is moving in the right direction.

However, people of color remain underrepresented on country music radio, according to a new study. BIPOC (Black, indigenous and people of color) artists accounted for about 3.7% of songs played on country music radio between 2014 and 2020, according to a study by Dr. Jada Watson on Song Data.

In his apology more than a week after the viral video was released, Wallen said in the five-minute Instagram video, “It matters. My words matter.”

“I let so many people down who have meant a lot to me and given so much to me, and it’s just not fair,” Wallen said.

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