LL Cool J-Brad Paisley song 'Accidental Racist' stirs debate
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Brad Paisley's collaboration with LL Cool J on “Accidental Racist” has accidentally kicked up some controversy.
The song about racial perception has drawn ire from both the country and urban music worlds after its wide release.
Paisley's publicist says he isn't giving interviews about the song. But the country star known for the white cowboy hat and virtuoso guitar work briefly addressed the debate Monday night on Twitter when he reposted a radio host's blog entry on the song he felt was thought-provoking.
“Cool,” Paisley wrote. “It's fun to get ya'll's take on this. Bring it.”
The song appears on Paisley's new self-produced album “Wheelhouse,” released Tuesday. It's his most ambitious album so far and the progressive message of “Accidental Racist” is in line with opinions the 40-year-old West Virginia-born singer has expressed before in interviews and songs.
Of the album, Paisley wrote, “I hope it triggers emotions,” and says he wouldn't change a thing about it: “This is a record meant to be FAR from easy listening. But fun. Like life. Have a ball, ya'll.”
At its heart, “Accidental Racist” is about how cultural symbols favored by whites and blacks — the fashion choice of wearing Confederate flags or baggy pants, for instance — come loaded with meaning.
It's not a new discussion. Though race relations have evolved over the decades, cultural symbols continue to color perceptions.
Paisley uses the Confederate flag as an example in the song, noting whites are “caught between Southern pride and Southern blame” 150 years after the end of the Civil War.
“I try to put myself in your shoes and that's a good place to begin,” Paisley sings, “but it ain't like I can walk a mile in someone else's skin/Because I'm a white man livin' in the southland/Just like you I'm more than what it seems/I'm proud of where I'm from/But not everything we've done/It ain't like you and me can rewrite history/Our generation didn't start this nation/We're still paying for mistakes that a bunch of folks made long before we came.”
LL Cool J's publicist did not immediately respond to messages. The 45-year-old, who elevated himself from a teen rap sensation on the streets of Queens to an American cultural icon as an actor and personality, provides the response to Paisley's meditations.
He kicks off his portion of the song “Dear, Mr. White Man, I wish you understood what the world was really like living in the hood.” Later in the song he raps, “I guess we're both guilty of judging a the cover not the book/I'd love to buy you a beer, conversate and clear the air/But I see that red flag and I think you wish I wasn't here.”
Later he and Paisley enter a call and response portion of the song where LL Cool J raps in part: “If you don't judge my ‘do rag, I won't judge your red flag. ... If you don't judge my gold chains, I'll forget the iron chains ... Can't rewrite history, baby ... let bygones be bygones ... Rest in peace, Robert E. Lee, I got to thank Abraham Lincoln for freeing me ... .”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers’ Brown skipping voluntary offseason workouts
- Penguins sell out Game 3, extend streak to 376 games
- Pittsburgh Public Theater taking on Shakespeare’s ‘Othello’
- The gathering storm: An IRS defeat
- UPMC is the target of nihilistic envy
- MLB notebook: Gennett’s shower injury could put him on DL
- Deputies arrest couple, seize 45 bricks of heroin in Penn Hills
- Doctors incorporate ideas for retirement planning into new book
- Pirates notebook: Ailing Mercer sore but on mend
- NHL notebook: Sharks, McLellan part ways after 7 years
- U.S. Steel puts 1,400 workers on notice to curb costs