Brad Paisley and LL Cool J’s collab on the song “Accidental Racist” has sparked tons of controversy, but the country star didn’t hesitate to defend his new collaboration with the New York rap star.
If the song was intended to get people talking, it’s been a staggering success.
But Brad Paisley’s “Accidental Racist,” a duet with LL Cool J on his new album Wheelhouse, out Tuesday, is also hugely controversial.
Styled as a conversation between a white Southerner and a black New Yorker, the song features the two singers having a charged debate about race – and features Paisley’s character walking into a coffee shop wearing a shirt with a Confederate flag on it.
…In the song, Paisley sings, “[I’m] just a proud rebel son with an ol’ can of worms/Lookin’ like I got a lot to learn.” LL Cool J, 45, replies. “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.”
Whether you like the song itself or not you have to admit that the message is daring, perplexing, and quite frankly it’s not as far fetched from the truth as everyone wants to say it is.
The main issue here is that the song is being misinterpreted. One line that has caused quite a stir is the line where LL Cool J asks the “white man” not to judge his gold chains and then he’ll forget the iron chains.
If you listen to the entire song rather than trying to pick out a certain line that makes you cringe a little and twist it all up, you’d realize that this isn’t LL saying he will forget about slavery all together. It’s simply him saying that he won’t hold it against the modern day white person who had nothing to do with slavery and doesn’t support any of those negative messages.
Brad Paisley’s message seems to have gotten lost in the midst of a few historical errors and cringe worthy analogies but he isn’t about to apologize for any of it.
“I wouldn’t change a thing,” he tweeted. “This is a record meant to be FAR from easy listening. But fun. Like life. Have a ball, ya’ll.”
“It’s not a stunt,” he told Entertainment Weekly. “It was really obvious to me that we still have issues as a nation with [race]. … And I think the younger generations are really kind of looking for ways out of this.”
The only real problem I find with the lyrics is when LL Cool J tells Robert E. Lee to rest in peace but then thanks Abraham Lincoln for freeing him. This one ad lib goes against the message of the song in more ways than one but the first thing that came to my mind was the fact that Lincoln freed the slaves as part of a military strategy, there was no genuine concern for racial equality.
Now don’t get me wrong, the song certainly isn’t perfect and honestly it is LL’s verse that causes the most controversy simply because his wording made it seem like he was asking us to forget about years of racism, oppression, and slavery; however, those weren’t his actual intentions. You have to realize that the song tried to cover an incredible amount of history and emotion in a matter of minutes so of course it’s not going to be quite as emotional and historically accurate as some sort of documentary – but that wasn’t the purpose. The purpose was to get the conversation started when most Americans are afraid to even admit that they do racially profile one another.
With so many articles already explaining the flaws in the country song, why not take the time to realize that there could be a positive message and positive intentions behind something that just wasn’t executed in the best way?