Janelle Monáe has been a darling of the Black community for quite some time, but even she’s not immune to social media outrage, which she found out earlier this week.
On Sunday “The Electric Lady” commented on the recent craze surrounding Popeyes’ new fried chicken sandwich, and how people were standing in extremely long lines to get one.
Photos of lines snaking around corners also made its way to social media, and Popeyes even got into a much talked about back-and-forth with Chick-fil-A over their chicken sandwich.
Some on Black Twitter said Black folks need to show the same enthusiasm for voting as they do standing in line for a sandwich. And people offline seemed to think the same thing.
Because according to NBC News, a 17-year-old named David Ledbetter went to his local Popeyes in Charlotte, North Carolina, and established a voter registration booth for Black folks standing on line.
At some point, Monáe joined in on the chicken, voting talk and offered a suggestion.
“Perhaps we put voting booths at every Popeyes location? While we wait on that sammich you can register and vote @popeyes holla,” she tweeted on Sunday.
While Monáe’s message seemed to be tongue in cheek, many criticized her and said she made a dangerous assumption that Black people are indifferent about voting and politics.
Some also mentioned that Monáe failed to bring up the topic of voter suppression, which people on the right have been accused of doing for a long while.
“Janelle Monáe basically said that you chicken eating coons dont care about voting,” someone wrote Sunday on Instagram.
“Blk ppl already show up in droves to vote in local elections in long lines and malfunctioning equipment. Maybe use your platforms to be less sophomoric and talk about voter roll purging and ID laws,” wrote another.
The eclectic singer eventually caught wind of the backlash and apologized.
“You know, when other people say things on here that are wrong or misguided, I wonder, “why don’t they just admit they’re wrong and learn from it.” So I’m going to do that now,” tweeted Monáe on Sunday.
“I think the tweets that I posted about registering and voting were insensitive and wrong — specifically they ignored the very real issues of voter suppression that have impacted my community for years and me directly,” she added.
The 33-year-old then thanked those who corrected her.
“Thanks to all of you for calling me out (or in) and helping me remember and refocus on the bigger issues,” tweeted Monáe. “I love y’all. Keep teaching one another. Never be afraid to be wrong. Never be afraid to listen and learn.”
“People that know me, know that I am very passionate about voting and making sure that people around me and in my community have safe and EASY ACCESS to voting,” she continued. If you care about the same things sign up here to help: http://www.fairfight2020.org.”