In his first interview in six months, disgraced country star Morgan Wallen said he was unaware of her using a racial insult.
In an interview with Michael Strahan on ABC’s “Hello america“On Friday, Wallen said he hadn’t used it in a derogatory way, but it was still wrong.
Wallen was already one of the genre’s biggest stars, with crossover hits like “Whiskey Glasses,” when the video was released. posted on TMZ in February. The video appeared to show Wallen returning home in the early hours of Sunday, January 31. The store’s alleged neighbors captured the video of Wallen – in which the singer could be heard using the derogatory term – after he began to create a verbal speech. nuisance outside the house.
He was disqualified from the Academy of Country Music Awards, but remains eligible for several awards at the upcoming Country Music Association Awards. He has since returned to the Billboard country charts with his first single since the incident and his album, “Dangerous: The Double Album,” remains the most popular album released this year across all genres.
Wallen told Strahan on Friday that he had been drinking all weekend before February night.
âI was with some of my friends and we say stupid things together,â Wallen said. âIn our mind, it’s fun. It sounds ignorant, but that’s really where it comes from. And it is wrong.
He denied using the term frequently and said he only used it around a certain group of friends. Asked by Strahan what made him think the word was appropriate to say, Wallen replied, âI’m not sure. I think I was just ignorant about it. I don’t think I sat down and thought, âHey, is that right or is that wrong? ”
After Strahan explained some of the historical background behind the term, Strahan asked Wallen directly if he understood why this made black people so upset.
âI don’t know how to put myself in their shoes because I’m not, you know, but I get it,â Wallen said. “Especially when I say I’m using it playfully, or whatever, out of ignorance, I understand it must sound like ‘He doesn’t understand.'”
Shortly after TMZ released the video, Wallen released a point-of-sale statement saying he was “embarrassed and sorry” for his actions. He also apologized for using the insult in a video post posted to social media several days later as radio stations and streaming services temporarily removed him from playlists, but his sales albums have increased.
Wallen also said on Friday he took time off and went to rehab after the incident, saying he spent a month trying to determine if he had a “deeper problem” than alcoholism. to solve. When album sales skyrocketed following the industry’s condemnation, he decided to donate approximately $ 500,000 to organizations such as the Black Music Action Coalition.
Country music has struggled with diversity in a genre that has long been dominated by white male performers, but Wallen’s actions have brought the issue to the fore. This year, another country star, Luke Combs, apologized for his past use of the Confederate flag.
When asked if country music on the whole had a problem with race, Wallen replied, âIt sounds so, yes. I haven’t really thought about it.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.