It’s been five months since rising country music artist Morgan Wallen… Well, okay, we were going to say “blew up his career by using a racial slur in public,” given the official response to the February incident, which included suspension from his label, and being blocked from consideration at this year’s CMAs. But honestly, given that sales for Wallen’s album Dangerous actually spiked to the tune of something like $500,000 in the aftermath of the incident, it might be more accurate to say he simply “expanded his demographic” by drunkenly yelling a slur outside his home, video of which was captured by a neighbor and wound up on TMZ.
Anyway, Morgan Wallen is very sorry.
That’s the gist of a new interview Wallen did this week with Good Morning America’s Michael Strahan, in which he explained that he hadn’t realized, before a lot of people yelled at him about it, how harmful the use of this particular slur was to Black Americans. (Note: Morgan Wallen was a 28-year-old man who’d lived his whole life in the United States at the time this all went down.) Under heavy-for-Good-Morning-America questioning from Strahan, who repeatedly tried to probe Wallen to see whether he actually understood the anger being directed at him over the incident, Wallen denied that he’d used the word “frequently,” but did, for lack of a better, word, clarify that the particular friend group he used it around sometimes used it in a “playful” fashion.
“That sounds ignorant,” Wallen then immediately, accurately admitted—a refrain he returned to throughout the interview, including when Strahan asked him if country music has a problem with racism. Wallen responded by saying that, yes, probably, that seems to be the case—he reportedly donated a large chunk of that spike in album sales to organizations like the Black Music Action Coalition—but that he’d never thought about it before. (Verily, this whole incident has been serious fertilizer for Morgan Wallen’s mental gardens.)
Anyway: Wallen is very sorry, he went to rehab, and he wants his fans to know he doesn’t think they should use the word, no matter how “playful” they might be feeling at the time.