During a recent interview on Bobbycast, the “Best Shot” and “Make Me Want To” singer gave his perspective on the recent controversy surrounding Morgan Wallen‘s use of a racial slur.
Speaking on his role as a black artist in country music, Jimmie recounted some advice that his late father had given him:
“My dad told me something before he died. He said ‘Son, you are one of the few black artists in country music. There’s not a lot of you in country music. So when things happen in country music that white people can’t understand, you are the person that they can reach out to that’s in the format, you know what I mean, that has that point of view as a black male in America.’
And he said ‘You have to accept that responsibility, whether you like it or not.’ And I gladly accept it.”
He then went on to discuss how people were upset with his initial response after video surfaced of Morgan Wallen using the racial slur.
I take a few days to process before I reply or speak on anything. Logical thoughts for me takes time.
Accountability is very important..we all must be held accountable for our actions. Looking over my life and my mistakes I remember the consequences I had to face, but I also remember the people that didnt give up me and were willing to help me DO better. Thankful for those people
Jimmie revealed that after the video surfaced, he reached out to Morgan and talked to him every day. And what advice did Jimmie give Morgan?
“Bro, no matter how drunk, whatever whatever you get, there’s three things we can’t do: Can’t say the n-word if you ain’t black, can’t say the f-word if you ain’t gay, and can’t beat women. Three things.”
He also discussed why he wasn’t personally offended or upset that Morgan used that word, but that it still shouldn’t be used.
“No. The reason why, and this is from me being black, talking to a bunch of black people: First of all, the way he said it. He didn’t use the -er. So that’s why a lot of black people we laughed at it. It was like, ‘Oh ok, well he said it right.’
True, you shouldn’t say it, but at the same time, just because I don’t agree with what he said doesn’t mean I should banish him.”
Jimmie also spoke on the importance of forgiveness in situations like this.
“People claim to either follow God or Martin Luther King. And those are two of the most forgiving people ever. If Martin Luther King can forgive people that beat and killed his family members and we can’t forgive someone for, you know, using a word that we don’t agree with?”
And how does Jimmie feel about all the white people who say they were offended by Morgan’s use of the racial slur?
“That’s kind of really kind of rubbed me the wrong way a lot of times, where I saw white people tweeting ‘I’m so offended.’ ‘I can’t believe that you would do this.’ ‘I’m so hurt.’ You’re not hurt. That word doesn’t bother you.
Now if people would have said ‘I don’t agree with this, he shouldn’t have used that, it’s a wrong word to use,’ that’s one thing. But when people start to use words like ‘offended’ – that word ‘offended’ is weird to me because my grandfather told me at a young age when someone says something to someone else not directed at you that doesn’t affect you, the only way you can become offended is if you are so self-absorbed and you make something about you that’s not about you.
Now you can be like ‘Man, you shouldn’t say that bro, like it’s not a good look. Don’t use that word, it makes all white country artists look racist.’ You know what I mean? That’s one thing.
But the extra stuff… I feel like people just want to be seen. I feel like sometimes people just want to be in the spotlight, you know what I mean? With the extra hurt.”
Jimmie also had a message for people who claimed to be “offended,” asking them what they’re actually doing for black people and black communities besides posting a black square on social media:
“In the midst of this, since you’re so hurt by this word, how many black employees do you have? How many black communities have you gone into and done work for? Have you reached out to Morgan and talked to him? A lot of times it’s just nonsense to where people want to look cool on social media.
I know people that didn’t post the black square, whatever, that do stuff for black communities all the time and I know a lot of people who just posted it cause they don’t want to look racist but they’re doing nothing. Racism isn’t about what you post on your social media for the world to see, it’s about who you actually are, what you’re actually doing.”
Hit the nail on the head.
Jimmie also talked about all the white people who were upset when he first spoke out on the situation, saying that it was “more white people” who were upset with him than black people, with internet commenters even telling him that he “can’t speak for black people” because he’s not black.
He sums it up by mentioning the importance of actually putting in the work to help people rather than just tearing them down on social media. He pointed out that Morgan is a father and a fellow country artist who has also been struggling with alcoholism, outbursts, and reckless behavior for years now.
But nobody is looking to condone Morgan’s behavior. Jimmie also believes that there needs to be consequences to hold people like Morgan accountable for their actions.
“Now, there should also be consequences, there has to be consequences, and that’s the problem with his other outbursts and reckless behavior, there was never no consequences. So I feel like this whole situation could have been avoided if there would have been consequences for his other actions.
But I’m glad that there was consequences because you have to be accountable for what you said. ‘Hey man, you said this, you need a time out right now bro. You need to go become a better person because you have too many people looking at you and too many lives that you’re influencing to have this type of reckless behavior because it tells other people that it’s ok.'”
Jimmie’s interview may be the most well thought out and best spoken reaction we’ve gotten from anybody in the industry, and it’s sorely needed at a time when it’s become far too easy and far too acceptable to just hide behind a keyboard and tear others down instead of actually putting in the work.
Jimmie performed with another black country superstar last year at the CMA Awards, the late great Charley Pride.
And in this interview, I’ve gotta say, Jimmie reminds me a lot of Mr. Pride himself.