Racism is embedded in the foundation of America. The issue while, ignored by some, denounced as non-existent by others, is still very much an alive in America. In an unexpected collaboration rapper LL Cool J and country music crooner Brad Paisley, ignited a heated race debate surrounding their song "Accidental Racist," which invites white and black Americans to put slavery in the past and unite.
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While "Accidental Racist" ignited social media frenzy, following the songs internet leak Monday, April 8, Paisley and LL said that they intended the song to spark this type of feed back.
"I needed to do something that was going to be interesting like that, and shake things up, and jump out of the box," veteran rapper LL Cool J told CNN on Sunday night at the Academy of Country Music Awards, before the flap erupted over the song. "I'm really proud of it, and I hope the world hears it and enjoys it," MTV News reported.
LL told CNN that he thought "Accidental Racist" was what the music industry needed. "Music is about, and art is about, connecting different people, and building bridges and breaking the rules," Cool J told CNN. "If it's not compelling, and it's not complex and it's not interesting, then what are we doing it for? So I think that's the right move."
On the song, Paisleysings from the white confederate perspective on blacks and race in America, while LL Cool J, uses his platform to play the role of a black man from the 'hood. Paisley told Ellen DeGeneres on a recent visit to the "Ellen" show that "We're sort of asking the question as a proud Southerner and he is a black New Yorker." Paisley also said,"One of my favorite lines in the song, he says, 'I think the relationship between the Mason-Dixon needs some fixing.' Leave it to a rapper to put it so simply and so beautifully."
Watch Paisley talk "Accidental Racist" on "Ellen:"
While Paisley sings:
I'm just a white man comin' to you from the southland
Tryin' to understand what it's like not to be
I'm proud of where I'm from but not everything we've done
And it ain't like you and me can re-write history
Our generation didn't start this nation
We're still pickin' up the pieces, walkin' on eggshells, fightin' over yesterday
And caught between southern pride and southern blame
LL Cool J chimes in his point of view:
Dear Mr. White Man, I wish you understood
What the world is really like when you're livin' in the hood
Just because my pants are saggin' doesn't mean I'm up to no good
You should try to get to know me, I really wish you would
Now my chains are gold but I'm still misunderstood
I wasn't there when Sherman's March turned the south into firewood
I want you to get paid but be a slave I never could
Feel like a new fangled Django, dodgin' invisible white hoods
So when I see that white cowboy hat, I'm thinkin' it's not all good
I guess we're both guilty of judgin' the cover not the book
I'd love to buy you a beer, conversate and clear the air
But I see that red flag and I think you wish I wasn't here
Towards the end of the song the black rapper from the rugged streets of Queens, and the white southern Mason Dixon line lover go line for line in a conversation style flow.
I'm just a white man
(If you don't judge my do-rag)
Comin' to you from the southland
(I won't judge your red flag)
Tryin' to understand what it's like not to be
I'm proud of where I'm from
(If you don't judge my gold chains)
But not everything we've done
(I'll forget the iron chains)
It ain't like you and me can re-write history
(Can't re-write history baby)
(The relationship between the Mason-Dixon needs some fixin')
I hope you understand what this is all about
(Quite frankly I'm a black Yankee but I've been thinkin' about this lately)
I'm a son of the new south
(The past is the past, you feel me)
And I just want to make things right
(Let bygones be bygones)
Where all that's left is southern pride
(RIP Robert E. Lee but I've gotta thank Abraham Lincoln for freeing me, know what I mean)
LL and Paisley seem to be pleased with the song, other music artists do not share the same emotions. The Roots drummer, Questlove even prompted fans to address lyrics, in the same way others have dissected Rick Ross's controversial date rape lyrics. He tweeted:
Just heard the "Accidental Racist" man that Weird Al is amazing.
— Questo of The Roots (@questlove) April 8, 2013
all the "OUENO" weigher ins....i expect "Accidental Racist" to get equal amount of discussion & dialogue — Questo of The Roots (@questlove) April 8, 2013
It is not quite clear how racism is accidental, or if this song with alledged good intentions, is influencing racial unity or ignited further divide. When listening to the song one must recall that black americans are the ONLY cultural and/or ethinic group in the history of the United States of American to recieve reparations (does a mule and acres count?). Japanese-Americans, were issued checks following their "involuntary camp confinement" as a result of Pearl Harbor. Furthermore, Native Americans, Chinese immigrants are among ethinic groups to recieve compensations and formal apologies from the U.S government. Although a bi-racial president, with undenable brown skin represents America, the evils of a racially divided country manifest daily and are still woven through out state and federal laws.
A prime example of racism just below Paisley's Maison Dixson line, takes place in "modern day" Georgia, where students rally for a school's FIRST ever INTERGRATED PROM.
For as long as anyone could remember, students in their South Georgia community went to separate proms, and homecoming dances, too. White students from Wilcox County attend one. Black students, another, reported CNN. Schools have long been desegregated, but in Wilcox County, the dances never changed.
In a positive light the song will ignite racism awareness and conversation, but the topic of conversation appears to be questionable.
"Accidental Racist" is featured on the country singer's new album, "Wheelhouse," which was released on Tuesday, April 9.