The firestorm of controversy sparked by country superstar Brad Paisley’s collaboration with rapper LL Cool J, “Accidental Racist,” from Paisley’s new album “Wheelhouse” (reviewed in The Seattle Times Tuesday), has reached Seattle. Prometheus Brown, aka “Geo,” of local hip-hop group Blue Scholars, has posted an “answer song,” in which he raps over a slow-mo replay of Paisley crooning “I’m just a white man…”
“Accidental Racist” is a story song about a white southern fan of Lynyrd Skynyrd, famous for wearing T-shirts featuring the Confederate flag, who apologizes for possibly offending a black server at Starbucks. Critics have suggested that Paisley’s narrator’s defense of himself as another victimized minority — white southern “good old boys” who really mean no harm — is a vacant exhibition of white privilege and false equivalence and that LL Cool J’s character’s “can’t we just all get along?” response shows poor judgment.
Paisley has found himself defending the song on a string of TV appearances, including “Ellen” and “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno,” insisting he and Cool J meant to “open up a dialog” and that the song “came from a good place.”
What do you think?