In fact, the singer is currently being accused, for the second time since Disney shut down his show online late last year, of having said exactly that. You may actually have read about a situation at the moment where someone has accused John of saying that he couldn’t release the song on YouTube to keep his show financially afloat, because he believes that it’s “open borders” and he wouldn’t be “paying a cent back to the government.”
I guess we can have a lot of fun with this one.
The singer and his PR rep confirmed the accusation, and basically took a shot at the whole online music community, and specifically the YouTube people responsible for the song - if you have a chance, read their entire statement here .
In the official statement, John explained the reasoning behind saying “I know I’m a racist” – an absolutely ludicrous claim to make , in my opinion. A song that may very well be a huge hit among European and Spanish audiences, but is still quite unpopular in the US could have all sorts of other, less positive consequences for the song, from not being played on various popular music platforms (which is apparently the current state of play on sites like Spotify) to people hearing the song’s lyrics differently . One might think, then, that some kind of self-censorship or perhaps a reevaluation of the music industry stance is going to ensue, because all this fuss is totally ridiculous. Not so. The real problem is that while the media has jumped to John’s defense, and rightly so, he’s still being accused as something of an apologist, for the first time since Disney shut down his show. John has said that he didn’t say anything of the sort – after all, if I had said that a guy in a monkey costume was an ignorant, racist asshat, would anyone blame me for it? Of course not. Maybe I shouldn’t sing “monkey” at all since there are many people who think that doing so is racist, too, but then, a song that tells the story of how a monkey came to have the skin color of a human doesn’t technically have a racist message. John’s explanation is that it happened that way, because he used a word that a certain group of people felt should be avoided, so for any of these people to make this accusation against John is somehow “apologists” for him… and worse, it seems like this “group” is entirely comprised of white people, for some twisted reason.
But hey, it’s entertainment people and news folks being “apologists” for their chosen heroes, so whatever - we take it all in good fun here at The Good People . Anyway, in the meantime, here’s a few excerpts from John’s statement:
“The song is extremely sensitive to a particular community because the last time they aired it. It was a lot of fun to play in Europe and Spain, too, but the Spanish and European audiences wanted to sing it in the West because they wanted to hear the song and not be offended by it. When we broadcast the song, it didn’t bother anyone. I think in the West everyone is much more comfortable with their race.” John stated, “They said I was racist – they even said I was a racist – but they asked me if I could play it because it was so popular with the French, and I said sure, because there were two kids that said in the Spanish, ‘My parents don’t accept me as a child’…”
John then says that his bandmate James Taylor played some of the music for some of the new trailers that got on YouTube yesterday. Also, for the love of god, I’m writing this off like some kind of strange case of mistaken identity. Okay, fine, it’s possible that Taylor is still employed by Tunde Adebimpe, but they were certainly not working on “The Lion King” for the entirety of summer. So why did John use the word “racist” there? Is John being “political”? I’m not sure that they were, it makes a lot of sense, but let’s just accept that it was just a case of mistaken identity.
One last thing – John was asked if he considered that if he heard any of the backlash that was coming from YouTube, he would consider cancelling the North American tour that he was on.
“I think we just might consider it and I’d like to see where the world went… I don’t know that many of you have seen all the videos that I’ve gotten. I really don’t, I have no idea, but I do know that some of the YouTube comments I get are really nasty. You know, when you put something out, you don’t know when it’s going to make it, especially online. So I know the Internet doesn’t like to change.”
Let’s not forget about all the negative feedback the Lion King received on Facebook on how they felt the film was trying to “blacken”