The Roots drummer and internationally renowned hip-hop expert, Questlove has released an apology via his official Facebook page, in reference to a controversial Instagram post which resulted in a wave backlash against the drummer, who some say was displaying racial insensitivity.
The band were on tour in Japan before Christmas where the artist found a children’s ride-on train he felt must be shared with his followers. Attached to the picture was a short missive to his manager referencing the TV show Soul Train, in which the drummer replaced the Ls and Rs.
“Hey [Dawn Englehart] is it racist for me to write the Sour Tlain? #chipanesedownunder2013,” he wrote. The post has since been deleted, but according to OhNoTheyDidn’t, Englehart, an Asian herself, wasn’t offended and simply replied, “”Nah you’re in The Loots. You’re … Arrowed.”
A string of angry reactions ensued, many expressing “disappointment” at the famously socially conscious musician, who himself once accused the special Black History Month lunch menu at the NBC building of being racist as it consisted of soul food, though entirely curated by a black chef.
But the drummer then also posted an Instagram video of a Japanese department store employee speaking Japanese with the spoken introduction, “Ladies and gentlemen, they are talking in tongues.” The post was also deleted and faced even harsher criticism from Questlove’s followers.
The backlash led the artist to address “the elephant in the room on christmas” on his Facebook page, in which he apologised for “[offending] my asian brothers & sisters” with what he says was actually him comparing the intonation of the employee to a church deacon speaking in tongues.
“Clearly, I thought that comparison was funny-cute…and clearly I thought wrong,” he wrote. “I’m a human being and dumber yet, I’m a public figure. If you’re lucky enough to be either of the aforementioned…one should actively work against feeling comfortable, thinking hurtful thoughts.”
Before pledging to improve himself in the new year, Questlove expressed disappointment in himself, since “black culture consistently finds itself at the butt end of so many offensive ‘outsider’ jokes” and insisted that the sentiment was genuine and not part of a “self-serving political correctness.”
Questlove Facebook Message
ok. addressing the elephant in the room on christmas
unfortunately, i’ve offended my asian brothers & sisters with an IG post which i made during my recent tour of japan. in that post, i likened a japanese department store employee’s vocal intonation to that of a (church) deacon speaking in tongues. clearly, i didn’t intend to offend anyone (asian or otherwise), clearly, i *thought* that comparison was funny-cute
… and clearly i thought wrong.
in hindsight, it’s easy to see how my post was yet another example of the ugly, american flipping yet another ugly/racially/culturally insensitive script. so, let me make this abundantly clear….
THE ISH THAT I SAID WAS DUMB (PERIOD).
And no, it wasn’t Duck Dynasty/Phil Robertson mean spirited-xenophobic dumb (but the last time i checked, sleep was still the cousin of death)
—look. i’m a human being and dumber yet, i’m a public figure. if you’re lucky enough to be either of the aforementioned, then not only should one stay clear of saying or writing hurtful things, one should actively work against feeling comfortable, thinking hurtful thoughts. given that black culture consistently finds itself at the butt end of so many offensive “outsider” jokes, I should be way, way more sensitive (after all, who’s zooming who). I for one, should never allow my cultural bias to take precedence over my “examined life” (clunkers be damned). i know the whole kinder and gentler thing reeks of a self serving political correctness, but eff it, it’s “all me”.
so, here i am once again, publicly coming to terms with some more of my stupid “say, say, say” ish. allow me to ask for forgiveness and understanding from anyone that i’ve offended. I will be better in 2014 (i promise)