In an unique interview with “Good Morning America” co-host Michael Strahan that aired Friday, the nation singer, 28, mirrored on using the vulgar language in the footage launched by TMZ on Feb. 2.
He additionally opened up about what he says his understanding of the phrase was on the time the video was taken, what he has completed for the reason that footage was launched and what he’s planning on doing in the long run after the scandal.
When Strahan requested Wallen to take him again to the evening the footage was captured, Wallen mentioned he had been partying with a few of his longtime buddies the weekend the footage was taken and “it just happened.”
“I was around some of my friends, and we just … we say dumb stuff together,” Wallen mentioned on “GMA.” “And it was — in our minds, it’s playful … that sounds ignorant, but it — that’s really where it came from … and it’s wrong.”
Wallen claimed that he didn’t say the racial slur “frequently” in the previous — however admitted that when he beforehand did, he used it round that “certain group of friends” of his.
Within the explicit clip taken in January, Wallen mentioned he “didn’t mean it any, in any derogatory manner at all.”
“It’s one of my best friends — he was, we were all clearly drunk — I was askin’ his girlfriend to take care of him because he was drunk and he was leavin,'” Wallen mirrored on the evening the video was taken.
He defined that he’s “not sure” what made him really feel he may use the racial slur and chalked it as much as his lack of understanding. “I think I was just ignorant about it,” he mentioned. “I don’t think I sat down and was, like, ‘Hey, is this right or is this wrong?'”
Following the video’s launch, the chart-topping singer was promptly dropped by his report label and expertise company, disqualified from eligibility at a number of prestigious nation music award reveals and his music was faraway from a number of radio corporations’ stations.
“My manager called me probably two hours before the video came out,” Wallen mirrored. “He was, like, ‘Are you sittin’ down?’ And no one’s ever called me and said that before.”
“I went to one of my friends [who] has a house out in the middle of nowhere,” he continued, including that he was “just sittin’ in that house, tryin’ to figure out what it is I’m supposed to do.”
Alongside with repercussions that he confronted from his personal illustration, many artists in the nation music trade, together with Maren Morris, Mickey Guyton and extra, used their platforms to sentence his actions and name out the historical past of racism in the trade.
Wallen issued his first apology shortly after the video was launched.
“I’m embarrassed and sorry. I used an unacceptable and inappropriate racial slur that I wish I could take back,” he mentioned in a assertion obtained by “GMA” on the time. “There are no excuses to use this type of language, ever. I want to sincerely apologize for using the word. I promise to do better.”
He later launched a five-minute video in which he implored his fan base to cease defending him, acknowledged that he “let so many people down” and spoke concerning the modifications he was planning to make in his life.
“My words matter. A word can truly hurt a person and at my core, it’s not what I’m OK with,” he mentioned in the video. “This week I heard firsthand some personal stories from Black people that honestly shook me. And I know what I’m going through this week doesn’t even compare to some of the trials I heard about from them.”
He added these conversations helped him acquire a “clearer understanding of the weight” of his phrases.
Wallen advised Strahan that one of many first organizations he spoke with was the Black Music Motion Coalition (BMAC), an advocacy group that was created to combat for honest remedy of Black artists and tackle racism in the music trade.
The nation singer claimed he additionally spoke to report government Kevin Liles, Eric Hutcherson, government vp and chief individuals and inclusion officer at Common Music Group and gospel singer BeBe Winans.
“I’ve heard some stories in the initial conversations that I had after that — just how some people are, you know, treated even still today, and I’m just, like, I haven’t seen that with my eyes — that pain or that insignificant feeling or whatever it is that it makes you feel,” Wallen mentioned on “GMA.”
When requested by Strahan if he understood why the slur “makes Black people so upset,” Wallen acknowledged his ignorance.
“I don’t know how to put myself in their shoes because I’m not” he started, “But I do understand, especially when I say I’m using it playfully or whatever, ignorantly, I understand that that must sound, you know, like, ‘He doesn’t — he doesn’t understand.'”
In his February apology video, Wallen admitted he had “many more things to learn” however affirmed that he knew he didn’t wish to additional “add to any division.”
He additionally acknowledged that the video footage was taken whereas he was on “hour 72 of a 72-hour bender” and he was desiring to focus on his sobriety shifting ahead.
Throughout his “GMA” interview, the singer revealed he checked himself into a rehab facility following the scandal.
“For 30 days, I spent some time out in San Diego, California — you know, just tryin’ to figure it out … why am I acting this way? Do I have an alcohol problem? Do I have a deeper issue?” he shared.
Regardless of widespread backlash from establishments — and lots of of his friends — in the music trade, the singer continued to prevail on the charts lengthy after the February scandal.
His second studio album, “Dangerous: The Double Album,” spent 10 consecutive weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart and remains to be No. 1 on Billboard’s prime nation albums chart after 24 weeks in the spot. His album gross sales additionally elevated dramatically in the times after the footage of the racial slur was launched.
“Before this incident my album was already doing well,” Wallen mentioned. “It was already being well-received by critics and by fans. Me and my team noticed that whenever this whole incident happened that there was a spike in my sales. So we tried to calculate what the number of — how much it actually spiked from this incident.”
“We got to a number somewhere around $500,000, and we decided to donate that money to some organizations — BMAC being the first one,” he continued.
When requested about individuals questioning his motivations for selecting to talk out now, Wallen admitted he understands the skepticism.
“I’m not ever gonna make, you know, everyone happy,” he mentioned. “I can only come tell my truth, and — and that’s all I know to do.”
As for whether or not or not the nation music trade has a race downside? Wallen shared, “it would seem that way, yeah,” earlier than including, “I haven’t really sat and thought about that.”
ABC Information has reached out to BMAC however has not heard again.