LL Cool J sparked a national debate this week with “Accidental Racist,” his controversial collaboration with country singer Brad Paisley. During his appearance on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” he defended the song off Paisley’s album Wheelhouse.
“I feel good. The song wasn’t perfect. You can’t fit 300 or 400 years of history into a 3-4 minute song,” said the 45-year-old rapper, whose new album Authentic is due April 30.
The song was criticized for its lyrics. “In no way would I ever compare the history of the confederate flag with a du-rag,” said LL. “However, when you think about a kid like Trayvon Martin, and you think of some of the things that happened in society based on clothing, when you put it in its proper context, it makes sense.”
His intention was not to offend. “I would never, ever, ever suggest to anyone that we should just forget slavery and act like that didn’t happen,” he continued. “I understand the systemic racism that exists, I get that, but if the playing field is unlevel and you feel it’s unfair, then maybe putting down some of that baggage will help you make it up that hill a little easier.”
LL wasn’t surprised by the backlash. “I wasn’t shocked. I’m actually pleased that the dialogue is happening.”
The six-minute song was intended to start a conversation about race, but also unite Americans. “As long as people are having a conversation, then the art has done its job,” he said. “America as a whole, we need to come together. We don’t need to be talking about tearing the fabric of society apart. We need to be connecting with each other and becoming closer as human beings and loving one another.”