Country star Brad Paisley and LL Cool J’s latest collaboration, “Accidental Racist,” caught a great deal of negative attention this week when many listeners deemed the song insensitive to issues of race. In defense of the song, the pair appeared on “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” to fill viewers in on the reasoning behind the making of the song.
According to Paisley, the issue of racism is one he’s wanted to tackle for a while now and with the release of films like Lincoln and Django Unchained he thought it would be ideal to address racism through music.
“I think racism has been on my mind,” said Paisley. “Last year, we had some really powerful videos deal with it very well. We had Lincoln and Django. The media deals with it all the time. I thought it would be an interesting conversation between country music and rap music to deal with this subject between two individuals in a loving and sort of understanding way.”
LL Cool J provided one of the song’s most controversial lyrics with this particular line: “If you don’t judge my do-rag/ I won’t judge your red flag/ If you don’t judge my gold chains/ I’ll forget the iron chains.”
While defending his “Accidental Racist” lyrics, the rapper brought up slain teen Trayvon Martin and those who judge a person based on their clothing alone.
“I in no way would compare the history of the Confederate flag—the rapes, the tortures, the murders, the lynching, all the things associated with the Confederate flag—with a do-rag. However, when you think about a kid like Trayvon Martin, when you think about some of the things that happen in society based on clothing, when you put it in its proper context, it makes sense,” LL Cool J explained, according to XXLMag.com. “I understand the systemic racism that exists. I get that. But you know what? If the playing field is un-level, if you feel it is unfair, then maybe putting down some of that baggage will help you make it up that hill a little easier.”
“Accidental Racist” is featured on Paisley’s Wheelhouse album, which was released earlier in the week.