A hip hop artist has a song with a lyric that is offensive. I hate to say it, but this isn't shocking in the least. This is the kind of world we live in. Doesn't make it right though. And I'm very happy to report that one rapper is taking full responsibility for his insensitive lyrics and I think we should forgive him.
J. Cole is featured on the song "Jodeci Freestyle" by fellow hip hop artist Drake. One of his lyrics is: "I’m artistic, you n----s is autistic, retarded." N-word. R-word. The way it's used. Not good. But Cole has issued a statement apologizing. And it's not a Paula Deen-style apology.
After a petition by the Anti-Bullying Alliance, J. Cole issued an apology he called sincere and necessary. Cole's apology:
Recently there’s been a trend that includes rappers saying something offensive, only to be attacked for it in the media and pressured to apologize. I have to be completely honest and say there’s a part of me that resents that. I view rap similar to how I view comedy. It’s going to ruffle feathers at times. It’s going to go “too far”. I do not believe that an apology is needed every time someone is offended, especially when that apology is really only for the sake of saving an endorsement or cleaning up bad press. With that said, this is not the case today. This letter is sincere. This apology IS necessary. In a recent verse on the song “Jodeci Freestyle”, I said something highly offensive to people with Autism. Last week, when I first saw a comment from someone outraged about the lyric, I realized right away that what I said was wrong. I was instantly embarrassed that I would be ignorant enough say something so hurtful. What makes the crime worse is that I should have known better. To the entire Autism community who expressed outrage, I’m moved and inspired by your passion, and I’m amazed at how strong you are as a unit. I have now read stories online from parents about their struggles and triumphs with raising an Autistic child and I admire how incredibly strong you have to be to do so. It’s touching. It also makes what I said even more embarrassing for me. I feel real shame. You have every right to be angry. To anyone suffering from Autism, either mildly or severely, I am sorry. I’m bound to make mistakes in my life, but in my heart I just want to spread Love. I want to educate myself more on Autism, and I’ll gladly own my mistake and serve as an example to today’s generation that there’s nothing cool about mean-spirited comments about someone with Autism. People with this disorder and their loved ones have to go through so much already, the last thing they need is to hear something as ignorant as what I said. I understand. To the parents who are fighting through the frustrations that must come with raising a child with severe autism, finding strength and patience that they never knew they had; to the college student with Asperger’s Syndrome; to all those overcoming Autism. You deserve medals, not disrespect. I hope you accept my sincere apology. Much Love -Cole
I don't know J. Cole but I did meet him once while at the airport. He sat down next to me while waiting to board and several people came over to him asking for autographs and for a photo with him. He happily signed and smiled for every person who came up to him. It didn't seem like his ego was big. He seemed humble. And while these lyrics are awful, his apology is heartfelt. He admits his mistake. He feels shame. He wants to educate himself more. J. Cole issuing this statement opens up the dialogue that these ignorant comments are hurtful, and how we should be more mindful and spread more "love" instead of a mean-spirited behavior. His lyrics were loud, but his apology is louder. Hopefully his many fans see this letter as a good example and it will serve to teach others how words do hurt.
Do you forgive J. Cole?
Image via H D/Flickr