06-25-2017  8:33 am      •     
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NEWS BRIEFS

Cooling Centers to open in Multnomah County Saturday, Sunday

Temperatures expected to climb into the upper 90s this weekend ...

Multnomah County Leaders Release Statement on Safety at Summer Events

Officials advise public to check in, have a plan and be aware at public events ...

Portland Musician, Educator Thara Memory Dies

Grammy-winning Trumpeter, composer, teacher died Saturday at the age of 68 ...

St. Johns Center for Opportunity to Host Meet the Employer Event June 27

Employers represented will include Mary’s Harvest and Del Monte ...

New Self-Defense Organization Offers Training to Youth in Multnomah County

EMERJ-SafeNow offers July classes for children ages 8-10 and youth ages 15-19 ...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

OPINION

Our Children Deserve High Quality Teachers

It’s critical that parents engage with educational leaders and demand equal access to high quality teachers ...

Civil Rights Groups Ask for Broad Access to Affordable Lending

Charlene Crowell writes that today’s public policy housing debate is also an opportunity to learn from the mistakes of the past and...

Criminal Justice Disparities Present Barriers to Re-entry

Congressional Black Caucus Member Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill.) writes about the fight to reduce disparities in our criminal justice...

Bill Maher Betrayed Black Intellectuals

Armstrong Williams talks about the use of the n-word and the recent Bill Maher controversy ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

ENTERTAINMENT

(CNN) -- LL Cool J's collaboration with Brad Paisley, "Accidental Racist," has kicked up a lot of dust, but the rapper seems to have expected as much.

As he told CNN, the song, which is from Paisley's newly released album "Wheelhouse," is a "bold statement" not just for country music, but for music in general.

LL joined the country star in offering what they bill as two sides to a story on race relations, prejudice and stereotypes in the U.S. Paisley sings from the perspective of "a white man comin' to you from the Southland," one who would wear a Confederate flag on his shirt to show that he's a "Skynyrd fan."

"They called it Reconstruction, fixed the buildings, dried some tears. We're still siftin' through the rubble after a hundred-fifty years," Paisley says in the song. "I try to put myself in your shoes and that's a good place to begin. But it ain't like I can walk a mile in someone else's skin. ... I'm proud of where I'm from but not everything we've done, and it ain't like you and me can re-write history. Our generation didn't start this nation, and we're still paying for mistakes that a bunch of folks made long before we came."

In his verse, rapper/actor LL takes the perspective of a "new fangled Django, dodgin' invisible white hoods."

"Dear Mr. White Man, I wish you understood what the world is really like when you're livin' in the hood," LL rhymes in the song. "Just because my pants are saggin' doesn't mean I'm up to no good. You should try to get to know me, I really wish you would. Now my chains are gold but I'm still misunderstood - I wasn't there when Sherman's March turned the south into firewood. I want you to get paid but be a slave I never could ... So when I see that white cowboy hat, I'm thinkin' it's not all good."

He concludes his verse with a peace offering, rapping, "I guess we're both guilty of judgin' the cover not the book. I'd love to buy you a beer, conversate and clear the air. But I see that red flag and I think you wish I wasn't here."

Paisley's reps haven't responded to CNN's request for comment, but they did confirm that "Accidental Racist" was written by the country singer, along with LL Cool J and Lee Thomas Miller.

When CNN caught up with LL at Sunday's Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas, he said he felt the song accomplished what art is supposed to be.

"Music is about, and art is about, connecting different people, and building bridges and breaking the rules," he said. "If it's not compelling, and it's not complex and it's not interesting, then what are we doing it for? So I think that's the right move."

Plus, he concluded, he wanted to do something that was a little different from what he usually offers.

"I needed to do something that was going to be interesting like that, and shake things up, and jump out of the box," he told CNN. "I'm really proud of it, and I hope the world hears it and enjoys it."

 

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