04-23-2018  6:47 am      •     
The Skanner Report
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NEWS BRIEFS

Think & Drink with Rinku Sen and Mary Li

Event takes place Wednesday, May 16, at Alberta Rose Theater ...

April 24 is Voter Registration Deadline for May 15 Primary Election

Tuesday, April 24, is voter registration and party choice deadline for May 15 Primary Election ...

Portland Libraries Celebrate National Poetry Month

April poetry events and recommended reading from Multnomah County libraries ...

PCRI Launches the Pathway 1000 Implementation Plan

Pathway 1000 a bold and ambitious 10-year displacement mitigation initiative ...

AG Rosenblum Launches New Resource on Oregon’s New Gun Safety Laws

One-page handout aims to educate Oregonians about the new law ...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

OPINION

The Skanner News Endorsements for May 2018 Elections

Read The Skanner News' endorsements for Multnomah County, Portland City Council and more ...

Will HUD Secretary Ben Carson Enforce the Fair Housing Act?

Julianne Malveaux questions HUD Secretary Ben Carson’s ability to enforce the Fair Housing Act ...

Waiting While Black in Philadelphia Can Get You Arrested

Reggie Shuford on the daily indignities African-Americans face in Philadelphia and around the country ...

Black People Must Vote or Reap the Consequences

Jeffrey Boney on the importance of voting in the Black community ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

ENTERTAINMENT

CNN\'s Denise Quan Contributed to This Report

(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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