R&B Singer India.Arie: “I Don’t Think Joe Rogan is Racist”

Videos by American Songwriter

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India.Arie made waves recently for leaving Spotify over “racist” content and sharing a video of famed podcast host Joe Rogan saying the N-word seemingly dozens of times.

Now, speaking with CNN’s Don Lemon, the R&B singer has made a distinction. She believes racist behavior occurred but not that Rogan, himself, is racist.

India.Arie said to Lemon (via The Hill): “I don’t think Joe Rogan is racist for using [the N-word].”

She continued, “I think he’s insensitive for using it. So just don’t.”

Rogan has come under major fire after Arie shared the video. Most recently The Daily Show host, Trevor Noah, criticized Rogan for his repeated use of the word (see the video here).

After the video came to light, Rogan himself apologized, saying certain that “I wish I hadn’t said [that].”

Rogan, along with saying the N-word many times, compared Blacks to “apes” and said their brains are “different” than white people’s.

“I have to say, I did think he did a fine job with his apology,” Arie told Lemon. “He said a lot of the things I would want to hear someone say. The thing that stuck out for me most was when he said, ‘It’s not my word to use.’ And I think changed behavior is what we’re really looking for.”

Originally, Arie’s criticism of Rogan and Spotify—platform that paid $100 million to host his podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience—came on the heels of artists like Neil Young and Joni Mitchell leaving Spotify for what they said was COVID-19 misinformation.

Since then, Young has doubled down, going as far as saying Spotify workers and staff should “get out.”

Arie also told Lemon, “I knew about Joe Rogan’s insensitive comments around race before because I’m a podcast listener, and I had heard many episodes of his podcast.”

She added, “As a working musician who has always had issues with Spotify, and then they bring in this Joe Rogan thing, and now it creates a thing that I can’t not speak up about. He’s not the reason, but he is the final reason.”

Perhaps predictably, others on Twitter are firing back at Arie, saying she’s walking back her position. Journalist Tariq Nasheed noted on Twitter: “She [Arie] got flipped quick.”

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