Brad Paisley’s new song with LL Cool J, “Accidental Racist,” has unleashed a storm of controversy for its lyrics that attempt to address racial tensions in the South. The song appears aimed at helping to bridge misunderstandings but left many outraged.
It starts with a guy apologizing for the Confederate flag on his T-shirt to a a worker he encountered at the local Starbucks. As his protagonist sings, “when I put on that T-shirt, the only thing I meant to say, is I’m a Skynyrd fan.”
“I’m proud of where I’m from,” the chorus goes, “but not everything we’ve done.”
In the second half of the song, LL steps in with a counterpoint to Brad’s “white cowboy hat” POV. LL’s lines include lyrics like, “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.”
LL eventually concludes, “If you don’t judge my do-rag, I won’t judge your red flag.” So, all good, right?
Not so fast. While some might see the song as a sincere attempt at mending centuries of racial tension, others who’ve heard it find that the lines about “Southern pride” and “red flags” only fuel the flames of a still-hot issue.
Check out more about “Accidental Racist,” including an explanation from Paisley, on Radio.com.