The Roots‘ drummer Questlove has apologised for an Instagram post which caused controversy and offended his “Asian brothers and sisters”.
Before Christmas Questlove was on tour in Japan with The Roots and, after finding a child’s train toy, posted an image to Instagram with a message for his manager Dawn Englehart asking if he could change around the letters of Soul Train to “Sour Tlain” with the hashtag “#chipanesedownunder2013”.
The post has since been deleted, but as reported on OhNoTheyDidn’t, Englehart, herself Asian, simply responded “Nah you’re in The Loots. You’re … Arrowed.” That wasn’t the end of it, however, with scores of fans wading in to voice their disapproval, while a further video post recorded in a Japanese department store with Questlove’s introducing the video by saying “Ladies and gentlemen, they are talking in tongues.” The video was later deleted after more criticism from fans.
The incident prompted the famously socially conscious musician and producer to write a lengthy apology on his Facebook page. It read as follows:
“ok. addressing the elephant in the room on Christmas. unfortunately, i’ve offended my asian brothers & sisters with an IG post which i made during my recent tour of japan. in that post, i likened a japanese department store employee’s vocal intonation to that of a (church) deacon speaking in tongues.
clearly, i didn’t intend to offend anyone (asian or otherwise), clearly, i *thought* that comparison was funny-cute… and clearly i thought wrong. in hindsight, it’s easy to see how my post was yet another example of the ugly, american flipping yet another ugly/racially/culturally insensitive script. so, let me make this abundantly clear…. THE ISH THAT I SAID WAS DUMB (PERIOD).
And no, it wasn’t Duck Dynasty/Phil Robertson mean spirited-xenophobic dumb (but the last time i checked, sleep was still the cousin of death) —look. i’m a human being and dumber yet, i’m a public figure. if you’re lucky enough to be either of the aforementioned, then not only should one stay clear of saying or writing hurtful things, one should actively work against feeling comfortable, thinking hurtful thoughts. given that black culture consistently finds itself at the butt end of so many offensive “outsider” jokes, I should be way, way more sensitive (after all, who’s zooming who).
I for one, should never allow my cultural bias to take precedence over my “examined life” (clunkers be damned). i know the whole kinder and gentler thing reeks of a self serving political correctness, but eff it, it’s “all me”. so, here i am once again, publicly coming to terms with some more of my stupid “say, say, say” ish. allow me to ask for forgiveness and understanding from anyone that i’ve offended. I will be better in 2014 (i promise) thank you. –akt.”