Country star Morgan Wallen made an appearance on Good Morning America on July 23, where he talked about a video of him drunkenly shouting the N-word. The video, which was recorded by a neighbor, quickly blew up after being posted to TMZ back in February.
“I was around some of my friends, and you know, we just… we say dumb stuff together,” Wallen said of the incident after being asked why he used the N-word by host Michael Strahan. “It was in our minds, it’s playful, you know? I don’t know if that sounds ignorant, but that’s really where it came from. And it’s wrong.”
Wallen said in the interview that he does not use the word often, only “around this group of friends.” Giving some background on what was happening in the video in question, Wallen explained, “We were all clearly drunk, and I was asking his girlfriend to take care of him because he was drunk and he was leaving. I didn’t mean it in any derogatory manner at all.”
Talking about the morality of the word, Wallen said, “I think I was just ignorant about it. I don’t think I sat down and said, ‘Hey, is this right or is this wrong?’ I do understand, when I say that I’m using it playfully or ignorantly, I understand that that must sound like he doesn’t understand.”
According to Wallen, he and his managers have determined that the video gained them about $500,000 since it’s release. As a result, he says they have donated that amount to the Black Music Action Coalition.
The fallout from the video resulted in Wallen’s music being dropped from radio playlists, including SiriusXM, Pandora, iHeartRadio, CMT and Entercom. His record label, Big Loud, even suspended him indefinitely shortly after the video came out. Following his music’s reduction in radio play February, his sales increased by over 300 percent, resulting in his January-released record Dangerous: The Double Album becoming the number one album in America. This eventually resulted in the LP becoming the first country album to hit seven weeks at number one.
Fellow country star Jason Isbell, who originally wrote the song “Cover Me Up,” which was covered by Wallen and featured on Dangerous: The Double Album, announced in February that he would donate the songwriting royalties from Wallen’s album to the Nashville chapter of the NAACP