Jimmie Allen Wants to See Morgan Wallen ‘Become a Better Version of Himself’
After video surfaced of Morgan Wallen using a racist slur at the end of what he described as a three-day bender, the swiftly-rising country star quickly lost radio airplay and inclusion on streaming playlists, and his record label "temporarily suspended" his contract. Some fans and other country music industry members agreed that the punishment fit the crime, while others railed against the singer's so-called cancellation.
Jimmie Allen — who, shortly after the video was made public, tweeted about forgiveness and accountability — contacted Wallen directly, he shares in a new episode of country radio DJ Bobby Bones' podcast.
"If we want to make the world a better place, we have to do the work, and the work is putting ourselves in uncomfortable situations," Allen reflects. "When Morgan said what he said, I had two choices: I could yell at him and bash at him on social media, or I could take some time and really process the whole thing, and look at who Morgan is, look at Morgan's state of mind when he said that, look at Morgan's history ..."
Allen thought his fellow artist might need help, and he wanted to help Wallen get it.
"After it happened, I reached out to him," Allen tells Bones, "and we talked every day 'til he left." (Since offering a public apology via social media about a week after the story broke, Wallen has remained silent and has not publicized his whereabouts.)
Allen says he "just kept it 100" with Wallen, trying to offer both a bit of perspective and some assistance. The "Best Shot" singer, who is Black, admits that he wasn't "personally offended or upset" by Wallen's use of the N-word, later offering a theory that its use in some music and movies has "subconsciously embedded" the word in people's lexicons.
"True, you know, you shouldn't say it," Allen adds, "but at the same time, just because I don't agree with what he said doesn't mean I should banish him."
So, instead, Allen told Wallen he wanted to "help [him] become a better version of [him]self" — especially for the sake of Wallen's infant son, Indigo Wilder.
Allen, who is also a father to two children, knew there was more to the problem.
"How do we handle this alcohol situation? How do we handle your outbursts? How do we handle the reckless behavior?" Allen says he asked Wallen, whose headline-making moves in 2020 included two other incidents of public intoxication, the first of which ended in the singer getting arrested and the second of which resulted in him being removed as the musical guest on Saturday Night Live.
"There's so many [more] things than just the N-word, and I feel like everyone was just focused on that," Allen continues. "This is a guy — a fellow country artist — that we've seen struggling for years, you know what I mean? And no one cared until he said the N-word. He's been a person the whole time, with a problem."
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