Kane Brown Talks Black Lives Matter, Unrest in 2020: ‘I’m Glad My Daughter Doesn’t Know What’s Going On’
At home for the summer due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, Kane Brown is grateful to be around for his daughter Kingsley's big milestones — but he's also extremely glad she's still a baby and likely won't remember how tumultuous the first year of her life was. In a new interview, Brown reflects on 2020's social unrest, and why he released his song "Worldwide Beautiful" in the midst of it all.
"2020’s been tough in general. I’m glad my daughter doesn’t know what’s going on, and she’s not going to remember," Brown tells Hits Daily Double. "Having a biracial daughter, I have a lot of people coming at me, asking, 'How are you going to explain to her when she’s pulled over?' and 'What are you going to tell her about the difference between her and her white friends?'"
As the son of a white mother and a Black father, Brown has learned the "rules" for if he gets stopped by law enforcement: "I know if I get stopped, I need to put my hands out the window so they can see I don’t have a weapon. You have to be real careful about how you speak, because you don’t know who’s walking up to the car; you don’t know what they’re scared of or acting out of," the artist explains, echoing the conversations many people of color have had with their children through the years.
However, Brown has also had to deal with people, both Black and white, "bad-mouthing" him because he is biracial. "I’m both and I’m neither, depending how you see it," the singer says, but while others try to use his heritage to tear him down, Brown tries to use it "to understand and see each [side] without losing the other."
"If I’m coming from my Black side, I’m super-scared if a cop pulls me over. But the cop? They’re in the line of fire every day, and that’s part of it," he reflects. "So I try to love everybody: the cops who do their jobs, anyone who’s a good person in this society."
Indeed, Brown knows not all cops are bad — "The ones who get this power trip with a badge, they're out there ... but that's not all cops," he says — but he also knows that the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement in response to recent deaths of unarmed Black men and women at the hands of police officers is incredibly important.
"It’s not that all lives don’t matter, it’s that all lives can’t matter until Black lives really matter. Until then, you’re not gonna get there," Brown says. "We will never find peace until everybody understands. You need to have understanding, not just people yelling at each other, wanting to be right. Then no one wins, and people just get angrier on both sides."
"If everybody was just trying to find common ground, to understand where the other was coming from, what their fears are," Brown continues, "that seems a much better way to find a solution."
As the country star explains, racial injustice isn't a political issue; it's a human rights issue. "It’s strange how they think it’s politics and not something that’s hurtful and wrong. They won’t see that," he says of those who oppose the Black Lives Matter movement.
Brown himself advocates for equality and love in "Worldwide Beautiful," a song he released in early June and after which he named his now-rescheduled 2020 tour. The song, the singer explains, is "a story about where I've been."
"Having to grow up fast, I maybe saw some things in a different way than other kids. My world was different, and it made me guarded," reflects Brown, whose father wasn't around and whose family struggled with poverty, "But it also showed me how to see things from other places."
Brown began writing "Worldwide Beautiful" with Shy Carter, who is also Black and has been one of Brown's collaborators since Brown's early days in Nashville. "He encouraged me to open up and be real about things. He understood," the star says of Carter, with whom he also wrote his song "Learning."
After they came up with the idea for "Worldwide Beautiful" in conversation, Brown and Carter enlisted Ryan Hurd and Jordan Schmidt, who are both white, to help them co-write it. The move was an effort to create diversity among the song's creators.
"We figured if just Jordan and Ryan wrote it, or just Shy and I wrote it, it would’ve been one thing," Brown explains. "But together, this is what I’m talking about. There’s two sides to everything that’s going on, different ways of looking at all of this. The trouble is, everybody is right, right where they are, but it doesn’t move you any closer together. We need to come together."
Brown has been pleased with the response to the song. "I left the comments open, let people say what they’re gonna say, then tried to educate with respect and kindness. I didn’t worry. I was happy, and that didn’t change," he says, and he's received love for his work across racial and other differentiating lines.
"To have people on both sides saying they felt it — that’s how we start moving forward and coming together in love," Brown says. "Some people have to change their hearts and minds, but we’ll get there."
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