Nashville NAACP President Speaks Out Against Morgan Wallen’s ‘Good Morning America’ Interview
The president of the Nashville branch of the NAACP is speaking out against Morgan Wallen's Good Morning America interview on Friday morning (July 23), saying the country singer's reasoning for using the N-word in a video that surfaced in February is faulty.
Nashville NAACP President Sheryl Guinn tells TMZ that she thinks Wallen's interview with Michael Strahan wasn't arranged because he felt sorry for using the word, but because he was sorry for being caught.
Wallen told Strahan he'd been partying all weekend with some longtime friends when he used the N-word in reference to one of them. Wallen previously said the incident happened at the end of a "72-hour bender."
"I was around some of my friends, and we say dumb stuff together," Wallen said, adding that he does not use the N-word "frequently," and that he "didn't mean it in any derogatory manner."
"In our minds, it's playful," Wallen told Strahan. "That sounds ignorant, but that's really where it came from."
Strahan pressed Wallen, sharing his own experiences as a Black man having the word directed at him: "So, do you understand why it makes Black people so upset?" Strahan asked directly, to which Wallen replied, "I don't know how to put myself in their shoes, because I'm not [Black] ... I understand that that must sound like, 'He doesn't understand.'"
The interview ended with Strahan asking Wallen straight out if country music has a race problem. "It would seem that way, yeah," Wallen said. "I haven't really sat and thought about that."
Guinn took issue with that as well, telling TMZ that it's a "travesty" that Wallen hasn't thought about it any further. She adds that he displayed his white privilege by not caring enough to learn about the hurt the N-word causes, and she's upset that he tried to pass off his use of the word as "playful."
Guinn previously told TMZ in May that Wallen and his representatives failed to take part in a planned meeting with the NAACP after the organization reached out in the wake of his N-word video going viral. The "Sand in My Boots" singer initially agreed to a meeting, she said, but never followed through.
Guinn believes there is a path to redemption for Wallen, however: She says he can use his huge platform in Nashville to address issues of racial inequality and also encourage fans to get vaccinated against COVID-19, since less than 40 percent of Nashville residents have received a vaccine. The pandemic has disproportionately impacted people of color.
Guinn also thinks Wallen could do some good by speaking out against voter suppression.
For his part, Wallen told GMA that he met with members of the Black Music Action Coalition, as well as gospel singer BeBe Winans, and that he donated the approximately $500,000 he earned after sales of his music spiked after the scandal to BMAC and other organizations.
Wallen also says he checked into a rehab program in California for 30 days to address whether he has an underlying alcohol problem or a larger issue, though he did not clarify whether he believes he does, in fact, have a drinking problem.