Country star Brad Paisley’s new single “Accidental Racist,” a duet with LL Cool J on his new album “Wheelhouse,” out today, is making headlines for its lyrical conversation between a white Southerner and black New Yorker about racism.
The song caused a flurry of reaction across social media, which exactly what Paisley intended with the song – to spark a national conversation on race.
“I felt like when we were writing this song it wasn’t necessarily up to the media … or talk radio or anything like that to deal with that anymore,” Paisley, 40, says in an interview airing Tuesday on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. “I think it’s music’s turn to have the conversation.”
The song features Paisley’s character walking into a coffee shop wearing a shirt with a Confederate flag on it. Paisley sings, “[I’m] just a proud rebel son with an ol’ can of worms/Lookin’ like I got a lot to learn.” LL Cool J, 45, replies. “If you don’t judge my do-rag … I won’t judge your red flag/If you don’t judge my gold chains … I’ll forget the iron chains.”
Critics of the song accuse Paisley of glossing over the history of racism in the South. Actor/comedian Patton Oswalt tweeted: “I can’t wait for Brad Paisley & LL Cool J’s next single: ‘Whoopsy Daisy, Holocaust, My Bad.’ ”