Considering we’re in-between real seasons of The Bachelor and Bachelorette, I thought we’d get a break from the eye-roll-worthy news and other bullsh*t that tends to follow the franchise’s contestants. But over the weekend, Hannah Brown faced backlash because she said the n-word during an Instagram live. Smfh. Just when we were all finally rooting for her.
Hannah dropped the slur during her IG live on Saturday when she was trying to sing the lyrics to DaBaby’s “Rockstar.” Shortly after, she noticed people calling her out for it in the comments and gave a weak-ass apology, saying, “I did? I’m so sorry…I was singing the—I’m so sorry” and at one point even placed the blame on her brother Patrick. She tried to continue her live as normal, but people continued interrogating her in the comments. Hannah said, “I really don’t think I said that word…I don’t think I said that word, but now I’m like, oh god. I’d never use that word. I’ve never called anybody that. We don’t say that word….So, you know what, I’m going to stay here, and y’all can think I said whatever I did or think I’m something I’m not, but I’m not that.”
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I don’t know about you, but anytime I say a word without even realizing it, or have to actively try to remember if I said something, it’s because it’s a word I’m so comfortable using that I don’t even need to give it a second thought. And let’s not forget the fact that Hannah and her friend were smiling and awkwardly giggling during her entire apology and she immediately brushed the whole thing off, with her main justification being that she was singing a song. I don’t know who (besides Hannah Brown) needs to hear this, but just because the n-word is used in a song does not make it ok for you to sing or say it if you’re not black.
After getting asked by Bachelor Nation fans to respond, former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay went on Instagram Live yesterday to address the situation. She made it clear that she didn’t want to drag Hannah (which she didn’t), but felt like even though she confronted Hannah directly, she wanted to use her platform to encourage everyone to be better, do better, and hold others accountable for the hurt that they’ve caused. Rachel talked about the history of the n-word and called out the fact that people try to justify the use of it because it’s “part of a song.” (As a black person who’s only ever been addressed with the n-word in a negative way, I can’t even begin to describe how much hearing non-black people sing or say it makes my skin crawl.)
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Rachel then went on to compare the use of the n-word to the use of the word b*tch. (Before you fire off in the comments—she was in no way saying the severity of the use of the two are equal.) She said, “the word b*tch used to be a word that nobody could use. It was so vile to use that against a woman. Then women started to take power back over the word and they call each other ‘hey b*tch,’ ‘what’s up b*tch?’ they say it all the time. If a man went would calling a woman a b*tch, we would be all up in arms because it’s not ok for him to do that. You see women doing that because they’re taking power back in the word. That is what the argument is for rappers that use [the n-word] in a song.”
She continued, “Non-black people should not feel ok about saying that word. It’s wrong, you wouldn’t say it on TV, you wouldn’t say it on the radio, you wouldn’t say it in front of your black friend.”
A few other celebrities and members of Bachelor Nation took to Instagram to their thoughts, disappointment, and/or anger about the matter. Hannah has since posted an apology on her Instagram story, saying, “I owe you all a major apology. There is no excuse and I will not justify what I said. I have read your messages and seen the hurt I have caused. I own it all. I am terribly sorry and know that whether in public or private, this language is unacceptable. I promise to do better.” Did this apology come from a place of sincerity or was it an attempt to save face? Considering it took over half a day for her to really apologize, we’ll never know for sure. But I’m going to take it at face value.
Hopefully the general public and celebrities alike learn from this experience. Because as stated above, whether you’re in public or in private, the use of this language by a non-black person is unacceptable. Just because you have a black friend who “doesn’t care if you say it” doesn’t mean all black people are automatically ok with it. Just because you aren’t personally offended by the use of the n-word doesn’t mean others won’t be. And one more time for the people in the back: just because it’s written in a song does not mean you have a free pass. If you did, it wouldn’t be censored on the radio. Saying “it shouldn’t be in the song if they didn’t want me to sing it” is not a legitimate justification.
Image: ABC; bachelorteaspill, hannahbrown / Instagram