Last night, LL Cool J appeared on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno to explain and defend his controversial song with Brad Paisley, "Accidental Racist." The song had provoked a widespread backlash after lyrics seemed to trivialize the crimes of slavery in an effort to create understanding; both LL and Paisley had previously appeared on ABC News to address it in more detail.
LL seemed to play both sides on Leno, arguing that he "can't defend the song but I can clarify my intention."
I in no way would compare the history of the Confederate flag—the rapes, the tortures, the murders, the lynching, all the things associated with the Confederate flag—with a do-rag. However, when you think about a kid like Trayvon Martin, when you think about some of the things that happen in society based on clothing, when you put it in its proper context, it makes sense...I understand the systemic racism that exists. I get that. But you know what? If the playing field is un-level, if you feel it is unfair, then maybe putting down some of that baggage will help you make it up that hill a little easier.
He also continued to defend it on the grounds of "starting a conversation."
"I'm pleased that the dialogue is happening...as long as people are having conversation, then the art has done its job."