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In an exclusive interview with co-host Michael Strahan, Wallen insisted he wasn’t using the N-word in a derogatory manner.
“I had some of my longtime friends in town and we had been partying that weekend and we figured we’d just go hard for the two or three days that they were there,” Wallen explained.
“We say dumb stuff together,” the 28-year-old country singer added. “In our minds, it was just playful. That sounds ignorant but that’s really where it came from. It was wrong. We were all clearly drunk.”
Wallen also revealed he donated a portion of his album sales this year to groups supporting Black people and Black musicians, like the Black Music Action Coalition.
“Before this incident, my album was already doing well,” Wallen said. “It was already being well-received by critics and by fans. Me and my team noticed that whenever this whole incident happened that there was a spike in my sales. So we tried to calculate what the number of – how much it actually spiked from this incident.”
“We got to a number somewhere around $500,000, and we decided to donate that money to some organizations – BMAC being the first one,” he continued.
Wallen’s interview arrives nearly six months after a video taken by one of his neighbors captured him saying the N-word as he came home from a night out. At one point in the clip, Wallen says to one of his friends, “Take care of this pussy-ass motherfucker. Take care of this pussy-ass n***a.”
At the time, Wallen apologized in a statement provided to TMZ.
“I’m embarrassed and sorry. I used an unacceptable and inappropriate racial slur that I wish I could take back. There are no excuses to use this type of language, ever,” Wallen said at the time. “I want to sincerely apologize for using the word. I promise to do better.”
Shortly after the incident, Wallen’s label Big Loud suspended his recording contract indefinitely, while country music stations pulled his music from their playlists.