Country music star Morgan Wallen is taking full responsibility for the racial slur controversy that cast a dark shadow over his successful career as a singer and songwriter.
Now, nearly three years since the scandal first reared its ugly face, the Last Night hitmaker has also shared about the steps he’s taken to learn from his mistakes, following the release of the video to TMZ in early February 2021.
‘There’s no excuse. I’ve never made an excuse. I never will make an excuse,’ Wallen said of the racial slur to Billboard. ‘I’ve talked to a lot of people, heard stories [about] things that I would have never thought about because I wasn’t the one going through it. And I think, for me, in my heart I was never that guy that people were portraying me to be, so there was a little bit of like, “Damn, I’m kind of actually mad about this a little bit because I know I shouldn’t have said this, but I’m really not that guy.”
The country crooner, 30, went on to reveal that he only has himself to blame for his actions.
‘I put myself in just such a s**t spot, you know?’ he told the music publication, before adding, ‘Like, “You really messed up here, guy.” If I was that guy, then I wouldn’t have cared. I wouldn’t have apologized. I wouldn’t have done any of that if I really was that guy that people were saying about me.’
Morgan Wallen, 30, addressed how he’s improved as human following the release of a video where he was seen on camera yelling a racial slur to a friend in a new interview with Billboard
By using ‘any of that’ the musician was referring to the many people he met with as part of his effort to ‘get my s**t together’, that included 300 Elektra Entertainment chairman/CEO Kevin Liles, Universal Music Group executive vp/chief people and inclusion officer Eric Hutcherson, and Grammy-winning gospel artist Bebe Winans.
He also had conversations with the Black Music Action Coalition (BMAC) and other groups in an effort to educate himself ‘to learn and try to be better.’
After all the self-introspection over the course of nearly three years and Wallen thinks he’s a changed man for the better.
‘That person is definitely not the same person I am now,’ he said of his transformation, while making sure to minimize the hurt he caused with his words.
Up until early 2021, Wallen had made himself into a bonafide country music star with the release of his first two studio albums: If I Know Me (2018) and Dangerous: The Double Album (2021)
The debut album album peaked at number 10 on the US Billboard 200 Top Country Albums chart and number one on the US Top Country Albums chart behind such hits singles as The Way I Talk, Up Down, a collaboration with Florida Georgia Line, Whiskey Glasses and Chasin’ You, with the latter three topping the Billboard Country Airplay chart.
It went on to become certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in September 2020 and double platinum in January 2022.
There would be more success for the Sneedville, Tennessee native upon the release of his sophomore effort in January 2021.
Dangerous: The Double Album, which was proceeded by the singles More Than My Hometown and 7 Summers, debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 and the US Top Country Albums charts.
The racial slur controversy came just weeks after the release of his hit second studio album- Dangerous: The Double Album – in January 2021, at a time when he should have been relishing in all his success
He would be caught on camera using the racial slur about a month after his second record was released, which at first was a time to relish in all of his success.
On the clip, he can be seen and heard using the N-word as he told a friend to get another friend home safely after what was believed to be a night of drinking alcohol between him and a group of pals in Nashville.
‘I’m embarrassed and sorry,’ Wallen told TMZ in a statement at the time, after the publication posted the video. ‘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. I want to sincerely apologize for using the word. I promise to do better.’
Despite the apology, which TMZ posted along wit the video, the backlash from the public was both swift and severe. Radio playlists pulled his music, his booking agency dropped him, awards shows deemed him ineligible, and his own label suspended him.
The father of one ended up spending the rest of 2021 out of the spotlight to work on himself in order to learn from his mistakes.
But in a true show of his fan base, he was able to weather the storm and try to make amends, all while learning his mistakes and giving back to those in need.
‘There’s no excuse. I’ve never made an excuse. I never will make an excuse,’ Wallen said of the racial slur incident to Billboard, before sharing about how he’s been able to give back to communities in need through donations from his ticket sales
One way he has helped create a silver lining to the racial slur controversy is through the Morgan Wallen Foundation (formerly the More Than My Hometown Foundation).
He has been donating three dollars from every concert ticket he sells to his foundation, which in turn helps underserved communities through supporting music and sports youth programs.
By February 2022 Wallen and Big Loud Records (on behalf of Wallen from his royalties) had donated $500,000 to organizations such as The National Museum Of African American Music, Rock Against racism and the BMAC.
His contributions topped $1 million in 2023, which included donating $100,000 to the Atlanta Baves Foundation and $500,000 to Habitat For Humanity Of Greater Nashville to help revitalize a baseball and softball complex.
In another sign people have forgiven Wallen, he is currently on top of Billboard’s Country Airplay chart with his single Wasted on You.