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Music industry needs to forgive Morgan Wallen

Morgan Wallen has been scrutinized for his racial slur that was captured on video and taken out of context earlier this month. Though racial slurs like the one Wallen used are disgraceful and should never be uttered, is it worth shaming someone out of the spotlight when they are still topping music charts across the board?

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Jackie Jahfetson is a senior reporter for The Dickinson Press.

After nearly two weeks, Morgan Wallen has landed himself front and center on a stage of public persecution after a video captured him using a racial slur. Though racial slurs should be revoked out of everyone’s vocabulary, does forgiveness mean shaming someone for the rest of their lives?

Wallen was caught on camera yelling the anti-Black slur after a night of drinking with his buddies. The next day proved merciless for the 27-year-old country music singer and songwriter as radio stations and streaming service playlists, including SiriusXM, Pandora, CMT, iHeartRadio, Cumulus and Entercom chain, yanked his music off their platforms. Even his own label suspended his contract.

However, Wallen’s recent “Dangerous: The Double Album” still tops the Billboard 200 chart for its fifth week in a row along with the unexpected climb of his 2018’s “If I Know Me” album gaining ground in the top 10 for the first time. Clearly, Wallen’s fans have stepped up to support him through this scandal, with 150,000 sales of his new album in the United States alone.

Some critics, such as Black Country Music Association Co-Founder Frankie Staton, believe Wallen is getting off easy and that an apology is not acceptable. But how can that be? Shouldn’t we as human beings learn to forgive and forget?

First of all, the video was patently taken out of context. Secondly, the N-word should be banned across the board, including rap artists who overuse the racial slur; yet those artists are excused from scrutiny. Finally, aren’t we trying to move forward in life than always looking for someone to blame?

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Maybe it’s the Christian in me, but people make mistakes all of the time, even big superstars such as Wallen. How will we as a nation move forward if we are always looking to throw someone under the bus for words that they used?

Country singer Jimmie Allen has encouraged the music industry to allow forgiveness of Wallen to take place. Meanwhile, other artists such as Maren Morris and Mickey Guyton have condemned Wallen’s actions and public apology.

Is it morally right to always remind someone of their flaw? That would be like telling a recovering alcoholic, who has been sober for 10 years, that they were a failure at one point in their life. Blaming someone constantly and reminding them of what they did is not how people can move forward. Sure, Wallen needs to understand his mistake to which he has apologized for on multiple platforms. However, the music industry needs to accept his apology instead of always reminding him that he is a "white man and privileged."

Wallen didn’t have his success served to him on a silver platter. He worked his way up from competing on the television show “The Voice,” to moving to Nashivlle and teaming up with songwriters to compose songs that would take him to the top. Artists like Wallen are hard to come by. Scandals and celebrities go hand in hand, such as they did with Michael Jackson, Chris Brown and Kanye West. The best way to move past a scandal is forgiveness.

Related Topics: DICKINSON
Opinion by Jackie Jahfetson
Jackie Jahfetson is a former reporter for The Dickinson Press.
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