India.Arie has weighed in on the ongoing controversy surrounding Joe Rogan after he issued an apology for repeatedly using the N-word on his podcast over the years.
The Grammy winner said she was taking the opportunity to “clear some things up” in a lengthy video statement she posted to Instagram on Wednesday. (Watch her full response here.)
Last week, the singer helped shed light on Rogan’s frequent use of racist language when she shared a disturbing video compilation of him using the N-word on numerous occasions on his show, “The Joe Rogan Experience,” which now streams exclusively on Spotify.
She cited his language to illustrate why she recently requested to pull her music and podcast from the streaming platform.
Arie clarified in her Wednesday video statement that she wasn’t “trying to attack anyone” when she shared the compilation but instead was “standing up for myself.”
She said she thought Rogan did “well” with his apology, though she viewed some parts of it as disingenuous.
“Because everyone on the planet knows that that word is loaded,” she said, adding that she thought the podcaster was “at best” trying to be “edgy.”
The singer also argued that she doesn’t “believe in cancel culture” and that if Rogan left Spotify he could very well land at another streaming platform.
She clarified that she never called Rogan a racist and that she simply chose not to associate with Spotify after seeing the video compilation.
Rogan posted a video to Instagram on Saturday apologizing for repeatedly using the slur, calling the viral clip “the most regretful and shameful thing that I’ve ever had to talk about publicly.”
Arie pointed out last week that Spotify has an exclusive licensing deal with Rogan, who has spouted racist language on his show for years, and that it was her right to pull her music and podcast from the streaming platform ― especially as many have called out Spotify for underpaying artists.
“Spotify is built on the back of the music streaming, so they take this money that’s built from streaming and they pay this guy $100 million but they pay us 0.003% of a penny?” she said in a since-expired Instagram story.
She announced her desire to leave the streaming platform after Neil Young, and then others, announced they would pull their content from Spotify due to Rogan spreading misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic.
Elsewhere in her video on Wednesday, Arie argued that her comments about Rogan and Spotify were not an example of censorship ― despite what some critics have said ― since “censorship is being at the threat of loss of life or freedom for your words.”
“No one’s being censored here,” she said.
She then paraphrased an argument made by writer Roxane Gay in a New York Times opinion essay, adding, “This is not censorship, this is about curation.”
“Spotify is making a choice about the space they choose to curate. I and other creators are making choices about the space we want to curate, the life we want to curate, by choosing spaces we want to be in or not,” Arie said.
In an interview with CNN’s Don Lemon on “Don Lemon Tonight” on Monday, Arie said she appreciated Rogan acknowledging that the N-word is not a white person’s word to use.
She also pointed out that although people within the Black community may have different opinions about using the word, when it comes people outside the community using the slur, “we should be able to say, ‘just don’t.’”