India Arie has provided an explanation for why she no longer accepts Joe Rogan’s apology for past race-related remarks.
Joe Rogan has dominated headlines across the mainstream media arguably as much as any public figure in 2022 thus far. First, he was the focal point of a COVID-19 controversy where he was accused of spreading and facilitating “deadly misinformation” related to the pandemic. And more recently, he had to answer for past race-related comments made on his podcast The Joe Rogan Experience.
The individual who many are crediting for making these past remarks widely known is multi-platinum and Grammy-Award winning artist India Arie.
On her Instagram page, Arie shared a pair of videos that played back Rogan’s past remarks. The first video is a compilation of Rogan saying “the N-Word” multiple times. In the second video, he compares an all-black neighborhood to “Planet of the Apes.”
Arie has expressed that her reason for sharing those videos was not to “cancel” Rogan but rather to protest Spotify choosing to pay him $100 million (now reportedly $200 million), while herself and working musicians worldwide are paid scraps.
Shortly after Arie posted these videos, Rogan apologized for the comments. Arie herself would then applaud Rogan for his apology, stating that she liked much of what he had to say.
Arie Believes Rogan’s Behavior Was “Consciously Racist”
Earlier this week, India Arie appeared on The Daily Show With Trevor Noah to discuss, among other topics, the Joe Rogan situation. The conversation began with Arie defining the difference between “conscious racism” and “unconscious racism.”
“I think there are two things that we consider when we talk about racism,” Arie began. “And one is conscious racism, and the other is unconscious racism. And so I have learned in my life to make room and forgiveness for people who are unconsciously racist. Because our whole society is built on racist concepts. So if you’re born into it, if you’re not actively working to not be racist, then you have some of it in you…
“And then there’s conscious racism, when you know you’re doing it…and if a person keeps doing it, is that when we call them a racist? So if you know you’re doing it and you keep doing it, I would say that is a racist. And so for me, when I think about Joe Rogan, I think that he is being consciously racist.”
Arie went on to argue that it was unrealistic to think Rogan did not already know there was no appropriate context for him to use “the N word” and that he said it anyway to get “a rise out of people.” Arie would go on to say that she takes no pleasure in making this categorization of Rogan, but she feels the evidence cannot be denied.
“And I don’t even like saying that because I’m a sensitive old soul, and I want to believe the best in people. So when I first heard his apology, my instinct is to go, ‘He tried.’ But when I go deeper and ask myself what I really think from my commitment to truth that I made this last year, what I really think is that he was being consciously racist, and it makes me wonder what he talks like behind closed doors. If you have even a consciousness where you can call black people apes, that’s something there.”
Arie Presents Path For Rogan To Prove Apology Was Sincere
Arie would then turn her attention to Rogan’s supporters. Ever since Arie shared the videos of Rogan and this story went viral, she claims she has been met with racist and abusive comments and messages on social media. Thus, Arie says that if Rogan wants to prove that he really cares about making change, he can use his platform to help guide his followers down a better path.
“And so I want to tell you: My DMs and my comments are wild right now of people just—all kinds of racial slurs and misogynistic ones, too. All kinds. And so that says to me that these people who want to defend Joe Rogan think that this is the right language to do it.
“So Joe Rogan needs to do more than go, ‘Oh, yeah, I’m sorry.’ He needs to—if you really want to lead your listeners down a new path—then lead them to the point where they don’t feel that its the right language to come into my DMs and call me an N-word in defense of him. He needs to teach them that they shouldn’t feel that way. They’re not making him look good.”
Arie and Noah would then point out the irony of Rogan’s supporters defending Rogan against accusations of racism while themselves being openly racist. For Noah’s part, he stressed the importance of people being allowed to reform and grow from past mistakes, otherwise no one will ever admit to doing anything “racist,” let alone being one.
Rogan has not addressed this controversy again after his initial apology. Beyond his allegedly abusive supporters on social media, some black fighters who have stood up for him include UFC Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya, Terrence McKinney, and Mike “Biggie” Rhodes. However, Hollywood megastar and UFC superfan Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is among those who have disavowed him.
You can view Trevor Noah’s full interview with India Arie below.