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[COMMENTARY] ‘Planet of the Apes’: Spotify’s Joe Rogan Problem Just Got A Whole Lot Worse As ‘N-Word’ Clips Resurface

[COMMENTARY] ‘Planet of the Apes’: Spotify’s Joe Rogan Problem Just Got A Whole Lot Worse As ‘N-Word’ Clips Resurface

Just when you thought the Spotify controversy might be cooling off, India.Arie went ahead and turned up the heat all the way to a raging boil earlier this week, with things coming to a head on Saturday with Twitter catching up to the whole thing.

The Grammy-winning singer-songwriter posted on Instagram that she was following Neil Young and others by taking her music off of the streaming service over Spotify podcaster Joe Rogan‘s “language around race.” On Friday, she explained her decision further in an Instagram Story Highlight titled “Boycott,” providing a mashup video from YouTube clips of Rogan saying the N-word approximately two dozen times on his show in the past. “He shouldn’t even be uttering the word. Don’t even say it, under any context. Don’t say it. That’s where I stand. I have always stood there,” she said. One clip also shows Rogan referring to Black neighborhoods as “Planet of the Apes.”

PASADENA, CA – APRIL 17: Comedian Joe Rogan performs during his appearance
at The Ice House Comedy Club on April 17, 2019 in Pasadena, California.
(Photo by Michael S. Schwartz/Getty Images)

Spotify has now taken down roughly 70 of Rogan’s podcasts without explanation, but it’s really not hard to figure it out. Many of the podcasts that were yanked involved some of the other best worst people, including Alex Jones, Milo Yiannopoulos, Owen Benjamin, and Canadian white supremacist Gavin McInnes, so at least they did something right this week.

Rogan attempted to apologize, but anyone who’s ever watched a white man try to justify using the N-word probably already knows how well it didn’t go. He tried the defense was that he would often use the word in the context of discussing comics of the past who used the word, like Lenny Bruce and Paul Mooney. But that’s still not okay, because how do you not know by this point in world history that it’s not okay?

White men hate to be told they can’t have something. Doesn’t matter what it is: a job, a woman, a mountain. He will push people out of his way to get the job and he’ll be called a trailblazer. He’ll stalk the woman until he wears her down and he’ll be called romantic. He will climb that mountain even if he’s not in shape and he’ll be called brave.

But when a white guy–and it’s almost always a white guy, although a few mediocre white women have also tried it–uses the N-word, he needs to be stopped in his tracks and not allowed to explain or justify. He wants to apologize? Great, this is what it should be:

“I’m sorry I used a word that I shouldn’t have used, because I didn’t understand that it’s not for me to use because it’s not a part of my culture. I should not appropriate things from other cultures and make them worse. I will never use that word again, and I will be more careful when having conversations centered around race.”

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White people have so much, they just can’t allow their hubris to bear the brunt of certain things, like being told they’re wrong or they can’t say a certain word that belongs to a completely different community and culture. If Spotify continues to do nothing about their Joe Rogan problem after this horrendous incident and his weak non-apology, they deserve to lose even more billions.


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