‘I Was Dumb’: Questlove Apologizes for ‘Racist’ Jokes About Asians


The Roots drummer Questlove has responded to allegations that several jokes he made during his Japanese tour were “racist” against Japanese people.

The famed musician had posted several photos and videos to his social media accounts that included the stereotypical Asian interchanging of “R” and “L” sounds. “[I]s it racist for me to write the Sour Tlain?” he captioned one photograph of a holiday-themed train.

Gossip blog Oh No They Didn’t flagged the social media posts and decried Questo’s “racism,” in addition to that of his manager Dawn Englehart and his friend, model/author Padma Lakshmi.

Questlove (born Ahmir Khalib Thompson) took to his Facebook page Friday morning to address the criticism with a contrite apology and explanation of his understanding of how his words may have hurt many people.

Full post included below:

ok. addressing the elephant in the room on christmas

unfortunately, i’ve offended my asian brothers & sisters with an IG post which i made during my recent tour of japan. in that post, i likened a japanese department store employee’s vocal intonation to that of a (church) deacon speaking in tongues. clearly, i didn’t intend to offend anyone (asian or otherwise), clearly, i *thought* that comparison was funny-cute

… and clearly i thought wrong.

in hindsight, it’s easy to see how my post was yet another example of the ugly, american flipping yet another ugly/racially/culturally insensitive script. so, let me make this abundantly clear….


And no, it wasn’t Duck Dynasty/Phil Robertson mean spirited-xenophobic dumb (but the last time i checked, sleep was still the cousin of death)

—look. i’m a human being and dumber yet, i’m a public figure. if you’re lucky enough to be either of the aforementioned, then not only should one stay clear of saying or writing hurtful things, one should actively work against feeling comfortable, thinking hurtful thoughts. given that black culture consistently finds itself at the butt end of so many offensive “outsider” jokes, I should be way, way more sensitive (after all, who’s zooming who). I for one, should never allow my cultural bias to take precedence over my “examined life” (clunkers be damned). i know the whole kinder and gentler thing reeks of a self serving political correctness, but eff it, it’s “all me”.

so, here i am once again, publicly coming to terms with some more of my stupid “say, say, say” ish. allow me to ask for forgiveness and understanding from anyone that i’ve offended. I will be better in 2014 (i promise)

-thank you.


[Image via Wes Washington]

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