Why did country star Brad Paisley write the song "Accidental Racist"? Because he thinks it's time musicians step in to have a national conversation about race. Paisley told Ellen DeGeneres Tuesday that, along with LL Cool J, he wrote the song to spark the dialogue that has been going on for a while but that he apparently has never before noticed. "I don't know if any of you have noticed but there's some racial tension here and there?" Paisley joked. The Ellen audience laughed-ish. "I don't really trust Hollywood … or talk radio or anything like that to sort of deal with that [race] anymore. I think it's music's turn to have the conversation." Music has been having this conversation for a long time.
Paisley's song, in a way, noted this. "When I put on that T-shirt, the only thing I meant to say is/ I'm a Skynyrd fan," Paisley sings in "Accidental Racist." But Lynyrd Skynyrd said in 2012 that it would stop using the rebel flag because "people like the KKK and skinheads kinda kidnapped the Dixie or Southern flag," only to immediately reverse itself, saying the flag represents "the Civil War was fought over States rights." Correct! A state's right to have slavery and Jim Crow.