What We Learned: Brad Paisley and LL Cool J Discuss “Accidental Racist” on Jay Leno

Brad Paisley and LL Cool J make for great headlines.

This week, the country star and rap legend collaborated on “Accidental Racist.” It has garnered such a controversial response that they went on ABC News to speak on their single.

Since then, both have appeared on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno to defend their song and to elaborate on it with more detail. We’ve pulled key quotes from their conversations with Leno.

Paisley:

“I think racism has been on my mind. Last year, we had some really powerful videos deal with it very well. We had Lincoln and Django. The media deals with it all the time. I thought it would be an interesting conversation between country music and rap music to deal with this subject between two individuals in a loving and sort of understanding way.

“What we’re trying to do is explore what happens when two people have a dialogue. The entire album Wheelhouse is meant to touch on some themes that I think aren’t normally touched on in music, and in the context of the album, the song makes a little more sense. But it feels like, when you take this song out of this record, it sort of like, ‘what got them on that?’ Its kind of unfortunate but maybe something good can come of this.”

LL Cool J:

“I in no way would compare the history of the Confederate flag—the rapes, the tortures, the murders, the lynching, all the things associated with the Confederate flag—with a do-rag. However, when you think about a kid like Trayvon Martin, when you think about some of the things that happen in society based on clothing, when you put it in its proper context, it makes sense. I understand the systemic racism that exists. I get that. But you know what? If the playing field is un-level, if you feel it is unfair, then maybe putting down some of that baggage will help you make it up that hill a little easier.

“If a guy like Brad Paisley and LL Cool J can come together and have a conversation, then that can happen in D.C. That can happen in other parts of the world.”

“Accidental Racist” is expected to appear on Paisley’s Wheelhouse. The pair recently released another collaboration, “Live for You,” which will appear on LL’s Authentic.