Brown went on Instagram Live on Saturday to formally address her controversy when she said the N-word singing lyrics to DaBaby’s song “Rockstar” two weeks ago. She had previously issued an apology statement, immediately after she originally said the racial slur, but was criticized for her handling of the situation, given the magnitude of the controversy.
Brown said she chose not to speak up sooner because she didn’t want to offend anyone, given what is going on in the world, and she wanted to take time to process and learn from her mistake.
“I am thankful for you guys who will give me the chance, and for those of you who won’t just yet, I understand that, too. You have to grow trust for people, especially when someone has hurt you…I’ll be better,” Brown said on Saturday, broadcasting live on her Instagram with a caption that read, “From my heart, I’m sorry.”
“I didn’t want it to be the wrong time,” she said. “I’ve been so concerned with not wanting to be disrespectful in taking up space when the events that are going on and the death of George Floyd is happening and there is so much suffering and anger. I didn’t want to offend anybody. And I may be offending people right now, but I realize that it’s not about the right time. It’s about the right thing. I’m so lucky to have the platform that I have, and I know a lot of people are asking for white people to use their platform and to take accountability.
Brown said she does not want to be complicit with the problem and wants to take accountability for her actions and her words. She explained to her millions of followers that she has been reading and journaling, and took copious pages of notes, as she told her viewers that she has been working with an educator to help understand her mistake.
“I just can’t stay silent anymore,” she said. “I’m not trying to drudge up old things about what I did when there is so much going on in the world, but I do know that I have to take accountability, so this is coming from the bottom of my heart, I sincerely don’t want to hurt anybody else. I want to be part of the solution.”
Brown’s apology for her racial slur comes in the midst of violent protests spreading across America in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd, which sparked major protests across the country. Floyd died after Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who was charged with third-degree manslaughter, used his knee to pin down the unarmed black man, who was handcuffed on the ground, pleading to the officer, “I can’t breathe.”
Brown is one of ABC’s most popular alums from “The Bachelor” franchise, with nearly 3 million Instagram followers. ABC has invested in Brown, casting her to compete on “Dancing With the Stars,” which she won in 2019.
Ever since Brown said the N-word, social media backlash piled on and her comment section has been flooded with negative posts, though it did not appear the reality show star lost any brand partnership deals. Brown is not technically associated with ABC anymore, since her time on “The Bachelor” franchise and “Dancing With the Stars” had already come to an end, and prior to her social media controversy, the network had not planned to include her in their summer series, “The Bachelor: The Greatest Seasons — Ever,” which will recap previous seasons and bring back franchise alums for video interviews with host Chris Harrison.
Bachelor Nation stars responded to Brown dropping the N-word, most notably with Rachel Lindsay — “The Bachelorette” from Season 13, and the only black lead in the franchise’s 18-year history — condemning Brown for not continuing the dialogue surrounding the dangers of using the N-word, other than the apology she issued on Instagram. Lindsay said she was personally hurt and offended, and was disappointed in Brown’s handling of the situation.
Contestants from “The Bachelor” franchise amass gigantic social media followings, enabling them to pursue lucrative careers online, making well into the six-figures annually from brand partnerships and sponsored posts. Major talent agencies, like UTA, benefit off of representing reality stars who turn into social media sensations with single sponsored posts bringing in upwards of $10,000 for many personalities.
Brown is one of the most-followed “Bachelor” alums on Instagram, if not the most followed. After her season of “The Bachelorette, she was widely applauded for her candidness about sexuality and faith on-air, coining one of the most famous lines in reality TV history, “I’ve had sex, and Jesus still loves me.”
After Brown won “Dancing With the Stars,” she was set to take part in the “DWTS” live tour, which has been cancelled for 2020, due to the coronavirus pandemic. It’s unclear if Brown was set to take part in any future iteration of the tour, and if those plans were affected by the N-word fallout. (ABC is not involved with the touring event, and the production company behind the “DWTS” tour did not immediately respond to Variety‘s request for comment.)