India Arie used her Feb. 14 interview with Trevor Noah on “The Daily Show” to explain why she thinks Joe Rogan is “consciously racist.” The Grammy-winning singer requested her music be taken off Spotify at the beginning of February, citing Rogan’s problematic “language about race.” Arie first brought attention to Rogan’s history of racist language by posting a video compilation of Rogan using the N-word along with a clip of him comparing a movie theater in a Black neighborhood to “The Planet of the Apes.”
Arie told Noah this week that she felt “disrespected” by Rogan’s language, although she did not expect anyone to pay attention to her posts because she’s “used to this certain type of treatment from the industry where they don’t listen.” The singer is “still in a fight” with Universal Music Group over getting her music off Spotify, but she said that’s still her intent because Rogan “is being consciously racist.”
“I think he was saying it because it got a rise out of people,” Arie said. “That’s why he would say it. He knew that it was inappropriate. And I think the fact that he did it repeatedly and was conscious and knew, I think that is being racist.”
Although Rogan apologized, Arie said, “When I go deeper and ask myself what I really think from my commitment to truth that I’ve made this last year, what I really think is that he was being consciously racist and it makes me wonder what he talks like behind closed doors.”
“I don’t think being a racist makes you a bad person, necessarily. It makes you a person who was raised in our society,” Arie added, noting that Rogan’s “power” as a podcast host with millions of listeners “emboldens” his followers to act the same and use the same language. A handful of these followers have contacted Arie directly on social media using the same racial slurs.
“I don’t think he fully understands what he did,” Arie said. “If you want to really lead your listeners down a new path, then lead them, to the point where they don’t feel that is the right language to come in my DMs and call me an ‘N-word’ in defense of him.”
Watch India Arie’s full interview on “The Daily Show” in the video below.