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Jason Isbell is donating the money he's made off of Morgan Wallen's album to the NAACP

Country music star Morgan Wallen made headlines recently when he was caught on video shouting a racist slur. After a night out, Wallen was filmed by a neighbor walking up his driveway, appearing intoxicated and yelling to someone with him, "Take care of this "p****-ass mother******!" followed by "Take care of this p****-ass n*****!"

Wallen faced immediate backlash, with radio stations pulling his music, his record label suspending him, his agency dropping him, and the Academy of Country Music Awards revoking his eligibility for its awards ceremony. Wallen apologized, telling TMZ, "I'm embarrassed and sorry. I used an unacceptable and inappropriate racial slur that I wish I could take back. There are no excuses to use this type of language, ever. I want to sincerely apologize for using the word. I promise to do better."

However, despite the negative PR, sales of his album began to skyrocket, as a bunch of his fans who don't have a problem with racial slurs rushed to stick it to "cancel culture" and make their own racism heard. Billboard reported that Wallen's "Dangerous: The Double Album" sold 25,000 copies in the week ending February 4—an increase of 102%.

Jason Isbell, a fellow country musician who wrote one of the songs on Wallen's album, shared his own brilliant response to the incident and sales surge on Twitter:


"So...A portion of this money goes to me, since I wrote 'Cover Me Up.' I've decided to donate everything I've made so far from this album to the Nashville chapter of the @NAACP. Thanks for helping out a good cause, folks."

Now that's putting your money where your mouth is. Instead of profiting off of racism, Isbell is turning around and putting those profits into supporting anti-racist action.

"Even though he didn't write a lot, he said a lot in this tweet," Sheryl Guinn, President of the Nashville branch of the NAACP told News 4 Nashville. "It seems like what he's saying is I want to support equality. I do not want to support hate."

Guinn also said that the Wallen incident opens up a conversation that needs to be had.

"We have put a lot of focus on Morgan Wallen specifically," she said, "but he is a very small part of a much larger problem."

That larger problem is quite neatly showcased in responses to Wallen's 5-minute apology video he shared on Instagram, nine days after the incident. Despite Wallen's acknowledgment that there was no excuse for what he said, in comment after comment, fans defend his use of the n-word, saying that he didn't do anything wrong.


Wallen, to his credit, tells his followers not to defend him.

"Please don't," he says in the video. "I was wrong. It's on me to take ownership for this and I fully accept any penalties I'm facing. The time of my return is solely on me and the work I put in."


Wallen explains in the video that who he is in the video is not the man he wants to be, and described some of the steps he's taking to learn.

"I accepted some invitations from some amazing Black organizations, some executives and leaders, to engage in some very real and honest conversations," he says. He was nervous to accept the invitations, adding, "They had every right to step on my neck … to not show me any grace, but they did the exact opposite. They offered me grace and also paired that with an offer to learn and grow. ... That kindness really inspired me to dig deeper on how to do something about this."

Part of digging deeper is listening with an ear to understand, and Wallen explained how he's engaging in that process.

"This week I heard first-hand some personal stories from Black people that honestly shook me, and I know what I'm going through this week doesn't compare to some of the trials I heard about from them. I came away … with a clearer understanding of the weight of my words."

One challenging element of this story is that how far behind it feels. It is 2021. We just saw months of protests over racial injustice. The use of the n-word by a non-Black person as a manifestation of racism is not something new. While many are praising Wallen for waking up to the fact that his words and actions matter, for many others it's further proof that so many white Americans have not been listening to the voices of Black Americans who have been talking about this forever.

Another element worth examining is the role of Wallen's substance use in the incident. In his video, Wallen shared that he had been on "hour 72 of 72 of a bender," almost as if that somewhat explained his actions. He's committing to sobriety, which is an excellent step in the right direction. But being drunk doesn't make people use racial slurs—it just reveals the racial slurs that are already queued up in someone's head. The fact that he appears to be speaking from the heart and not reading a pre-canned apology suggests sincerity in his desire to change, but as he himself says, the proof will be in the work he puts in.

Racism is too insidious, too ingrained, and too damaging to be given a pass if we ever hope to eliminate it. Accountability, especially for someone with a platform and an audience, is necessary, and we're seeing that play out here. People decry "cancel culture," but how much racism is okay, and what is the appropriate reaction to someone using white supremacist language?

It's not enough to just say, "Oops, sorry" for racist speech, and Wallen seems to understand this. Now let's hope he can convince his fans of the same thing.

Images provided by Pacifico

Making waves in the best way

True

At last, summer is here. And for many people, that means it's time for heading to the beach and maybe even catching some waves. Surfing is a quintessential summertime activity for those who live in coastal communities—it’s not only really fun and challenging, it’s also a great way to celebrate Mother Nature’s beauty. Even after a wipeout, the cool water mixed with warm sunshine offers a certain kind of euphoria. Or, you know, just hanging back on the sand is plenty fun too. Simply being outdoors near the ocean is its own reward.

pacifico quiksilver beach cleanupLet’s protect the places where outdoor adventure happensAll photos provided by Pacifico

However, it's well known that our beautiful beaches are suffering the consequences of overcrowding, pollution and littering. What was once a way of playing in nature is now slowly destroying it. And of course, this affects beachgoers everywhere. The sad truth is—without taking action to preserve all the natural joys the earth provides, we will eventually lose them.

But there is hope. Two popular brands that both have roots in surf culture have teamed up to help make trips to the beach a more sustainable pastime. The best part? You don’t have to know how to hang ten in order to participate.

Pacifico®, a pilsner-style lager originally brought to the U.S. by surfers, and Quiksilver, an iconic apparel company loved by both surfers and beach goers alike, have created a brand-new range of clothing and accessories with sustainability in mind.

Take a look below. These threads are great for all kinds of fun in the sun, without compromising the environment.

pacifico quicksilver beach cleanupsReady to make some waves

The collection launches on July 5 and includes tees and woven shirts, boardshorts, hats, flip-flops and a special beach towel and tote bag. The unique collaboration features the vibrant, colorful designs that are the hallmark of Quiksilver combined with Pacifico elements, created to make a positive impact.

Each item has been thoughtfully curated to minimize an environmental footprint and protect the outdoors. The hats, for example, are made from NetPlus® by Bureo®, a raw material created from South American recycled fishing nets. Additionally, the board shorts are made from recycled plastic bottles, and tees are made with 100% organic cotton. Pretty rad stuff, to put it in surfer lingo.

The prices on these pieces are equally rad, ranging from $28 flip-flops to $60 boardshorts.

In keeping with the sustainable ethos and protecting the places we play, Pacifico and Quiksilver will celebrate the products’ launch by hosting two beach cleanups. The first is on July 5 at Sunset Point in Malibu, California, from 4-5:30pm, and the second is on July 9th at Deerfield Beach in Florida from 8:30 – 10:30am.

pacifico quicksilver clothing lineCleaning up and looking good while doing it

Theses beach cleanups are open to anyone over the age of 21 who’s ready to have some fun while taking care of nature’s playground.

Those who can’t make it to the beach (bummer, dude) don’t have to miss out on all the fun. The new collection will be available on July 5th at www.quiksilver.com/mens-collab-pacifico. And even if you don’t surf, never plan to surf, have no desire to even be near a surfboard, rest assured, the apparel is still cool. Plus sustainable choices are always good fashion.

Our planet provides us with an endless supply of beauty and adventure. But without more mindful actions from humanity, its natural wonders will eventually diminish. Fortunately Pacifico and Quiksilver are making it easier than ever for people to enjoy the great outdoors without jeopardizing it. That’s a wave worth riding.

This article originally appeared on 09.06.17


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