Rapper Emerson Windy, under fire for a music video that Native Americans find deeply disrespectful, posted a long statement to his Facebook page today discussing the matter. In it he addresses American Indians directly admitting to having made a "mistake" and regretting his "naive ignorance surrounding your traditions." He also says that he was misinformed by apparently-Native advisers, and that he is guilty of disrespect, but not racism.
Windy's video drew sharp, often aggressive criticism on social media, and while Windy may be offering a better-than-average apology, the video is still available for viewing on YouTube and WorldStarHipHop. Many of those offended will likely see a contradiction in admitting something was an error and disrespectful, yet leaving it in public view. By this point in the saga of No Doubt's "Looking Hot" video, the clip was long gone from YouTube.
Windy's statement is below, as is a video of a radio interview he did on the subject:
Before I begin, good morning to you all. I hope all is well wherever this may find you…
There's no easy way to approach this so please bare with me and understand that I'm speaking candidly and that what I have to say is about as hard to say as it was for some of who were hurt by my latest piece of work to watch… Just saying that gives me the jitters man… Before I go any further, I would like to humbly apologize to anybody that took offense to my creation. Anybody that was hurt by me wearing your native headdress, I would like to respectfully apologize to you for my naive ignorance surrounding your traditions. I have a deep admiration for all things that are beautiful, for that I make no apologies but if I went about it improperly which it appears I have then for that I can't apologize enough… Making mistakes is never easy especially when they are made in the public eye and are heavily offensive to somebody that you respect so very much. I had and still have nothing but respect for the American Native Tribes. I had absolutely no idea that I was making such a big error by wearing that headdress, I must say that it was never expressed to me by the people I reached out to in my attempt to educate myself on the matter beforehand. Even with that being said… It was my decision which makes it my mistake, nobody else's.
It was NEVER my intention to disrespect anybody personally or such beautiful people as a whole. I was only attempting to spread the beautiful that spawned creativity within me, I cannot control where my inspirations come from because beautiful things are around us all the time and at that particular time I just so happen to stumble upon yours. Your community has something special to offer the world, you have a very proud and rich heritage that you courageously keep alive and I respect very deeply… I just never thought I would be seen as the enemy for attempting to spread the message. I'm a very prideful man, almost too prideful for my own good at times if you ask some but I have to say that it bothered me to be hated by some because I made a honest mistake. Being called a racist, an asshole, and some of the other hateful things I was called could never bother me as much as just knowing I hurt somebody unintentionally with my ignorance. I'm none of those things so it's kind of a "sticks and stones" type of thing with me on that type of stuff, I'm not a racist and I know that so I don't feel the need to defend myself there. But I'm totally apologetic if I botched a custom and my art came off that way, I understand how you as a community may feel, being misunderstood sucks for lack of a better word…
I have so much racing thru my head right now and it makes it difficult to nail down a solid thought so I will end the statement by saying this. I thank those of you who reached out to me privately and attempted to educate me on the matter, your attempt to wash away my ignorance in a peaceful manner was very noble and I want to commend you for that. Educating people about your traditions is so beneficial to both you (Native Americans) and the world. You are a truly beautiful people and the world and I just wanted the world to see that. Allowing others to share in the tasks of sharing your glory (if their heart is in the right place) shouldn't be a crime but trust that I understand why your community may not trust many, many injustices have been dealt to your people over the centuries and lord knows I wasn't trying to be the latest one.
To some of you who chose to address me in a hateful manner, I have but a few things to say to you… I understand if you spoke out in anger first before you had a chance to think it through because you felt disrespected, I personally know that can cause a person to say things that they don't truly mean… I have been guilty of those things as I'm sure all humans have been at one time or another… You may find it necessary to remove the racist remarks that you may have left anywhere online or anywhere for that matter, not for me but for you. If it misrepresents who you really are then take that step, I left it there purposely to give you the opportunity to do so yourself. I won't do it for you. I'm not only ignorant man in the matter and I say that respectfully.
Lastly, I would like to say that I'm sorry we got off on the wrong foot. I would love the opportunity to start over. Hello, my name is Emerson Windy… I thank you all for your time, have an amazing day.