Questlove Japan Instagrams

On Christmas, while I was unwrapping Roots leader Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson’s musical memoir Mo’ Meta Blues, Questlove himself was fielding accusations of racism due to some posts he made on Instagram in a conversation with celebrity chef Padma Lakshmi and booking agent Dawn Englehart that mocked the Japanese accent. The post has since been deleted, but as Gigwise points out, Questo posted, “Hey @dawnenglehart is it racist for me to write the Sour Tlain? #chipanesedownunder2013″ and compared a video of Japanese women singing to speaking in tongues. Englehart, of Asian heritage, replied, “Nah you’re in The Loots. You’re … Arrowed.” There was also this:

The day after Christmas, Questlove posted an apology to Facebook for promoting Asian stereotypes:

ok. addressing the elephant in the room on christmas

unfortunately, i’ve offended my asian brothers & sisters with an IG post which i made during my recent tour of japan. in that post, i likened a japanese department store employee’s vocal intonation to that of a (church) deacon speaking in tongues. clearly, i didn’t intend to offend anyone (asian or otherwise), clearly, i *thought* that comparison was funny-cute

… and clearly i thought wrong.

in hindsight, it’s easy to see how my post was yet another example of the ugly, american flipping yet another ugly/racially/culturally insensitive script. so, let me make this abundantly clear….


And no, it wasn’t Duck Dynasty/Phil Robertson mean spirited-xenophobic dumb (but the last time i checked, sleep was still the cousin of death)

—look. i’m a human being and dumber yet, i’m a public figure. if you’re lucky enough to be either of the aforementioned, then not only should one stay clear of saying or writing hurtful things, one should actively work against feeling comfortable, thinking hurtful thoughts. given that black culture consistently finds itself at the butt end of so many offensive “outsider” jokes, I should be way, way more sensitive (after all, who’s zooming who). I for one, should never allow my cultural bias to take precedence over my “examined life” (clunkers be damned). i know the whole kinder and gentler thing reeks of a self serving political correctness, but eff it, it’s “all me”.

so, here i am once again, publicly coming to terms with some more of my stupid “say, say, say” ish. allow me to ask for forgiveness and understanding from anyone that i’ve offended. I will be better in 2014 (i promise)

-thank you.


(via OkayPlayer)

Comments (10)
  1. god, it must suck to be famous sometimes.

  2. this is mad funny cause the dude was all like “I’m crying on the inside” when someone said something racist to him and was twitter whining for the entire world to hear and now he does this. NOW WE KNOW. Bottom Line: Human Beings are racist tribal douchebags who are destroying and raping the earth of it’s natural resources. Kill them all.

  3. This was the best celebrity apology I’ve ever read. He owned up to it, said it was a shitty thing to do, and didn’t give that whole “sorry you were offended” line most people end up giving.

  4. This apology actually made me think about the nature of celebrity worship/deification, and how quickly we pounce on them for mistakes, and how unwilling people can be to admit they were just fucking wrong. Questlove is a damn classy act.

  5. I’m tempted to get all up in arms about this, but that apology actually seemed genuine. Quest just gained a lot of respect from me.

  6. I agree that this is how one should apologize. However, all that “dumb” and “stupid” talk can be seen as obscuring culpability. Just as ignorance is no excuse in the eyes of the law, being “stupid for a minute” can’t be used to mellow the sting of responsibility for offensive actions.

    More importantly, that “dumb” and “stupid” language is ableist, in that it is often used to deumanize and exclude people with intellectual disability.

    Quest, if you mean to say that you acted thoughtlessly, without mindfulness towards the impact of your actions, then say that.

    If you mean you spoke out of ignorance, or a lack of sophistication or cultural competency, then please say so.

    But, please don’t replace one set of offensive material with another.

  7. I wonder how long it will be before Shia LaBeouf plagiarizes this apology?

  8. I wonder how long before Shia LaBeouf plagiarizes this apology?

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