India Arie says she’s removing music from Spotify because of ‘problematic’ Joe Rogan’s ‘language around race’

Rogan previously said he thinks using the words ‘Black and white’ to describe race is ‘strange’

Jacob Stolworthy
Wednesday 02 February 2022 06:04 GMT
Joe Rogan says the term ‘Black’ is ‘very strange’

Grammy Award-winning musician India Arie has revealed she’s removing her music from Spotify because of Joe Rogan’s “language around race”.

The singer-songwriter branded the podcaster “problematic”, saying that she came to her decision as she felt she should “walk” through a door “opened” by Neil Young.

Last week, Young asked that his music be removed from the platform due to its affiliation with Rogan, whom he said had spread “false information” regarding Covid-19 vaccines.

Elaborating upon her reasoning for asking her music to be withdrawn from the platform, “Brown Skin” singer Arie wrote in a statement on Tuesday (1 February): “I believe in freedom of speech. However, I find Joe Rogan problematic for reasons OTHER than his Covid interviews...FOR ME ITS ALSO HIS language around race.”

While she didn’t specifically mention what she was referring to, Rogan previously caused controversy for hosting a podcast episode in which he welcomed his guest, the YouTuber and clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson, to discuss what they believe it means to be Black.

The host asked his guest what Professor Michael Eric Dyson had called Peterson during a 2018 debate on race between the two.

“What did Michael Eric Dyson call you? A mean, angry white man?” Rogan asked Mr Peterson, who confirmed that is what he had been called – though Mediaite states the exact quote was: “You’re a mean, mad white man.”

“Hilarious. You’re not mean at all. That’s what’s dumb about that statement. You’re not mean at all,” Rogan responded.

Peterson replied: “I am white – actually that’s a lie too. I am kind of tan. And he was actually not Black, he was sort of brown.” The two men then debated their respective whiteness.

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India Arie said she finds Joe Rogan problematic ‘for reasons OTHER than his Covid interviews’

“If you’re tan then what the f*** am I. Because I’m darker than you. That’s ridiculous,” Rogan exclaimed.

“Neither of us are white,” Mr Peterson replied, reiterating that Professor Dyson was “brown, not Black”.

“Well, isn’t that weird. The Black and white thing is so strange because the shades are such a spectrum of shades of people,” said Rogan.

He then added: “Unless you are talking to someone who is, like, 100 per cent African from the darkest place, where they are not wearing any clothes all day and they have developed all of that melanin to protect themselves from the sun, even the term Black is weird. When you use it for people who are literally my colour, it becomes very strange.”

The pair were ridiculed for their discussion after the episode was released.

Joe Rogan was widely ridiculed for his interview discussing race with Jordan Peterson

Others musicians to have their music removed from Spotify in the wake of Young’s protest include Joni Mitchell, Nils Lofgren and Young’s former bandmate Graham Nash.

In a lengthy video posted to Instagram on Monday (31 January), Rogan addressed the controversy, telling his followers that he thinks “a lot of people had a distorted perception of what I do”.

“[My] podcast has been accused of spreading dangerous misinformation, specifically about two episodes,” he said.

He continued: “I’m not trying to promote misinformation. I’m not trying to be controversial. I’ve never tried to do anything with this podcast other than just talk to people and have interesting conversations.”

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who have a deal with Spotify that’s worth a reported £18m, released a statement on Sunday (30 January), in which they said they have spoken to the music platform’s bosses about their concerns regarding “disinformation”

The couple said they hope the platform makes changes “to help address this public health crisis”.

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