December 28, 2013


Questlove Pens Apology for Offensive Instagram

D Dipasupil/Getty Images
D Dipasupil/Getty Images

After enduring backlash for an Instagram post from his recent trip to Japan, drummer and producer Questlove recently penned a (very) thoughtful and sincere apology.

The outcry started after popular blog Oh No They Didn't! screengrabbed an Instagram by The Roots member of a Japanese department store employee with the caption:

"Talks in Tongues #chipanesedownunder2013."

Additionally he posted a Vine of a sleeping Japanese man captioned “McSnoleArot” and made fun of Japanese enunciation in several other instances.

The uproar couldn't have come at a worse time for Quest, who is about to make the leap with his fellow bandmates from the Late Show with Jimmy Fallon to the Tonight Show.

Luckily, his apology was legit. 

It was posted on Okayplayer and despite only addressing the one Instagram post instead of the many instances of stereotyping, he does manage to actually apologize. 

And seeing as 2013 was basically the Year of the Non-Apology, it was quite the pleasant thing to behold.

He at first goes the explaining route by declaring that he was simply likening the woman's vocal intonations to that of a "(church) deacon speaking in tongues," but quickly changed course and admitted fault:

"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….


He went on to explain that while it was not mean spirited or xenophobic a la Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson's recent racist rant, he acknowledged that as a public figure it was important to actively "stay clear of saying or writing hurtful things." Quest also compared his insensitive joke to those inflicted upon African Americans. 

"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)," he wrote.

In closing he impressed his regret:

"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.


Now that's an actual apology.

Musicians of the world, please take note so we can all have a better 2014!