Luke Combs' apology for his previous use of the Confederate Flag has ignited a polarizing conversation among Country music fans and musicians. While some have praised the artist for speaking about a long-standing issue of racism within the genre, there are some fans who are skeptical of Combs' sudden moment of reckoning. The artist's apology even mustered a response from country music artist Ryan Upchurch, who referred to him as an "f––ing sissy."
Combs first apologized for using the flag in a joint interview with Maren Morris as part of this year's annual Contry Radio Seminar. “When I released the song, there were some images that resurfaced of me,” he told NPR's Ann Powers. “and it’s not the first time that those images have surfaced and have been used against me. And obviously, those are images that I can’t take back. …. Obviously, in the age of the internet, those things live forever. And there is no excuse for those images. … It’s not okay. As a younger man, that was an image that I associated to mean something else. And as I’ve grown in my time as an artist, and as the world has changed drastically in the last five to seven years, I am now aware how painful that image can be to someone else.” He added, “At the time that those images existed, I wasn’t aware what that was portraying to the world and to African-American artists in Nashville that were saying, ‘Man, I really want to come in and get a deal and do this thing, but how can I be around with these images being promoted?’ And I apologize for being associated with that.”
The Brothers Osbourne thanked the star for giving his apology as an attempt to change the culture within the genre.prevnext
Some Twitter users remain skeptical, saying "apology not accepted... you knew what you were doing and it was purposeful."
No dude.....apology not accepted...you knew what you were doing and it was purposeful....own it— ERB (@hedgehogerb) February 18, 2021
Many believe the artist didn't need to apologize at all. "The confederate flag means you [sic] proud to be from the south," this user wrote.
@lukecombs the confederate flag means you proud to be from the south...End of story..You owe no one an apology for being proud to be from the south...— Darriel Youngblood (@darriel5) February 18, 2021
As the apology came in light of the Morgan Wallen controversy, some people, like this Twitter user, felt he should be given the same treatment since he also apologized for his wrongdoing.
Morgan should be given the same grace as Luke Combs! Saying something stupid in private while drunk followed up by a sincere apology should not be the career ending mistake the "woke" club wants it to be!!!— Michelle (@Mich_in_Colo) February 19, 2021
For this user, the confederate flag means "we lost," telling those who still believe in it to "get over it."
My view of the Confederate flag has always been "We lost, get over it" However...I'm pretty confident Luke Combs gained no new concert goers or very few and lost many with this apology.— Alex (@AlexrealtorFl1) February 19, 2021
This user responded to one of Combs' tweets telling him to "create a song called 'I won't bow to the pressure' and take back the apology for the confederate flag."
Create a song called "i won't bow to the pressure" and take back the apology for the confederate flag damn! when i someone gonna stand their ground?— George Burrill (@GeorgeBurrill2) February 18, 2021
This person responded to Combs' critics saying, "You don't get to choose who is redeemed based on your prejudiced opinion of them."
You either believe that people who are enlightened about social issues and hurtful symbols can then redeem themselves through apology and change or you don't. You don't get to choose who is redeemed based on your prejudiced opinion of them.— Chris Stewart (@Chris88Stew) February 18, 2021
For this person, the confederate flag is "on a par with the swastika and the hammer and sickle as symbols of hate and subjugation. They continued to praise Luke for his "full" apology.
To me, the confederate flag is on a par with the swastika and the hammer and sickle as symbols of hate and subjugation.
Good on Luke Combs for being honest, making a full apology for past association with that symbol, and not attempting to deflect or make excuses. Respect. https://t.co/yhOWO9NG6l— Howlin’ Anton Bleak (@BleakAnton) February 19, 2021