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Drummer, producer, author and all around music nerd Questlove is no stranger to controversy. He confessed his memoirs “Mo Metta Blues” that his witty banter (both spoken and played) has landed him in hot water on several occasions. As the man responsible for the walk on music for “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon”, Quest played the song “Lyin’ Ass Bitch” as Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann walked on stage. On a separate occasion he publicly chided Tina Fey for not waving at his band when she visited the show saying, “Be nice to The Roots.”  Lorne Michaels, executive producer of “Late Night,” was not happy at the jab. Quest later apologized for both incidents.

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Well, in his most recent faux pas Quest made light of Japanese people speaking English when he was on one of his many trips to the country. He wrote to his manager Dawn Englehart on his Instagram page, “hey @dawnenglehart is it racist for me to write the Sour Tlain? #chipanesedownunder2013″ next to a photo of a toy train he’d spotted. Questlove recently authored a book about the “Soul Train” television series.

Fans and followers expressed their disappointment in his lack of tact and not so subtle racial humor.  Making matters worse , he also posted an Instagram video of a woman speaking Japanese, with his own spoken intro: “Ladies and gentlemen, they are talking in tongues.”

Realizing that he had offended many of his fans and followers, and certainly not wanting to alienate an entire country full of people who support his music, Quest posted a lengthy apology on his Facebook page.

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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.


So what do you think? Is all forgiven?


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Questlove Apologizes For Offensive Instagrams  was originally published on