'Bachelorette' Hannah Brown vows to be 'part of the solution' days after using N-word
Returning to Instagram Live for the first time since her scandal, Brown, 25, told her followers on Saturday she had been "on a journey the past two weeks," reading, journaling and educating herself while reflecting on what she had done and how best to make things right.
"I kept thinking, 'Why did I say this? I don't know why I said this.' I don't say that word. I don't sing that word," Brown said in an 18-minute livestream. "I've realized the most impactful thing I can do is talk to people like me and not be complicit in the problem, but taking accountability for the times when I have been."
Brown first spoke out May 17 in a text post shared to her Instagram story, in which she said there was "no excuse" for using the racial slur incorporated into her rendition of a popular song.
"I owe you all a major apology," Brown wrote. "There is no excuse and I will not justify what I said. I have read your messages and seen the hurt I have caused. I own it all. I am terribly sorry and know that whether in public or private, this language is unacceptable. I promise to do better."
In the now removed video, still posted on TMZ, Brown used the racial slur while apparently trying to remember the lyrics to DaBaby's "Rockstar." She stopped herself, but then continued with the song. She claimed in her new apology that she was "intoxicated" while recording and vowed to be more responsible with the ways in which she engaged with her more than 2.8 million Instagram followers.
Brown later addressed her word usage after fans called her out in the Instagram Live comments. "I did? I'm so sorry… No, I was singing… I'm so sorry," she said. Brown followed up with the full apology the next day.
Rachel Lindsay, the "Bachelor" franchise's first and only black lead, responded to Brown's comments without directly naming names, telling followers in an Instagram Live stream that weekend that she was "tired of feeling like I have to be the one to speak because other people won't."
"I'm personally offended by what was done," Lindsay added. "I thought, 'Let me use this to challenge this person to use their platform, because last night it was used in a different way. So let me challenge them to use it in a better way. Maybe it was a mistake. Maybe they didn't understand the intention behind it."
Lindsay said she "gave somebody the opportunity" to fix the issue and "it wasn't done," noting she suggested returning to a live video format to issue the apology.
"I understand that an apology was made, but when I know what could have been done, when I know what I challenged someone to do, they did not do it. So I felt like I'll use my platform to do it, because it's easy to make a statement. It's easy to hide behind words. But when you're bold enough to say the N-word on camera, on your platform… you need to be bold enough to use your face on camera and apologize in the same way that you said the word."
Speaking Saturday, Brown said she realized she had never had "critical conversations about race" but now "wanted to be part of the solution."
"I've been trying for a long time to figure out how I would address everything, because I didn't want it to be at the wrong time. I've been so concerned with not wanting... to take up space when the events that are going and the death of George Floyd and there's so much suffering and anger. I didn't want to offend anybody. And I may be offending people right now. But I realized it's not about the right time, it's about the right thing."
Brown also called on her fans not to defend what she had done, asking them to stop sending "hateful messages to people holding me accountable," instead asking them to encourage her to do better and follow suit themselves.
"I don't want to be ignorant anymore," she added. "I don't want to be an ignorant white girl who uses the N-word... I've learned that I have to take a lot of responsibility and accountability for my actions."
Contributing: Bryan Alexander, USA TODAY.