April 10, 2013

People & Entertainment: Song provokes talk about racism

The Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Brad Paisley’s collaboration with LL Cool J on “Accidental Racist” has accidentally kicked up some controversy.

The song about racial perceptions has drawn ire from both the country and urban music worlds after its release.

Paisley’s publicist says he isn’t giving interviews about the song. But the country star briefly addressed the debate Monday night on Twitter when he reposted a radio host’s blog entry on the song he felt was thought-provoking.

“Cool,” Paisley wrote. “It’s fun to get ya’ll’s take on this. Bring it.”

The song appears on Paisley’s new self-produced album “Wheelhouse,” released Tuesday. It’s his most ambitious album so far and the progressive message of “Accidental Racist” is in line with opinions the 40-year-old West Virginia-born singer has expressed before in interviews and songs.

Of the album, Paisley wrote, “I hope it triggers emotions,” and says he wouldn’t change a thing about it: “This is a record meant to be FAR from easy listening. But fun. Like life.”

At its heart, “Accidental Racist” is about how cultural symbols favored by whites and blacks – the fashion choice of wearing Confederate flags or baggy pants, for instance – come loaded with meaning.

In the song Paisley says whites are “caught between Southern pride and Southern blame” 150 years after the Civil War.

“I try to put myself in your shoes and that’s a good place to begin,” Paisley sings, “but it ain’t like I can walk a mile in someone else’s skin/Because I’m a white man livin’ in the southland/Just like you I’m more than what it seems/I’m proud of where I’m from/But not everything we’ve done/It ain’t like you and me can rewrite history/Our generation didn’t start this nation/We’re still paying for mistakes that a bunch of folks made long before we came.”

LL Cool J, 45, provides the response to Paisley’s meditations. He kicks off his portion of the song, “Dear, Mr. White Man, I wish you understood what the world was really like living in the hood.” Later in the song he raps, “I guess we’re both guilty of judging the cover not the book/I’d love to buy you a beer, conversate and clear the air/But I see that red flag and I think you wish I wasn’t here.”

Later he and Paisley enter a call and response portion of the song where LL Cool J raps in part: “If you don’t judge my ’do rag, I won’t judge your red flag.”

R.I. provides settings for Ruffalo film

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — An independent film starring Oscar nominee Mark Ruffalo is being shot in Rhode Island.

The Rhode Island Film & TV Office said Tuesday that shooting for “Infinitely Polar Bear” has begun and is expected to go on around Providence for about six weeks.

The film, set in 1978, follows the story of a manic depressive father trying to take care of his two young daughters while his wife works on her MBA. Zoe Saldana plays Ruffalo’s wife.

Steven Feinberg, executive director of the state film office, calls the script heartwarming and cleverly written.

Kardashian’s mom maytestify at trial

LOS ANGELES — Kim Kardashian’s upcoming divorce trial will be a family affair, but her attorneys do not expect to call her famous sisters, Kourtney and Khloe, or her boyfriend, Kanye West, to testify about the reality star’s brief marriage to NBA player Kris Humphries.

But Kris Jenner, Kardashian’s mother, is expected to testify about the pair’s relationship and prenuptial agreement, according to a witness list filed Monday.

Humphries is seeking an annulment of the pair’s 72-day marriage, claiming it was based on fraud.

Kardashian wants a judge to enter a divorce judgment instead and has denied accusations that she married Humphries for the sake of her reality shows.

The former couple is scheduled to appear in court Friday to try to settle the case in advance of a May 6 trial date.

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