Atlanta’s India Arie tells Don Lemon she accepts Joe Rogan’s apology regarding use of a racist slur

She pulled her music off Spotify last week.

Atlanta R&B singer India Arie told Don Lemon on CNN Monday night that she was cool with Joe Rogan’s apology regarding his regular use of a racial slur on his podcast over the years.

She pulled her music off Spotify last week, joining artists like Joni Mitchell and Neil Young.

Arie last week fed the flames of the controversy by posting a video compilation of Rogan using the word over 12 years of his popular podcast. Rogan apologized on Sunday. Though he said the bits were “taken out of context,” he noted that “it looks [expletive] horrible. Even to me.”

She told Lemon she has known about Rogan’s “insensitive comments around race before because I’m a podcast listener. I’ve heard many episodes of his podcast. When I learned about his language, I just tuned out on my own.”

But when Spotify spent $100 million to bring Rogan onto the service, Arie got upset because she believes Spotify and other streaming services vastly underpay songwriters and musicians.

“Many people find it offensive,” she said, that Rogan is being compensated so much while “the vast majority of working artists are paid so low” by streaming services.

Lemon asked if she would feel more positively toward Rogan if he actively advocated for musicians to get better pay on streaming apps.

“It would be a beautiful thing,” she said. “I don’t expect that fully but I have to say, I did think he did a fine job with his apology. He said a lot of things I would want someone to say.”

Rogan said Sunday on Instagram that “I know that to most people, there is no context where a white person is ever allowed to say that word, never mind publicly on a podcast, and I agree with that now. I haven’t said it in years. Instead of saying ‘the N-word,’ I would just say the word. I thought as long as it was in context, people would understand what I was doing.”

Rogan, a stand-up comic, said he would use the word while discussing how comics in the 1960s and 1970s like Lenny Bruce and Paul Mooney would say it.

“It’s a very unusual word, but it’s not my word to use,” Rogan said.. “I never used it to be racist, because I’m not racist, but whenever you’re in a situation where you have to say ‘I’m not racist,’ you’ve (expletive) up, and I clearly have (expletive) up.”

Arie said she doesn’t think Rogan is racist, just “insensitive” for using the word in the past.

Despite Rogan’s apology, she didn’t address with Lemon what circumstances might reverse her decision to take her music off Spotify.