Reality-TV star Hannah Brown, who was criticized over what some called an inadequate apology for using a racial slur in mid-May, on Saturday explained her efforts at educating herself and apologized further in a lengthy Instagram video.
"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," said the 25-year-old star of last year's 15th and most recent season of "The Bachelorette.” While concerned about "taking up space" during a weekend of national protests over the death of George Floyd when a since-arrested police officer held a knee to the Minneapolis man's neck, Brown said, "It's not about the right time. It's about the right thing. … And I know a lot of people are asking for white people to use their platform and to take accountability."
In her more than 18-minute video, Brown recapped her Instagram Live post of May 16, where she had attempted to sing rapper DaBaby's "Rockstar" and used the slur in the song's original lyrics. "Initially [I] didn't even know it was happening," the Alabama-born Brown said, "because I know it is wrong to say the N-word in a song, and I couldn't imagine I had used it and so I immediately denied it. … I tried to defend myself but between being intoxicated, which I am also not proud of, and just being embarrassed and confused, I just made it a whole lot worse."
She said the following morning, "Reality really set in that I had said it. … I was embarrassed, I was disappointed, and I felt … so much shame…."
Brown said her initial apology — a text on Instagram Stories, where posts disappear after 24 hours — "was from my heart and in my own words, but it was never, ever, ever supposed to be the end of the conversation, just the beginning … Most of the time people apologize … and they hope [the issue] goes away. But what I did, I don't want it to go away. What I did was something extremely serious and I did not want to continue repeating this long history of white people not taking accountability and responsibility for their actions when people of color, black people, call them out on their behavior. … And so I've been on a journey, the past two weeks," hiring a tutor on race relations and perusing books, videos and podcasts.
The season-28 winner of "Dancing with the Stars" told supporters, "Do not defend me. What I did, what I said, was indefensible. And do not send hateful messages to people who are holding me accountable." She added, "I'm no longer ignorant and I am no longer going to be a part of the problem."
Brown concluded by saying, "From the bottom of my heart, I'm so sorry. I'm sorry to everyone that I hurt and that I disappointed. And I promise to continue doing better. … I am thankful for you guys who will give me the chance, and for those of you who won't just yet, I also understand that, too. … I'll be better."