On May 16, Hannah Brown was rapping to DaBaby's "Rockstar" during an Instagram Live when she said the N-word as part of the lyrics. After viewers of the video pointed it out, she seemed surprised she let it slip, and later posted a written apology for it. On May 31, she came back to social media to further address her actions, and urged fans not to defend her for what she did. Hannah Brown's apology video for using the N-word reveals what she's learned about race and white privilege since the incident.
When the former Bachelorette first said the word on her Instagram Live, she initially got defensive after viewers called her out, saying, "I really don't think I said that word... Look, people are going to want to think whatever they want to think of me, get mad at me, whatever. And even if I did accidentally say it, I'm very sorry, I was singing a song and not even thinking."
After receiving even more backlash for not only saying the N-word but the way she handled it in the moment, the reality star posted a written apology to her Instagram story on May 18:
I owe you all a major apology. 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.
Various franchise alumni, including Rachel Lindsay, Tyler Cameron, and Mike Johnson, spoke out in regard to both her initial usage of the slur and her statement. Many fans believed Brown's apology was not enough. In the 18-minute video on Brown posted on Instagram on May 31, it sounds like she agrees she has a lot more work to do on herself.
"It was never, ever, ever supposed to be the end of the conversation, just the beginning," Brown said, referring to her initial apology note. "It is abnormal, what I did. Most of the time people apologize ... and then they hope it 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."
Brown went on to say for the past two weeks she's been reflecting, journaling, and educating herself. "[I] decided to hire an educator who has been helping me with one-on-one support, asking the hard questions, and really help[ing] me understand the things that I've never even been taught or learned or have been a part of my education," she explained.
Brown went on to discuss some of the articles, podcasts, videos, and speakers she's learned from over her weeks of reflection. "I don't want to be an ignorant white girl who uses the N-word," she said. One the resources she cited is a video in which author Ta-Nehisi Coates discusses white people saying the N-word when reciting raps, something Brown could personally resonate with.
In addition to Coates' speech, Brown also suggested resources like the best-selling books White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo and Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge, the 1619 podcast from The New York Times, and teachings by activists Bryan Stevenson and Jane Elliott.
Brown also asked her fans not to come to her defense for saying the N-word. "What I did, what I said, was indefensible. If you want to support, just continue to encourage me to be better and go on this journey with me," she said. "What I did was wrong but... what I didn't know even before is the worst part of it, and it's the ignorance. But I'm no longer ignorant, and I'm no longer going to be a part of the problem."