Back in February, Morgan Wallen’s promising arc towards country superstardom came screeching to a halt after doorcam video footage emerged that showed him shouting the n-word as he said goodbye to a car full of friends at the end of a night of partying. 

In this week’s installment of People’s People in the ‘90s podcast, Darius Rucker recalls his reaction to the incident, which led to Morgan’s being benched by his label and many country stations, and cost him his eligibility at multiple awards shows. Like many others, Darius says he was “shocked” by the singer’s behavior.

“I know Morgan and I like Morgan,” he explained. “It’s one of those things that where you know that all over the country, there’s a lot of people that use that word flippantly.”

But that doesn’t mitigate the seriousness of Morgan’s use of the word, Rucker continues. 

“Even if they say they don’t mean it in a derogatory way, you just don’t use it. You don’t say it,” Darius stresses.

“It’s shocking how prevalent it is. Racism still lives,” the singer continues. “It lives strong in some people and it’s sad. It should be getting better and it’s getting worse.”

One of country music’s few mainstream Black stars, Darius — who’s also the frontman of rock group Hootie & the Blowfish — debuted as a solo artist in the genre in 2008.

Last month, Morgan gave his first major interview since the scandal, sitting down with Good Morning America’s Michael Strahan to talk about the incident and share what he’s been doing during his time away from the spotlight. 

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